Kalunay

Kalunay plant with flowers (Amaranthus dubius.)
Kalunay plant with flowers (Amaranthus dubius.) | Source

The kalunay plant, like the papait plant is one of those that you would rarely see in the market. Both grows wildly and finding them would draw a smile on a face of those who knows they are edible.

The kalunay, is a weedy plant and from seeds one can successfully germinate it when the warm days comes. And once they germinated, you don't have to worry about planting more of it (wild spinach) next year, kalunay self-sows and you would see a lot of kalunay sprouts the next year. It's been one of those plants that we have planted on our container garden. And even on the pot, it is surprising to see every Spring or early Summer to see all the young sprouts with their reddish leaves. And they appear on almost every pot we have, even on my hanging petunia flowers and it seems to do pretty well up there in the hanging basket.

An edible, healthy eat

The kalunay leaves can be added to soups, stews, and to sauteed vegetables. It is one of those vegetables that I love to put on my sauteed sardines and on the Filipino chicken soup dish, tinola.

It is healthy too, specially the young sprouts, with its reddish leaves. Some choose to include even the roots on cooking after being washed thoroughly. While some prefers to rid of the roots, whatever suits them. I had eaten the young sprouts with its roots and there's not much difference with the taste. At a young age, I was told including the young roots is healthier. This plant is a good source of both C and A vitamins, manganese, calcium, iron and folate amongst others.

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Sprouts of kalunay with its roots on a Philippine beef stew, nilaga.
Sprouts of kalunay with its roots on a Philippine beef stew, nilaga.
Sprouts of kalunay with its roots on a Philippine beef stew, nilaga. | Source
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Kalunay seedlings.Young kalunay plants with their dark reddish leaves are sharing the spot with a Thai chili.
Kalunay seedlings.
Kalunay seedlings. | Source
Young kalunay plants with their dark reddish leaves are sharing the spot with a Thai chili.
Young kalunay plants with their dark reddish leaves are sharing the spot with a Thai chili. | Source

Kalunay ~ from sprouts to the young plant photos

Young kalunay plants, sprouted on a pot sharing it with a Thai chilli. This was the last day of March and this pot is only one of those places where the kalunay seedlings had sprouted. Some are on the other pots with other plants and even found one with the fuschia and on a hanging basket with the petunias.

Kalunay is a self sowing plant and new plants greets as every Spring on almost every pot we have, still it was odd seeing it on a hanging plant with the petunias.

Below, a young kalunay plant I had spotted when we went visited my uncle first week of June. Young kalunay like this still bears their reddish leaves which later disappears as the plant matures.

A young kalunay plant with its leaves still reddish in color.
A young kalunay plant with its leaves still reddish in color. | Source

Kalunay (Wild Spinach) Seedlings (2014)

Did you know?

* Amarant means "unwithering" from its Greek word amarantos.

* A prepared warm poultice of kalunay leaves can be applied to treat hemorrhoids externally. Or it can be used to treat boils.

* Kalunay, (amaranthus dubius) is valued by people all over the world as a leaf vegetable.

* It is known in the Andes today as kichiwa and huautli to the Aztics.

* It is known in Thailand as phak khom.

* This usually grown leaf vegetable in Asia is a self-sowing plant and you'd be surprise how many young sprouts you will find the next year.

Some other names for kalunay (amaranthus dubius) is:

* Spleen amaranth

* Chinese spinach

* Red spinach

* Rau Den

* and known as ptee in Cambodia.

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Young adult plant with young seeds.When it reseeds, a lot of young kalunay plants would be pushing their way up underneath the soil the next Summer.
Young adult plant with young seeds.
Young adult plant with young seeds. | Source
When it reseeds, a lot of young kalunay plants would be pushing their way up underneath the soil the next Summer.
When it reseeds, a lot of young kalunay plants would be pushing their way up underneath the soil the next Summer. | Source
Kalunay flowers, on its maturity. Soon these will all turn brownish in color and reseeds itself, for us to step into the patio one day with a lot of young, reddish leaves kalunay sprouts for us to see.
Kalunay flowers, on its maturity. Soon these will all turn brownish in color and reseeds itself, for us to step into the patio one day with a lot of young, reddish leaves kalunay sprouts for us to see. | Source

Video of our tallest kalunay plant, which is around 3 ft. tall. Seeds are also maturing.

Are you familiar with this leafy vegetable?

  • No. First time I learned about it.
  • Yes. We have it growing in our garden.
  • I am familiar with it. I've been eating its green leaves since I was a kid.
  • I'm familiar with other amaranth species but not this.
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Comments 8 comments

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Thanks to your excellent narrative, precy, I'm learning about dozens of Asian plants I've never heard of before. Your photos are excellent, too.


precy anza profile image

precy anza 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Drbj :) Thank you for stopping by and the comment. The seeds on the photo are now turning yellowish and maturing. Have a great weekend! :)


Angelo52 profile image

Angelo52 3 years ago from Central Florida

A lot of good information about the Chinese spinach. Never heard of this before. Looks like a good leafy vegie for a salad.

Thumbs up and shared.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Does it taste like a spinach? It sure looks like a great thing for a salad mix.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

I remember eating this as a child in the Philippines - but I don't think I've seen it here in Southern California. Voting this Up and Useful.


precy anza profile image

precy anza 3 years ago from San Diego Author

@ Angelo52:

Yes Angelo, it is good in salad too. But I love it sauteed, specially the young ones :) Thank you for up, sharing and stopping by and reading! ^-^'

@ Avian:

It does taste like spinach. Could be mix with other greens for a salad too :)

@ Alocsin:

Nice to hear you had an experienced with this vege. Alocsin :) There's also this other kind of this plant which is prickly, but we prefer the thornless kalunay. thanks for stopping by!


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Awesome! a unique plant and sounds a lovely treat. A helpful and informative hub.


precy anza profile image

precy anza 2 years ago from San Diego Author

Glad you enjoyed this hub DDE :) Thanks. It is a lovely treat. We just let them grow wherever they pop up every year and harvest them as young plant, or they would occupy almost every pot :)

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