Subject: Bac ha
With a growing Asian community we are being exposed to more Asian culinary
At a local market I bought a plant, labelled only as Bac Ha (both a have
accents which I can't replicate here), which is clearly a dwarf aroid under
Can anyone suggest a proper name please.
47 Allinga Avenue
South Australia, Australia
Telephone 61 8 83795123
Fax 61 8 83642003
Quite a few years[6?] ago here in Florida I came across an Aroid at a
friends that I thought was a small variety of Alocasia, probably
macrorrhiza,in a local plant shop. the owner said he`d been given it by Thai
friends who cultivated it for it`s leaves, and they said it was called "bok
ha" [ being from Trinidad, W.I. that`s how it sounded to me; an American
probably would write it "bAk ha". I kept it for a while before giving it to a
"friend" who quickly killed it. I was interested in it, because in Trinidad
we cultivate dasheen [taro] leaves to prepare one of our national dishes, a
soup in the gumbo family [African] called "calaloo" which originally included
okra, plantain balls made in a huge mortar and pestle,and land crabs which
were trapped alive and at first fed chili leaves to purge them, then soft
maize to fatten them over a period of two weeks, before the were killed,
cleaned and added to the soup!
In Bown`s book on Aroids she also mentions A. cucllata and A. fornicata as
also being used as food. There are also special cultivars of Xanthosoma in
S. America that are grown especially for their leaves, but the ones that I`m
familiar with itch too badly to be used!
Hope this is of help.
Julius. ju-bo@ msn.c