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Edible ‘Butterfly Wing Plant’ with health benefits

MANILA, Philippines — Perhaps one of the most beautiful plants that you can grow in your garden is the Oxalis triangularis, which people fondly refer to as the Butterfly Wing Plant. Its dark purple leaves, each suspended on a long white, tender stem, are shaped like butterfly wings, so they look like butterflies in flight. They are particularly beautiful when grown as hanging plants.

A species of perennial plant in the family Oxalidaceae, it is commonly called False Shamrock. Occasionally, the Oxalis grows small, white five-petalled flowers which, together with the “butterfly wings,” are a sight to behold.

Relatively easy to grow, the Oxalis needs only regular watering, and it thrives on its own. Keep it in a semi-shaded area, and its leaves move in response to light levels. In a reference on Wikipedia, the plant's movement is described as “opening in high ambient light (in the day) and closing at low light levels (at night).”

More than just beautiful, though, the Oxalis is edible. Its leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, but the leaves are best used as an ingredient or garnish for salads.

Chef Gino Gonzalez of Café Ysabel and the Center for Asian Culinary Studies (CACS) advises to just pick the leaves, add them to salads, and just enjoy the unique treat as is.

The edible leaves of the Oxalis are known to have a cooling effect on fever. It can also provide some relief from urinary tract infections (UTIs) when taken in small doses.

Do not eat too much of it, though, as the oxalic acid that it contains can cause discomfort.

RELATED: Mulberries: health, culinary benefits

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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