Okinawan Spinach

breezyb(z6/7VA)January 25, 2005

Does anyone have a source for seeds of Okinawan Spinach?

All I know about the variety I'm looking for is that the leaves are green above & purple underneath, it can be eaten raw or cooked, & that it is purported to have properties that help lower cholesterol.

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I don't think it grows from seeds.
Look up the thread "Hon Fong anyone?" on p.2 of this forum and you might be able to find a contact for cuttings.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 5:14PM
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Hmmm - you may be right. I contacted a company that specializes in oriental vegetables & they, nor their Japanese supplier, had heard of it. They wondered/suggested if it might be the vegetation produced by the Okinawan sweet potato.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 5:18PM
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Okay - found the following website describing it. Apparently you are correct - viable seed is rare.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 5:40PM
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If you can go to Florida (or know someone nearby), cuttings are available from the address below.If you scroll down the page, there is also a good photo of it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Okinawa Spinach

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 7:56PM
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Hello, I am new to the board. first post.
Yes you can grow it from seed. We had alot of it planted in Okinawa. Athough I do not have any seed I thought i would respond.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 8:12PM
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honu(z11 HI)

I have been growing the green/purple leaf variety, started from cuttings, since November. I'm waiting to see if it will flower and produce seed, but so far it is all vegetative. I have asked my local extension in Hawaii, a professor in our University's Ag dept, and a local seed supplier if this plant, or another "Cholesterol Spinach", Dawn Dewa, will produce seeds, and no one knows.
The Dawn Dewa is all green and has hairy leaves.
My purple/green leaf variety has smooth, thick leaves. I don't know what my purple one is called, and the folks at my extension didn't know either.
People have been asking me for seeds, but the plant has never flowered.
Is there any trick to making a plant flower, and what's the best way to collect and prep the seed for shipping?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 5:56AM
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Scientific Name: Gynura nepalensis

Common names:
Dawn Dewa, Leaves of the Gods, Googoolipid, Mollucan spinach, Cholesterol Spinach

It may be a plant that tends to rarely, if ever produce seeds and is normally propagated by cuttings.

"Native to Nepal, it has received interest recently in Hawaii, where anecdotal evidence of its cholesterol-lowering effects have given it "miracule-cure" status. It is described as a hardy, fast-growing plant that appears related to the Okinawan spinach. No scientific evidence exists to justify any claims of effectiveness or safety. One study found an extract of a plant of the same genus as cholesterol spinach effective in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels in diabetic rats."

"It is not a spinach. Don't call it that. Just call it the low-cholesterol plant..."
"Cuttings should be transplanted into a clean pot using new, unused potting soil. Keep moist and out of direct sunlight until new growth starts. Mist frequently with diluted strength water soluble fertilizer. Â
 Can be grown in direct sunlight, part shade outdoors. Grows and spreads into a dense gound cover with enough moisture and nutrients. Do not use poisons of any type since this is what you will be consuming. No pests have been observed on this plant.
Can be eaten raw by itself or mixed in with salads. Almost tasteless, this is a good addition to your veggies. Use in place of lettuce!"

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 5:08PM
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robertacentralfl(z9 FL)

My newly planted cuttings with pointed green leaf tops and purple underneath flourished summer/fall of 2004. I used liquid bloom spray on it and harvested it often. It produced many dark burnt orange dime-size flowers and then seeds. Since I did't know flowers& seeds were rare, I paid little attention to viability. I have been temporarily disabled this summer/fall so my patch has not been tended and has just survived.

I harvest the last 4-6" of the shoots to produce branching, throw out the stems using just the tender leaves. I do enjoy the flavorful leaves both raw in salads and cooked with butter or in a casserole. Here is a link with additional info; click & scroll down to the "O's":

I am looking to exchange Malabar Spinach: cuttings for Okinawa spinach cuttings with someone since Malabar is also a summer green which is very difficult to produce in these FL summers.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 7:51PM
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Yeah, my parents-in-law grow tons of it, and they make me eat it too... actually all the neighboring Garden Plots next to ours grow it extensively. Let me know if I can help. I believe it just got harvested this month here on Okinawa...since it's a "winter" veggie.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 9:31AM
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I'm in Sarasota, Florida and I'm growing it too. Lovely plant. I'd be happy to try to send cuttings. Thrives summer and winter--unlike some of the Asian veggies. Pics here: email me at I've got this spinach and a few other things at Echo Farms in North Fort Myers. You can also buy Malabar Spinach seeds at

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures of Okinawa Spinach

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 1:04PM
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discocarp(z9b FL)

Kind of an old thread but...

This stuff spreads super easy via cuttings. I give the cuttings no care other than a little water twice a week. I just stick them in the dirt and they grow.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 7:00PM
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Does anyone know if the plant is harmful to pregnant women or their unborn child????

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 10:59PM
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I've grown Okinawan as well as Dawn Dewa or Mollucan spinach and Malabar spinach in the past. At the moment I have Dwan Dewa and a few start-up Malabars.
I've never seen flowers or seeds in either the Okinawan or Dawn Dewa. I normally just stick the stems/cuttings of those two in water to root or just stick in the soil.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sonia Tastes Hawaii

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 5:39PM
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i have a small pot of Okinawan Spinach that flowered and produced seed a month or two ago. i have been told by another Hawaiian gardener that flowering is not uncommon but that the seed does not come true, the new plants have leaves that are only green, no red on the reverse. He cautioned me to pinch the seed heads off since the volunteers create a little bit of a weed problem in his garden. FWIW.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 11:50PM
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Does anybody have any Okinawan Spinach cuttings they would be willing to sell to me? I live in Portland, Oregon and have been searching for some time with no luck. Thanks a lot!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 2:57AM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

Bump. I'd love to get some cuttings, I am in Martin County, FL. Will travel within reason. Have Moringa O. seeds or Malabar spinach to trade. Also have some herbs, rosemary, greek oregano, stevia, thyme, mint.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 2:40AM
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