EDIBLE GARDEN: Heart Leaf

February 10, 2014

"Vietnamese Fish Mint, Lizard Tail, Chameleon Plant, Heartleaf,

Fishwort and Bishop's Weed"

( Houttuynia cordata )

 

Pretty magnolia like flowers in creamy white with a green/yellow centre appear repeatedly over the plant from Mid Summer through to Autumn.

 

Foliage dies back at the first frost, but a very active root system will be busy beneath the soil through Winter. Vigorous plant, so not suited to aquatic or riparian areas where it may get a bit to active !

 

A fleshy herbaceous perennial suited to a semi shade location with damp soil, or readily available soil moisture from regular watering. However, we have seen the Fish MInt growing in some pretty tough spots with only periodic irrigation as a landscaping ground cover.

 

Suitable for pots, and very pretty heart shaped leaves coupled with the flower makes the plant look very exotic & tropical.

 

One of theose rarely used herbs, but superb in Asian cooking as a Fish Sauce substitute, especially useful to vegans for that reason.

 

Add the strongly scent foliage, a cross between squid sauce and linseed oil, to broths, stir fry and rice dishes. The aromatic qualities lessen with cooking !

Use sparingly in dishes until you get used to the proportions needed for your meal preparation. Never add directly to hot oil or pans, as the soft foliage burns quickly and creates an acrid taste. Use much like bay leaf in stocks.

 

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