Okinawa Spinach




Okinawa Spinach (Gynura bicolor) is a perennial leafy vegetable native to Southeast Asia, known for its vibrant purple undersides and green upper leaves. This attractive and easy-to-grow plant is packed with nutrients and offers a range of uses in the garden, kitchen, and even in traditional medicine.

Usually available: All year
Life cycle: Perennial
Height: 50 -70cm
Position: Sun / part shade
Soil preference: Well drained

Garden Use

Okinawa Spinach makes a stunning addition to any garden with its unique, colorful foliage. It can be grown as an ornamental plant, ground cover, or as a companion plant to repel pests and attract beneficial insects.

Culinary Use

The leaves of Okinawa Spinach are edible and can be consumed raw or cooked. They have a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a tender texture, making them a perfect addition to salads, sandwiches, stir-fries, and soups. The leaves retain their color when cooked, adding visual appeal to dishes.

Medicinal Use

In traditional medicine, Okinawa Spinach is believed to have various health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins (A, C, and K), minerals (iron and calcium), and essential amino acids. Some studies suggest that the plant may have anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and antihypertensive properties, although more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Growing Conditions and Climate

Okinawa Spinach thrives in warm, humid conditions and is well-suited to the climate in many parts of Australia. It prefers partial shade to full sun and well-draining soil rich in organic matter. The plant is drought-tolerant and can grow year-round in frost-free areas. In regions with cooler winters, it can be grown as an annual or protected in a greenhouse.

Interesting Facts and Gardening Tips

  • Okinawa Spinach is also known as “Longevity Spinach” due to its association with the long-lived population of Okinawa, Japan.
  • The plant can be easily propagated from stem cuttings, making it simple to share with friends and family.
  • Regular harvesting of the leaves encourages bushier growth and prevents the plant from becoming leggy.
  • Okinawa Spinach can be grown in containers, making it suitable for small spaces and urban gardens.

Complementary Plants

Okinawa Spinach pairs well with other edible plants such as lettuce, herbs (basil, mint, and cilantro), and vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants). It can also be grown alongside ornamental plants with similar growing requirements, such as coleus and caladiums.

Scientific Studies

A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food (2010) found that Okinawa Spinach extract exhibited antidiabetic properties in rats, suggesting potential benefits for managing blood sugar levels. Another study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2012) identified several antioxidant compounds in the plant, which may contribute to its potential health benefits.

Okinawa Spinach is a versatile, nutritious, and visually appealing plant that offers numerous benefits for Australian gardeners and health-conscious individuals alike.


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Okinawa Spinach”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *