Sauropus androgynus or also known as Sweet Leaf is a tropical shrub growing about 2-3m tall. It has small red flowers, compound dark green and oval leaves, and purple fruits. Mainly found throughout Southeast Asia, it is often cultivated as leaf vegetable. The leaves are used medicinally to treat coughs and fever but mainly used as food – either consumed raw or cooked. Young shoots and fruits are edible as well. The leaves yield green dye which can be used as food coloring. Plant can be propagated through leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, and seeds sowing.Sauropus androgynus is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.
Edible: Leaves – raw or cooked[296 , 418 ]. Young leaves make a good addition to salads, whilst older leaves are best cooked[296 ]. They can be added to soups or cooked with rice[46 ]. Young shoots about 7cm long, harvested as the leaves unfurl, have a flavour like asparagus[296 ]. A sweet flavour, rather similar to fresh garden peas[296 ]. The leaves are a good source of protein (about 6 – 10%[298 ]) and are very nutritious[296 ]. Ripe fruits can be made into sweetmeats[301 ]. A green dye, obtained from the leaves, is used for food dyeing[317 , 418 ].The leaves are used as a medicine for coughs and to soothe the lungs, as a tonic, and as a febrifugal to relieve internal fever.
A plant of the tropics, where it is well adapted to lowland conditions but can also be cultivated at elevations up to 4,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 26 – 35?c, but can tolerate 5 – 38?c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 900 – 1,200mm, but tolerates 600 – 4,000 mm[418 ]. Succeeds in full sun and semi shade[296 ]. Survives dry conditions and does not require a rich soil[296 ]. Tolerant of very heavy soils[298 ]. Tolerant of heavy rainfall areas, though they prefer a well-drained soil[298 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 – 7, tolerating 5.5 – 7.5[418 ]. First harvest may be taken after 55 – 70 days[418 ]. Plants can be harvested throughout the year[418 ]. In Java, the plant flowers all year-round and fruiting is usually abundant[418 ]. Plants are fairly resistant to insect predations[296 ].
|Propagation:||Seeds / cuttings|
|Pre-Treatment:||Nick seed and pour water over the seeds, soak 24-48 h|
|Sowing Time:||All year round|
|Sowing Deep:||1-1,5 cm|
|Sowing Mix:||Coir or sowing mix add sand or perlite|
|Germination Temperature:||ca. 20-25°C|
|Location:||Keep constantly moist, not wet|
|Germination Time:||ca. 4-12 weeks|