Herb: Ruby Saltbush
Latin name: Enchylaena tomentosa
Family: Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot Family)
Medicinal use of Ruby Saltbush:The plant is antiscorbutic.
Description of the plant:
(3 1/4 foot)
Habitat of the herb:Loamy and slightly saline soils by the coast in semi-arid areas. Found in salt marshes and rocky headlands as well as in arid zones inland.
Edible parts of Ruby Saltbush:Fruit - crisp, sweet and succulent. A salty-sweet flavour. Very small, it is about 5mm in diameter. The fruits can be soaked in water and the liquid drunk like sweetened tea. Leaves - cooked like spinach. The leaves are rich in oxalates so they should not be eaten in quantity.
Propagation of the herb:Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse, planting out after the last expected frosts. Give some protection for at least their first winter outdoors. It might also be possible to grow the plant as a summer annual, sowing in the spring and planting out the young plants after the last expected frosts. Cuttings.
Cultivation of Ruby Saltbush:Loamy and slightly saline soils by the coast in semi-arid areas. Found in salt marshes and rocky headlands as well as in arid zones inland.
Known hazards of Enchylaena tomentosa:The leaves are rich in oxalic acid. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since oxalic acid can bind up the body's supply of calcium leading to nutritional deficiency. It is oxalic acid that gives foods such as rhubarb their acid flavour. Cooking the leaves will greatly reduce the oxalic acid content. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.