Rungia klossii or Mushroom spice – a contradictory novelty?
Do you know a plant called a mushroom plant or mushroom herb or mushroom spice? This herb is one of the current novelties that you may see in many florist and garden shops. The Latin name is Rungia klosii. If you have not seen it yet, or are hesitant to buy it, you have come to the right place. We shall tell your where it came from, what it looks like, and what it may be used for.
Papua New Guinea
It is almost unbelievable, but the mushroom spice comes from the Papua New Guinea region. Here, the natives used this herb a lot in various salads and also prepared a tasty spinach meal out of it. Well, that is the story. Folk medicine for example, used it to cleanse blood and also to support blood production. The taste is very special and we cannot say that it tastes like mushrooms, but it contains a lot of vitamin C, iron, calcium, beta carotene and very few calories.
Photo: Radek Štěpán
And what Rungia looks like?
Check the attached pictures. It creates rather solid shrubs, which can reach up to 80 cm. Leaves are oval, deep green with juicy flesh. When in bloom, it produces blue-violet flowers. It needs a nutrient-rich soil, which should be permeable and not very moist. A lot of sun is not a problem because it can withstand quite intensive heat, but heat makes the leaves rather stiff and the colour lighter.
Mushroom spice looks great in a flowerpot
Yes, from spring to autumn this plant is often grown in a flowerpot – outdoors. You may place it in your garden or balcony. After autumn however, put it in a room where it can winterize and you may even harvest leaves during the winter. Winterizing temperature should range from 8 to 10 °C. The growth will stop course, and so you should also reduce watering. There are many uses because it is suitable for salads, oils or for meat baking. An interesting option is to use it as a replacement for mushrooms – with scrambled eggs. Try it!
Photo: Radek Štěpán
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