Root Awakening: Drumstick Tree is edible

Drumstick Tree
Drumstick TreePHOTO: LAW KOON HUAT
PHOTO: WILSON WONG

Drumstick Tree is edible

What is this tree which bears long, edible bean pods? Are its leaves edible too?

Law Koon Huat

It is a plant that is commonly known as Moringa, Drumstick Tree or Horseradish Tree. Its botanical name is Moringa oleifera. Its young leaves and immature fruit are eaten as a vegetable. The seeds, leaves and fruit are valued as health foods. The plant has to be grown in a sunny location with well-drained soil. It can be grown from stem cuttings and seeds.


Basket Plant likes filtered sun


PHOTO: VIOLET TAN

What plant is this?

Violet Tan

This plant is botanically known as Callisia fragrans. It has a number of common names such as Basket Plant, Chain Plant and Inch Plant.

Grow it in a place with filtered sunlight for at least six hours a day.

It can tolerate some shade, but a lack of light will lead to floppy leaves. It also sends out stolons – stems which grow at the soil surface or just below the ground – that produce a new young plant at the end. These can be cut and potted separately.

It prefers fertile, moist and well-drained soil.


Furry morning glory


PHOTO: CHONG YUEN FOONG

I found this creeper in my neighbourhood. What is it?

Chong Yuen Foong

This plant is commonly known as Elephant Creeper or Woolly Morning Glory.

Its botanical name is Argyreia nervosa and it is a member of the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae).

The plant is best grown under direct sunlight and in an outdoor location with fertile, moist and well-drained soil. Rampant growth needs to be kept in check.

This plant can be grown in a sensory garden, as its leaves and stems are covered in fine hair.


Tip: These flowers draw honeybees

Most of us are familiar with the Honolulu Creeper, which is also known as the Coral Vine. Botanically known as Antigonon leptopus, the plant that is common in Singapore has pink flowers.

The variety with white flowers, as shown in the picture, is not commonly grown.

No matter what colours its flowers are, the Honolulu Creeper is a sun-loving climbing plant that is best grown in direct sunlight. Under optimal conditions, it grows fast and needs to be monitored so as not to smother other plants.

The flowers of this plant are rich in nectar and they attract honey bees, making it suitable to be grown in an edible plant garden with fruiting plants that require pollination.

The flowers are edible. One way to prepare them is to dip them in flour and then deep-fry them.

• Have a gardening query? E-mail it with clear, high resolution pictures of at least 1MB, if any, and your full name to stlife@sph.com.sg

• Answers by Dr Wilson Wong, a certified practising horticulturist and founder of Green Culture Singapore (www.greenculturesg.com). He is also an NParks-certified park manager.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'Root Awakening'. Print Edition | Subscribe