(Acacia pennata var. insuavis – Family Leguminosae)
Cuttings from the acacia tree are planted for vegetable cultivation, producing young shoot tips, which are eaten in central Thailand. The shoots or tips of this annual are valued for their mildly spicy taste and very high mineral, protein, carbohydrate, and vitamin C content.
Katturai cork wood tree
(Sesbania grandiflora – Family Leguminosae)
This is a fast-growing tree found from Southeast Asia to Australia, and is valued for its shade and wind-protection; but its seeds are among the most protein-rich of the legumes. The protein-rich leaves and pods are prepared like cooked vegetables. The huge blossoms of this tree can grow up to four inches across, and are also considered a particular edible delicacy in Asia. After the bitter heart is removed, they are boiled or sautéed very briefly.
(Pueraria lobata – Family Leguminosae)
Kuzu is an East Asian plant cultivated for its tubers that produce valuable starch called gok fun in China and ko fen in Japan. Native to the Orient, it has also been widely cultivated in the southeastern part of the US as animal fodder, but has also become an aggressive weed.
As a thickener, kuzu starch is excellent, producing a translucent sauce that adds a shiny gloss to soups. Because it is an alkali, it balances such acidity as that found in sweets. It is also used to dust over foods to be deep fried. A related tropical species, P. phaseoloides, is native to southeast Asia and has been introduced to Africa.
Kudzu has also been studied to prove some of its amazing health benefits (see p. 19 of the comprehensive index to my book Nature’s Pharmacy: Evidence-based Alternatives to Drugs). All abstract titles for these benefits are listed in the book.
Some of the benefits listed include:
- reduction of alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms
- relieving the pain of cluster headaches
- some anti-diabetic properties
- helps prevent bone loss
- protection from steroid-induced bone disease
- and much more
(Neptunia oleracea – Family Leguminosae)
Water mimosa produces root shoots cultivated in still water, like rice, mainly in tropical Asia. It is particularly rich in minerals and vitamin C. The leaves are sold in Asian markets together with their root shoots. The young leaves, shoot tips, and young pods are cooked as vegetables; but the roots are used as a natural remedy in Asian medicine.