Katuk Kontroversy

by Green Deane

in Edible Raw, Grain/Nuts/Seeds, Greens/Pot Herb, Plants, Protein Plant source

Katuk in blossom

Katuk in blossom

Edible Katuk: Sauropus androgynus

Katuk grows reluctantly in my yard. It likes truly tropical climes and I am on the subtropical/temperate line. But it’s still a favorite nibble and a staple vegetable in many parts of the world.

Katuk has a tasty leaf with a pea-like or nutty flavor. It’s also half protein, an amazing amount for a vegetable. More so, the leaves can be quickly stripped from the stem by pulling it between your fingers. Tender tips, leaves, flowers, small fruits and seeds of the Katuk are eaten raw or cooked, from soup to salad.

Also known as the Sweetleaf Bush, Katuk is native to lowland rain forests and prefers a hot, humid climate.  Hot and humid I’ve got, but not the lowland forest. I have not been able to get it above medium shrub stage here in central Florida, but from what I read it never gets much beyond a big shrub anyway. As mentioned I am exactly on the line between subtropical and temperate, which means an occasional freeze and one or two light frosts per winter. When a freeze threatens I take in clippings.

Katuk (ka-TOOK) will grow in shade or full sun, but it will not tolerate being dry. Under ideal conditions, it can grow up to a foot a week but it is never sturdy. Regular trimming assures optimal production of new tender shoots, prime food for Asian markets. One is supposed to keep it pruned to between 3-6 feet whereas mine has never exceeded four feet. The best way to propagate it is to take a cutting and put it in water, changing the water often. Another way is to take a stem and stick in the ground under some moist shade.

Katuk leaves

The leaves and the top four or five inches of a branch tip have a pleasant taste, similar to fresh garden peas, and slightly nutty. They are usually are eaten raw in salads, or steamed. You can add them to stir-fry, rice and egg dishes, soups or casseroles. The leaves retain their color and texture when cooking, which is fine for salads but you might want to chop them a little for soups or frying. They are often served in restaurants under the name “sayur manis.” The tiny flowers and fruit are also edible, though I have never noticed any fruit on my Katuk bushes.

Katuk is quite nutritious with the nutrient content is higher in more mature leaves. Though it is dwarfed by the Moringa trees in my yard, I eat the Katuk far more often than the Moringa just out of taste.  Raw the Katuk has an after taste that sits well on the palate, the Moringa can be sharp and bitter, if not peppery. More so, the Moringa easily grows 12 feet a season, where as the Katuk just gets a manageable bushy. (My Moringa article is here.)

As to Katuk’s scientific name, Sauropus androgynus. (SAW row-puss  an-DROG-ah-nus.)  What it means is known, as both words are Latinized Greek. Why the plant is called what it is called is a little harder. Androgynus, in the plant world, means having flowers that are either male or female. Sauropus means “lizard-foot.”  Why “lizard foot” is anyone’s guess. By the way: Change the ending of Sauropus to Saururus and you have Lizard Tail, a different plant species with medicinal qualities.

By now you should know Katuk is one of the most popular vegetable in the world, particularly in Borneo and my home in Florida. Now some information to keep the lawyers happy:

Every now and then some people get suckered and become human lab rats. This happened in Taiwan in the mid-1990’s involving Katuk. Although Katuk has been consumed for thousands of years without issue, and is consumed daily by millions without a problem, there is always someone around to do something excessive and stupid. The rest of us end up with a warning and worry.

Katuk’s tiny blossoms

Some vendors in Taiwan convinced people that an extract of raw Katuk was good for weight loss… yep, a fad diet.  The vendors sold extract of ground Katuk leaves mixed with fruit juice. Fifty-four people, 50 females, four males,  developed lung problems, most of which went away upon stopping the diet. Four middle-aged women, however, who drank 3.5 to 7 ounces (100g to 200g) a day of the extract for up to two months had to have lung transplants within a year and a half of consuming the extract. This is the human equivalent of over-dosing a lab rat to induce disease. More so, not only did these four take the extract they also ate a lot more raw Katuk while taking the extract. Only mother’s milk wouldn’t hurt you at that rate, and maybe even that would. Despite proven dangerous, this fad diet persisted and 9 cases were found in Japan in 2006 causing one death and one lung transplant.

The  poisonings are believed related to papaverine in the plant, which makes blood vessels open up and is not an uncommon treatment for high blood pressure. There is about 580 mg of papaverine per 100g of raw Katuk leaf, or about the same as four prescriptions capsules of papaverine to 3 ounces of raw leaf.  The theory is in high doses it permanently damaged the tiny blood vessels in the lung. Researchers have not been able to recreate the symptoms in lab rats which has led some to think the problem might have a genetic component.

A follow-up study of 278 people in Taiwan with non-fatal symptoms found the median consumption of Katuk was 5.3 ounces a day of raw leaf for 20 days. Their consumption was about seven times the average consumption of Katuk by symptom-free Malaysians, which is three to six ounces a week, not a day.  It was, it seems, too much of a good thing done wrongly. A 2006 study on rats showed that in a controlled experiment Katuk did help rats lose weight and reduce their triglycerides. Clearly it needs more research.

So, what does all this mean, beside don’t eat Katuk if you are taking something to open your blood vessels or lower your blood pressure? Enjoy Katuk as an addition to salads, a lawn-side nibble, and cooked in various dishes like you find in thousands of restaurants. Just don’t consume a half a pound of it a day raw for weeks or months and/or while taking an extract as well. I have been tossing a dozen leaves in my weekly salads for more than five years. I ain’t concerned.

Katuk’s nutritional content is outstanding: 49% protein, 18% fiber, vitamins A, B & C, potassium 2.77% (more than bananas at 1.48%); calcium 2.77% (dried skim milk is less than half that at 1.3%); phosphorus .61% (dried soybeans are at .55%); magnesium .55%; and even enough iron to mention.

Incidentally, in beast and woman, Katuk stimulates milk production. And no doubt out there somewhere in the world a man will eat a bushel a day and start lactating then we’ll have that to worry about, too.

Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile

IDENTIFICATION: Bush, upright with multiple stems, three to six feet high; dark-green, oval-shaped leaves 5-6 cm long. Flat, round, yellow to red flowers, small 1-2cm across, form in the leaf axils. In tropical climates, a purple capsule forms with small, black seeds. May need two different trees to fruit.

TIME OF YEAR: Here in central Florida it loses its leaves for a couple of months in our light winters, but has leave available for the rest of the year, blossoms in summer and fall. It is pest free.

ENVIRONMENT: Understory tree, likes some shade or full sun, prefers hot humid climate, can’t tolerate frost or freezing.

METHOD OF PREPARATION: Leaves, tips, flowers and fruits edible raw or cooked, raw in moderation

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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

Bonnie March 31, 2017 at 22:27

I have katuk growing in my yard that I purchased at ECHO. I’ve been tossing a little to my chickens. I gave some to some young ones 2-3 months. In the morning 3 were dead.
None were sick before or after. I won’t give it to the young chickens any more. And I don’t eat it much either. Just a couple leave for me or the adult chickens now.

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David April 16, 2017 at 19:05

Thanks for sharing your experience. Is this confirmed by other people/readers elsewhere? I have just read 3 studies about adults chickens fed wih katuk and I mostly found good news… [PDF] “Reduction of Fat Accumulation in Broiler Chickens by Sauropus …” – (2) “Effect of Sauropus Androgynus (Kat
uk) Extract on Egg Production and Lipid
Metabolism in Layers” – (3) “Performances and Egg Quality of Quail Offered Feed Containing Sterol from Katuk (Sauropus …”. I am a human male. I would love to lactate.

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Leda February 2, 2017 at 20:57

What is the best way of cutting it? Only the leaves, or the whole branch?

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Don_in_Odess July 23, 2016 at 06:10

I live in Odessa, Florida. Have Katuk coming outta’ my ears. Growing in shade, growing in sun, in the garden and in the flower beds. Last year got to around eight feet tall. The only one that flowered and fruited was the one in my garden, It’s in pretty rich soil and gets about six ours of mid day sun a day. Our preferred method of cooking and eating is the first few inches of the growing tips with a couple of the leaf stems still attached, steamed with no seasoning. The stuff is extremely easy to propagate by cuttings, but I also had some come up from seeds dropped from the garden plants. I have had ours for about three years and have never seen any pests on the plants.

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Sudha October 29, 2016 at 10:57

Hi Don,
Would you be able to send me some katuk plant seeds if I send you a self addressed stamped envelope? I live in NM , have a small green house to keep cuttings from my tropical plants alive over winter months. I do have seeds of ” indian or malabar spinach ” another nutritious vining plant with vigorous growth producing edible leaves/ shoots through out summer maybe winter time too in your zone 9 .
I may be able to spare a small plant of ” Indian curry leaves ” if you are interested.
Please let me know if you still have the katuk seeds.
Regards,
Sudha

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Rosemarie February 22, 2016 at 15:52

Just moved to Grand Turk in TCI. Looking to build a garden with edible plants. Katuk looks like it would grow here. Is there anyone who would ship plants to the Caribbean?

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gisela February 18, 2016 at 10:05

Hi,
I am thinking of growing Katuk plant but I live in New York City. Does anyone know if the plant can thrive indoor (because I do not think it will thrive outdoor in here).
Thanks.

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Green Deane February 29, 2016 at 18:26

It definitely will not survive a New York Winter outside. What might be problematic is the lack of adequate sun that time of year.

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wen February 9, 2016 at 22:06

Nice website, and great info on Sauropus androgynous, however … where did you get the idea of 49% protein from? Possibly a typo, as 5-6.5% is more accurate.

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Helen December 8, 2015 at 15:11

I have two plants on my back porch in pots in Orlando and they set fruit. I neglect them and they are spindly plants but very tenacious. The Homegrown Co-op here sells plants for 14.99.

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Cathy October 19, 2015 at 14:15

I’m trying to find katuk seeds. I live out of the US and can’t send a plant here. Anyone know where I can find seeds. Thanks

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Mary Kay November 7, 2015 at 17:10

Hi, Dr. Price! Like Martin, I like in SW Fl and have katuk growing in my yard, east side aof the house and east side under some cedars. Morning sun with afternoon shade. It takes no fertilizer and gets no insect damage, yet grows like crazy. I do have some seeds that I can send if you email me your address, and the USPS doesn’t object 🙂

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Sudha October 27, 2016 at 05:09

Hi Mary,
Read about your katuk plant seeds you were offering to Mr Martin Price. Would you be able to send me some? I live in NM , have a small green house to keep my tropical plants alive over winter months. I do have seeds of ” indian spinach ” another nutritious vining plant with vigorous growth and may be able to spare a small plant of ” Indian curry” leaves if you are interested. I even have a 1 yr old ” murunga” plant growing in a pot inside my greenhouse !
Please let me know if you still have the katuk seeds.
Regards,
Sudha

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Mary Kay November 7, 2015 at 17:54

My katuk here is SWFl regularly produces seeds, altho I can’t say how viable they are. ECHO may be able to send you seeds. I know they sell the plants. email them at info@echonet.org.

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Martin Price September 9, 2015 at 20:56

I notice many questions about how fast katuk will grow and tolerance to cold. I’ve grown katuk at ECHO (N. Ft. Myers in SW Florida) since 1981 and then at my home near there since 1988. When we built our home I planted a small row of katuk, maybe 6-8 plants under the north eaves of our house, with a 2 foot overhang. They are growing in Florida sand, almost never fertilized. Every year they reach the overhang of the roof and then bend over. I then need to prune with clippers or a hedge trimmer. I cut back to or near to the oldest wood, maybe 3-4 feet tall. This year I trimmed in April and already in October they have again reached the overhang. During the winter, both at my house and at ECHO, katuk (as well as moringa and many tropical leaves) are best described as “not dead.” The katuk leaves become tough and unappealing until it warms up around the end of February. We boil quantities of the leaves (and sometimes puree them) and freeze in small packets ready to add when wished to vegetable-based soups that Bonnie prepares for most days at lunch.

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christine August 8, 2015 at 19:56

Hi there!
I recently learned of Katuk from a support group for mothers with low milk supply. We are having trouble sourcing anything but the plant, which most of us can’t grow in our climates. Do you have any pointers or links that might help?

Thank you very much!

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Steph July 27, 2015 at 11:33

I also purchased plants (katuk, mango, moringa, rambutan) from the Rare Fruit Council in a West Palm Beach. I asked about GMO’s and a woman told me that they were organic and against GMO plants. I too had a tag in at least one of my plants from Spencer’s in Jupiter (which I’m trying to research now) which leads me to believe a lot of different people were involved in the Rare Fruit Council effort, and so I am a little concerned about the quality control. Is it possible to have GMO katuk and moringa?

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Kathy July 28, 2015 at 13:15

Katuk and Moringa are not GMO. Really, there’s not many plants that are GMO but unfortunately, those that are, are used in almost all processed foods. For more info on what’s GMO or not, please check this site: http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/what-is-gmo/
Regarding the Rare Fruit Council, it is not unusual at all for plant societies to buy plants for resale.

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Anh July 21, 2015 at 00:34

Hi, I’m finding katuk nutrition facts but I didn’t find much information on Google. Above, I saw you wrote about the percentage but I would like to know the exact details. Can you please tell me about it? I specially concern about the amount of fiber and magnesium in katuk.

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Linda July 19, 2015 at 13:27

I just bought a katuk plant at the rare fruit councils plant sale in west Palm Beach. The tag on the plant was from “Spencer’s Farm Fresh Jupiter Farms.”

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Gay McDonald July 15, 2015 at 05:56

I live on a sailboat in Cooktown in the far north east of Australia, and I can tell you this great little shrub grows better when you are using it regularly than when you leave it uncut. So, trim it and/or use it and it grows more than one inch per day. Leave it to its own devices and it does not do so well!

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Green Deane July 15, 2015 at 12:57

Thanks for the comment, and so far away, too…

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Anne Q December 15, 2016 at 10:14

Hi Gay, good to hear that it grows so well in far north east Australia. I live in Perth, WA and it is pretty challenging growing them in Perth. I have a few cuttings from a friend and I put them in water and at first, they started to have leaves and little ‘buds’ that look as if roots may be forming. Then a few leaves from most of the cuttings start shrivelling. Can I plant them into the soil at this stage? I also have a plant that is 3 feet tall and I am wondering whether I should cut the stems to propagate them and how often should I trim it?

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Anh July 13, 2015 at 11:16

Hi, I’m finding katuk nutrition facts but I didn’t find much information on Google. Above, I saw you wrote about the percentage but I would like to know the exact details. Can you please tell me about it? I specially concerabout n the amount of fiber and magnesium in katuk.

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Charlie Brown June 11, 2015 at 11:20

I am a volunteer and Docent at ECHO in North Fort Myers, Florida. I have Katuk at my condo. It grows very tall (about 8 feet.) and receives no help from me. Started from cuttings.
We mostly just add it to traditional salads because my wife is not very adventurous and she is the cook but I like to grow plants others do not.

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Joanne June 10, 2015 at 00:10

Hello everyone!

I just came across this site after looking on Google if there are “cangkuk manis” in the States. Katuk is my top favorite vegetable here in Malaysia. Its good to know that its available there as well. But I was wondering if there are people producing this in bulk? I would be moving to New York in a few years, and definitely wont be able to plant this there. If there is a place where I can buy it in the south and have it shipped to me up north, I will live a very happy life knowing I can still have cangkuk manis when the cravings come. Cook it with eggs and oyster sauce, or with pumpkin and coconut milk. yumm…

Thinking about leaving Malaysia, I worry most about having to leave so many dishes I grew up loving. The one thing that I dread about not being able to eat the most is Durian! ahahaha!

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Peggy hilliard November 24, 2016 at 12:34

I was searching Internet for recipes for the Katuk berries – my plants are quite prolific. I live in SW Florida and was thinking could probably ship or mail some to you. But depending on where you live you might be able to grow a couple of bushes with grow lights and misters!
I have been sautéing and adding egg, or making soups and salads with it. If you have any special recipes for it I would love to try them!

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Martin Price June 4, 2015 at 12:21

I enjoyed reading the article and discussion. I am the founding CEO of ECHO (1981-2008), now an ECHO volunteer. Some years ago we spent considerable time trying to find a way to reliably get katuk seeds to germinate so we could send it to countries where it cannot be located. As I recall we got a few plants but decided to drop the idea.

Could you give me the reference to where you got the quantitative information about how much katuk the people were eating in Taiwan/Japan? I’ve read many of the medical articles (admitedly some time ago) and never found specifics.

Here is advice I give concerning eating anything new and especially perennial vegetables like katuk, chaya, etc. “Learn to eat like a goat, not a cow.” First concerning toxins, how do you suppose perennial vegetables survive for years given all that nature can throw at them in our hot, humid climate. My katuk row at home is thriving since 1988 without any disease or insect problem. Probably they survive because they have one or several nasty chemicals. But our liver can detoxify modest amounts of almost anything.

My wife and I consciously plan to eat like a goat, not like a cow. If a cow, being a grazer, finds something it likes it can eat huge amounts. The goat is a browser. It will sample one plant after another. In the course of a couple weeks the goat has consumed a modest amount of everything the local plant community has to offer. So we don’t need to fret about whether we’re getting enough of a particular vitamin because we’re consuming maybe 12-20 kinds of plants each week. Also, if there is a toxin, it (or we) will have eaten far less than the cow and its liver will probably have destroyed any toxins.

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Charzie July 14, 2015 at 21:30

Great advice, and also what I have been doing unconsciously because I crave variety!

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Lucio October 23, 2014 at 09:45

Hi so you know where I can find katuk seeds
Tanks
Best regards
Lúcio

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Russell Johnson April 4, 2015 at 19:56

Hi Lucio,
Last week I bought a small katuk plant (about 17 cm) from Hirt’s Gardens via Amazon.com. With shipping it was about $14 USD. It arrived 2 days later in great condition and I transferred it from its little pot to my garden. I can see that it is already growing.
I think that is the best way to get started with katuk.
Good luck!
Russ

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Mike Parker September 28, 2014 at 15:07

I understand the logic of dismissing the lung issue based on the high dosages in that fad diet, but what about the separate liver issue also attributable to the papaverine? I’ve got a bunch of katuk plants growing and I like it, but I’m trying to learn about this before I adopt it as a regular food. I was recently advised by a local rare plant expert to avoid eating katuk beyond small amounts because of the liver issue. He said that its popularity has dropped dramatically in recent decades after people became aware of the liver issue. I’ll keep googling, but it would be good if this article was updated to cover this key issue.

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Green Deane September 28, 2014 at 20:54

When I google “Katuk Liver” I do not find any dire medical research warning about eating Katuk and ones liver. In fact there are quite a few positive animal studies. If you could suggest a few research projects that indict Katuk regarding the liver please let me know. Where papaverine is indicated as a problem is when people are prescribed it, which is a much large dose than eating it, often over many years, and without the other chemicals that come in the leaf. The selenium in Brazil nuts reduce prostate cancer. Selenium supplements increase it. I would not be surprised if there is quite a difference between occasional plant consumption of papaverine vs a regular refined prescription.

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Charzie July 14, 2015 at 21:27

Thank you so much for stating this about the varied chemical properties of plants vs the man-made isolated, concentrated, bastardized, perversion!!! I have gotten so many dire warnings about the “weeds” I eat…invariably by those taking handfuls of toxic pharmaceuticals, and it makes me want to scream! Bad enough the drug industry thinks it can trump nature, but almost everyone buys into the fallacy! Strange and wonderful species we are, eh? Isn’t it funny how every other species on the planet know how to care for themselves, except our “brilliant” one, and the unfortunate animals we associate with? If it wasn’t so sad, it might be funny.

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Lynn August 21, 2014 at 10:13

Can anyone advise me on fertilizing katuk? I have two six-month old plants in pots (in hot, humid northern VA) and have found that they thrive here when kept in semi-shade and practically drowned with water. However, I’m beginning to get some yellowing leaves with green veins on the new growth. I assume they need fertilizer? Thanks!

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Jess March 16, 2016 at 00:50

You say you’ve practically drowned them with water. Yellow leaves are a symptom of overwatering. Cut back in the water.

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Don June 17, 2014 at 15:51

As for trying to get someone at the ECHO event on Saturday to answer questions, the special event required most of the paid staff and interns to be working outside and with the sessions. They had volunteers answering phones. The instructions were to refer people back to normal business hours 9-5 Monday thru Fri, and 9-4 on Sat, to help people.

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Don June 17, 2014 at 15:42

Hi, I volunteered at an ECHO event this last weekend. They had quite a few katuk for sale, as well as other plants and trees like the miracle fruit, edible hibiscus, and moringa. I think they have katuk seeds available. If you buy something from ECHO, they have general information sheets, but they also have people available to help with your questions. They have a wealth of information to share.

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T. Nazir June 14, 2014 at 17:19

Ik woon in Suriname en wil graag een katuk plant kan iemand mij
vertellen hoe ik eraan kom.

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Green Deane June 15, 2014 at 20:02

Translation: I live in Surinam and would like a katuk plant. Can someone tell me
tell how I can get one?

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C Ennis May 7, 2014 at 21:49

Baker Creek heirloom is selling Katuk cuttings. I haven’t tried this variety, but get lots of other seeds from them.
http://www.rareseeds.com/katuk-2-plants-/

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C Ennis May 7, 2014 at 21:50

D’oh, I should read all the comments before I post…

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amy May 7, 2014 at 14:15

Just received an email from http://www.rareseeds.com (baker creek heirloom seeds) – they are selling 2 plants of katuk for $9.95 plus shipping. these are cultured cell grown, not from cuttings.

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Susan Scherr March 26, 2014 at 13:33

Hey there- thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I am slowly converting my Sanibel yard to food forest. Question about katuk. All the literature says to keep it pruned to under 3-4′, but I have not found specific instructions on HOW to prune it. My bush came from ECHO and is about 3′ tall. A single leader with regularly spaced single stems on the length of the plant. Does one prune to promote more vigorous side/outward growth or just when it gets too tall and gangly?

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Green Deane March 26, 2014 at 13:41

One prunes for growth.

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Dan March 7, 2014 at 20:59

Katuk grows like crazy here on my property in Hawaii! One plant has spawned into another and another all being about 4 feet tall and full of leaves. I usually nibble it while gardening and also toss about a dozen eaves in my salads from the garden. It is an awesome plant and just keeps giving new growth all the time!

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Soo April 19, 2014 at 02:01

Dan,

I live in Hawaii and I have been looking for this plant to grow for the longest time. I’ve never seen katuk sold in nurseries here, or even in farmers market or Chinatown! But I’ve had it before in soups and salads and love it! Can you tell me where to go to get hold of some katuk to grow?

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Soo April 19, 2014 at 02:15

I’ve have been looking for katuk for years here in Hawaii. I’ve never come across them in the local grocery stores, farmers’markets or even Chinatown. I’ve had katuk in soups and salads and I miss it! Can you tell me where I can get some cuttings to grow in my own yard? Thanks!

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DragonF February 6, 2015 at 17:13

I, too, was looking for this plant. Couldn’t find any at my local grocery, farmer’s market, or at ChinaTown. I finally had to go to Amazon online to buy it. Hopefully it arrives in good condition.

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Dianne May 20, 2015 at 21:02

I have been growing a katuk plant for a couple of years now. It has had fruit many times. I have not eaten the fruit, however will give it a try. It is very easy to grow from cuttings. I even have a couple that are volunteers. Do you still need a cutting/plant?

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Nicole January 13, 2014 at 21:30

I have one Katuk that I got from ECHO several years back. It’s in almost full shade and has done amazing. It fruited this year (alone) and yesterday I got a open fruit with the black seeds in it! They are 5 seeds and they are about 6mm each. I took several pictures as i have not had much luck finding images of them. (Although I haven’t looked very hard.) Although I just read “It could take up to 6 months for seeds to germinate.” (quote from: http://edibleplantproject.org/katuk/) I plan to give it a go! 🙂 I’m glad I read the SIX months thing, I would have given up!

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Brenon August 28, 2015 at 10:51

It’s much easier to grow from woody cuttings.

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Michael December 18, 2013 at 07:51

Do you know anything about the fruits they grow? I think you can eat them too, but I’m not sure. All my plants are clones of one I got from ECHO, and they require cross-pollination to fruit. We had some seedlings once, but they died from a combination of freezing and being weeded out by poorly supervised volunteers, so we never got to see if they’d be able to fertilize each other.
I’ve been unimpressed with this plant. I expected it would grow back after being frozen, but most of the time it prefers to die. Much of the year it looks like it wants to die, and we’ve taken to calling it “kaput.”
I haven’t bothered to try to sell these or propagate many of them, but once in a while we get a request from someone who wishes to afflict themselves in the futile attempt to coax it into some form of productivity. I think Gainesville is just too far north for them. If it is being taken south of here, it will probably do better.

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Green Deane December 18, 2013 at 08:22

The immature fruits are cooked and eaten. I agree with you that outside of a tropical area the plant’s performace is understandably poor. Here in central Florida it rarely got more than a few feet high. I would blossom but never set.

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G-Links November 24, 2013 at 15:30

I am from Grenada. I wish to grow this plant. Can someone send me some seeds of direct me to where I can get some seeds.

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Tom November 17, 2013 at 10:28

I have a katuk plant that has a lot of good size white berries on it, can those be eaten , if so do they need to be cooked? Also are they toxic to animals?

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Green Deane November 17, 2013 at 16:19

Only immature fruit are eaten after cooking.

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Bonnie October 29, 2013 at 20:37

I bought a small katuk plant at ECHO last winter. It has fluorished over summer and is my favorite salad green; nice nutty flavor; pretty little flowers; will try in a pasta salad. Hope to take some cuttings to give away as ot has grown so much it falls over

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Spencer October 6, 2013 at 14:12

Thanh,

I believe Echo (based out of FL) occasionally has Katuk cuttings available. Depending on where you are in CA it might not be very happy during cooler winter months. But definitely worth trying.

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Thanh Dang July 2, 2013 at 04:14

Hi,
I ate Katuk since I was a kid in Vietnam. I really love it. In my opinion, the best way is to cook Katuk with ground pork as soup. Remember to squeeze the leaves well before cook. I want to try growing Katuk in California. Do you know where to buy the seeds?
Thank you very much,

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Joe Bush June 22, 2013 at 21:09

I have a plant that I have had for 10 years that pretty much fits all the descriptions of Katuk growing here in Homestead Florida. I would like to send a cutting for identification to someone who can do it. Please send me an email and I will send you a cutting. I have to cut it back literally once a week and it now has a base about 8″ around.

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Green Deane June 23, 2013 at 18:52

Sending a picture or two over the internet is easier, and less costly.

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Peter Hogencamp February 14, 2014 at 22:20

Hi! I did not see if you got your plant analized to see if it is Katuk? I wanted too offer to do this for you. Now is a good time ad you should have both bew shoots abd old shoots. It is essiest ti identify if it’s Katuk with both new and old cuttings. I can also posibly identify which Katuk it is.

It is a good idea for a full physical identy. I don’t recommend you eating any plant with only a photo indication.
Katuk is an awesome plNt. There are many other plants that look like
Katuk but are not. It would be easy for us to identify.

Regards,
Peter

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Spencer May 23, 2013 at 19:26

Great article. Katuk is a fantastic plant. I’ve grown it in Panama where it is virtually unheard of yet does very well. In Vietnam it is a common edible green. I’ve never seen it in Africa… Grown with a lot of water it will develop long, tender shoots which can be eaten raw or steamed like asparagus. As Katuk is very easily propagated from woody and semi woody cuttings I have found it makes a useful guild species in agroforestry systems, planted around more delicate and valuable establishing fruit trees. When leafcutter ants are in the area they seem to prefer Katuk leaves to most fruit tree leaves.

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Glenda January 21, 2013 at 21:09

Wondering are you familiar with Graviola aka Sour Sop. Do you know where to find a seedling? I live near the Florida/Georgia line (zone 8) and I believe I can get some of your mentioned plants to survive, if not in the soil, then in a green house. Thanks.

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michelle December 21, 2012 at 10:39

Hi Tropic Bob!
Thanks for all you help. I would love to get some of your cuttings. I am a vegetarian and teach nutrition and health. I have started an organic garden and your cuttings would be a great addition!
Michelle

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Bradley November 13, 2012 at 11:44

Hi, I’m looking for Moringa to add to my diet do you know where I can get some from or if you provide it from your trees? Many thanks!

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Green Deane December 11, 2012 at 12:30

You can try ECHO in Ft. Myers Fl.

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TropicBob October 15, 2012 at 12:35

I am in Broward County (South Florida) and have 2 variegated Katuk plants. If anyone wants cuttings (pickup only) email: rroesler@hotmail.com

They are easy to grow and taste good. I have never fertilized or sprayed them. Bugs don’t bother them. They do topple over when they get bigger so do need pruning (as the author stated).

I also have Moringa, Chaya, Cassava, Cranberry Hibiscus and Edible Hibiscus cuttings. All cuttings are free but if you have something to trade that’s great.

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Kassy August 22, 2012 at 19:39

Hello, I am in TX and would like some Katuk! Do you sell cuttings?
Thanks,
Kassy

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Green Deane August 27, 2012 at 14:11

A harsh winter a few years ago kill my Katuk. Have you tire ECHO in Ft. Myers?

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Miriam May 16, 2012 at 19:03

Hi, Could you please tell me where I can get a cutting or something of katuk? I live in Ft. Lauderdale and would really like to have some of this for my salads as I eat mostly raw and trying to do all raw. I’m looking for variety in my salads as well as grow my own greens as groceries are sky rocketing!!! Thank you for your information. Miriam

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Green Deane May 25, 2012 at 08:27

ECHO in Ft. Meyers should have some.

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Don Parker April 1, 2014 at 10:05

We went down to Echo this past Friday to purchase Katuk, Moringa and a grain. Also wanted to visit their aquaponics project as we have a pretty good thing for our family going on with aquaponics our self. Their web site did not inform us that they were closed for inventory and that the aquaponics tour was only on Tuesdays. So fine, we got a nice little tour of mostly stuff we were already familiar with anyhow. But like I said it was a nice outing for me and my wife who drove from Odessa (north of Tampa).

So I resigned myself to going back home and doing the dirty with the credit card on their online store. I hate using credit cards online. Guess what, I couldn’t find the Katuk on their website. So I made the call to their office. A very pleasant gentleman, in his very pleasant voice, informed me that they can not ship plants. I guess not even within Florida as I told him we were in Tampa. Guess they don’t sell the seeds either as he didn’t volunteer that information either.

Needless to say, though what they claim to be accomplishing with their 2 million in donations while only spending 14% on a degreed staff of 0ver around 50 souls; As well as the upkeep and maintenance on over 50 acres of study in Ft Meyers as well as three other satellite operations in other parts of the world does seem extraordinary, to say the least. I am, nevertheless, a little miffed by my experience with them.

So, you got any other suggestions as to where I can get some Katuk and Moringa? I really would prefer to not do business with these people.

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Green Deane April 1, 2014 at 12:45

I wonder if Andy Firk in Arcadia has these plants. He might. You can find him on Face Book.

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Don Parker April 1, 2014 at 14:34

OK. Thank you, I will look him up.

Don Parker April 7, 2014 at 05:51

Here it is one week later and Mr.Andy Firk, was kind enough to ignore the email I sent him at your suggestion.

However, I was able to fill more than my needs, with abundance, by way of a volunteer (Bill Bilodeau) and officer at gaiasguardians.info. Turns out he was much closer to me anyhow. What he had came from his own yard so, I am not sure of the availability of more. But, gaiasguardians.info is a teaching/charitable project that deserves a look see and support.

Danielle Flood June 4, 2015 at 14:09

Hi Don,

I realize that your experience was over a year ago, but if there is anything that I can do to encourage you to give ECHO another chance, I would love to know. We do have some challenges when it comes to customer service and I absolutely would have been incredibly frustrated to be in your situation.

I’m glad that you were able to acquire the Katuk from Bill. I’d be happy to organize an aquaponics tour for you if you are still interested. You can reach me at dflood@echonet.org

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Judith September 1, 2015 at 08:55

Sears on Broward Blvd. (Broward Mall), leases out a beautiful nursery to a knowledgable woman. I bought Katuk and Everglades tomato plants from her.

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