If you are looking to spice up your summer cooking and are a fan of cilantro, papaloquelite is an annual herb worth trying. Native to Central America, papaloquelite can be started indoors from seed or sown outdoors after danger of frost has passed in northern climates. For lovers of gardening and Mexican foods, papaloquelite is definitely a You Can Grow That! plant.
Papaloquelite (Porophyllum ruderale) will attract attention – in my zone 6 Connecticut garden it grew to 4 feet tall. It has lovely blue-green leaves that emit a cilantro-like aroma when brushed.
Because I like to observe and understand just how new-to-me plants grow, I allowed papaloquelite to grow into late summer until it began to flower. However, like many herbs, papaloquelite's flavor is best when the leaves are young. I can attest that older leaves tend toward the bitter side and are less tender. Fortunately, each plant throws out many side shoots of tender, young leaves which are best used fresh. Like cilantro, papaloquelite loses its flavor when cooked.
If left to grow to full height, papaloquelite is best planted as a background plant. It will easily reach 4 to 5 feet in height if not pruned to maintain a shorter stature and will shade other plants growing between it and the sun. Papaloquelite can also be grown in containers in full sun.
Papaloquelite does not bolt in summer heat, as cilantro does, so those who love cilantro-like flavor can use young papaloquelite leaves as fresh garnish all summer.
On the 4th of each month, C.L. Fornari at Whole Life Gardening urges garden bloggers to champion the virtues of gardening by sharing You Can Grow That! suggestions. Read the rest of the May 2013 posts, as well as previous posts, at the You Can Grow That! website. You are bound to get some ideas for trying something new in your garden.