Papaloquelite–You Can Grow That!

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.



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6 comments for “Papaloquelite–You Can Grow That!

  1. May 4, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I’ve never heard of papaloquelite before. It sounds like a great addition to a kitchen garden, I love that it gets so large but keeps producing tender young leaves.

  2. May 5, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Great information, I really appreciated the blog link you embedded in your post. Thank you.

  3. May 5, 2013 at 11:44 am

    New to me! How interesting, and it’s a nice looking herb for the garden too. I think it’s fun to say, it just rolls around on the tongue!

  4. May 6, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Debbie, Laurrie and Charlie,
    Papaloquelite is definitely an unusual plant in zone 6 Connecticut, but it’s one of those worth a try just to see how it grows and what it tastes like. If you grow it you definitely want to use the leaves while they are small, young, and tender. They tend toward a bitter flavor when older.

  5. May 8, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    I’ve never heard of this before but I’m a big fan of cilantro. I plant it constantly throughout the summer so I have fresh leaves for salsa. Nice to know this doesn’t bolt as easily.

  6. May 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    As a lover of cilantro, this looks like a winner to me. Thanks for the introduction, Joene.

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