Sorting Basella names

Species on this page ( A = names approved by most authorities, s = approved as synonyms) :


Note on Basella rubra L.

Basella alba L.

SYNONYM(S) : Basella cordifolia Lam.

ARABIC : Malabâr.

CHINESE : Chan cai (Cantonese Saan choi, Shan ts'oi), Luo kui (Lor kwai), Qing chan cai (Cantonese Tsing shan tsoi), Mu er cai, Lü luo kui.

DANISH : Malabarspinat, Indisk spinat.

DUTCH : Oostindische spinazie, Ceylonspinazie, Malabar spinazie.

ENGLISH : Ceylon spinach, Indian saag, Malabar spinach, Indian spinach, East-Indian spinach, Slippery vegetable, Surinam spinach, Malabar nightshade, Vine spinach.

FRENCH : Baselle blanche, Epinard de Malabar, Brède d'Angola.

GERMAN: Malabarspinat, Weisse Beerblume, Indischer Spinat.

HINDI :  Poi, Saag.

ITALIAN : Bassella bianca, Spinacio della Cina.

MALAY : Remayong, Gendola (Indonesia).

NEPALESE :     Poi saag.


SPANISH : Espinaca de Malabar, Espinaca basela, Espinaca blanca de Malabar, Espinaca de la China.

SWEDISH : Indisk spenat.

TAGALOG : Alugbati.

TELUGU :  బచ్చలి   Baccali,  బచ్చలికూర  Batstsali.  

THAI :   ผักปลัง  Phak plang (Phak ptlang).



Photograph of leaves & stem by G.D. Carr at Jean Lehmann's Prelude.

Photograph of fruits by G.D. Carr at Jean Lehmann's Prelude.


Basella alba L. 'Rubra'

SYNONYM(S) : Basella rubra L., Basella alba L. var. rubra L., Basella alba L. 'Rubra'

CHINESE : Hong chan cai (Cantonese Hung shan tsoi), Hong teng cai (Cantonese Hung tang tsoi), Zi luo kui, Zi ruan teng, Zi bei teng cai.

ENGLISH : Red Ceylon spinach, Red-stemmed Malabar spinach, Red vine spinach.

FRENCH : Baselle rouge, Epinard de Malabar à tiges rouges.

JAPANESE : Tsuru murasaki.

TELUGU :   ఎర్ర అల్లుబచ్చలి.

THAI :   ผักปั๋ง   Phak pang   (Northern Thailand),   ผักปลัง  Phak plang , ผักปลังใหญ่   Phak plang yai  (Central Thailand),   โปเด้งฉ้าย  Po deng chai  (Chinese translit.)


Photograph at Philippe & Sura Faucon's Phoenix Tropical Gardens.
Photograph at  RSPG Thailand (mid-page).



I don't believe B. rubra is a synonym of B. alba and I don't believe it was ever intended to be because they refer to two plants with distinctive features as shown in the above mentioned photographs. If B. rubra is a taxonomically invalid name it should be changed. The confusion introduced into the vernacular nomenclature by the name "rubra" could be eliminated if instead of considering a synonymous species "B. rubra" or a synonym "B. alba var. rubra" , as most taxonomists do or did, a cultivar called 'Rubra' was established and stabilised or registered as is suggested by Phoenix Tropical Gardens. All botanical names including the word rubra would then be considered former synonyms of the cultivar name. This is a very common process in bamboo nomenclature for example.


General Bibliography


Complementary / Specific


EURODICAUTOM, On-line Technical Dictionary in 12 languages provided by the European Commission < > (Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Latin with authority names)

Flowerbase, 1999, A Dutch database of photographs of ornamental plants. Common names in 8 European languages. < >

Mabberley D.J. 1997, The Plant-Book : a Portable Dictionary of the Vascular Plants, 2d Edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.

USDA, ARS, 2000, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). [Online Database] National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Available: (01 May 2000).

Wiersema J. H. & León B. 1999, World Economic Plants : a Standard Reference. CRC Press LLC.

Xie Zongwa & Yu Youqin (Editors), 1996, Materia Medica, Chinese Terminology, Vol. 1, Renminweisheng Publishing House Beijing, China. (Latin with authority names and Chinese-simplified, text in Chinese).


Contributors to this page (Personal communication) : Awaiting responses.


back to Gateway , to list of notes

Date created: 10 / 04 / 2000
Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow
Last modified: 28 / 07 / 2007
Access: No restriction
Copyright © 1995 - 2000, The University of Melbourne.
Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher