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.

ASSAMESE :  Boga puroi, পূৰৈ Puroi, পূৰৈ শাক  Puroi sak. 

BENGALI :  Puin saag,  পুঁই শাক  Pui shaak.

BURMESE :  Ginbeik,

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, Creeping 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.

GUJARATI :  Valchi bhagi.
पोई  Pō'ī पोइ   Pō'i, पोई का साग  Pō'ī kā sāga, पोई साग (Pō'ī sāg) Poi saag, साग  Saag.

ITALIAN : Bassella bianca, Spinacio della Cina.

JAPANESE :   ツ ルムラサキ  Tsuru murasaki,  つるむらさき Tsuru murasaki,  蔓紫 Tsuru murasaki.

KANNADA :  ಬಸಳೆ  Basaḷe,  ಬಸಳೆ ಹಿರಿ   Basaḷe hiri (as B. cordifolia),  ಬಸಳೆ ಸೊಪ್ಪು Basale soppu.

MALAY :  Remayong, Gendola (Indonesia).

MALAYALAM :     ബസല ചീര  Basella cheera,   വഷള ചീര Vashala cheera (Vasalaccira).

MARATHI :   मायाळू   Māyāḷū Velbendi.

NEPALESE :     Poi saag.

ORIYA :  Poi saaga.

PORTUGUESE : Bacela, Bertalha.

RUSSIAN :  Базелла белая  Bazella belaia, Цейлонский шпинат Tseylonskij shpinat, Малабарский шпинат  Malabarskij shpinat.

SANSKRIT :  Upodika.

SINHALESE :  Gam nivithi, Nivithi, Niwithi, Vel niviti.

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

SWEDISH : Indisk spenat.

TAGALOG :  Alabati, Alugbati.

TAMIL : பசளி  (Pasali) Pacaḷi, Sivappu, Venpacali.

TELUGU :   అల్లుబచ్చలి  Allubaccali,   బచ్చలి   Baccali,  బచ్చలికూర  Batstsali, దుంపబచ్చలి  Dumpabaccali పొలముబచ్చలి Polamubaccali ,  తీగబచ్చలి Tīgabaccali.  

THAI :   ผัก ปลัง  Phak plang (Phak ptlang).


URDU :   پوئي   Poʼī,   پوئي  ساگ   Poʼī sāg.

VIETNAMESE :  Mồng tơi.


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. var. rubra (L.) Stewart. 

ASSAMESE :  ৰঙাপূৰৈ  Ronga puroi,  ৰঙাপূৰৈ শাক    Ronga puroi sak .

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

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

JAPANESE :  茎 の赤い シンツルムラサキ   Kuki no akai shin tsurumurasaki,   シンツルムラサキ   Shin tsuru murasaki.

KANNADA :  ಬಸಳೆ ಕೆಂಪು   Basaḷe kempu.

MALAYALAM :     ബസല ചീര  Basella cheera,   വഷള ചീര Vashala cheera.

RUSSIAN :  Базелла красная  Bazella krasnaia.

SINHALESE :  Awaiting feedback.

TAMIL :  Kodippasali,   கொடிப்பசளி  Koṭippacaḷi, Pasalai keerai, Vasalakirrai.

TELUGU :   ఎర్ర అల్లుబచ్చలి  Erra allubaccali.

THAI :   ผัก ปั๋ง   Phak pang   (Northern Thailand),   ผักปลัง  Phak plang , ผัก ปลัง ใหญ่   Phak plang yai  (Central Thailand),   โป เด้งฉ้าย  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 as some taxonomists would like us to believe, 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


efloraofindia, 2012. Database: Seed Plants - Basellaceae - Basella alba.  < >.

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. < >

Kumar Ganesh (Dr.), 2004, Sanskrit - Kannada - Botanical Latin names, Botany Section., Trayee Foundation, Bangalore. < >

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) :  A. Sivapalan.


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Date created: 10 / 04 / 2000
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Last modified: 06 / 06 / 2012
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