Spider Herb

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

spider herb a common wild plant in tropical regions. Five-leafed spider herb, Cleome gynandra, is found in Asia and Africa.

The leaves contain an essential oil which resembles garlic or mustard oil, and have a strong taste, described as being between radishes and asafoetida. They are mainly used as a flavouring. In Malaysia, for example, they are salted, pickled, and eaten with rice. They are also cooked, which with other subsequent treatment makes the leaves less bitter, and eaten as a pot-herb in various places.