Polygonum odoratum  
“Vietnamese Cilantro” “Rau Ram


 Polygonum odoratum “Vietnamese Cilantro” “Rau Ram”

I encountered this herb many years ago when I shared a community garden with a group of Cambodian gardeners.  It was a pretty little thing with trailing stems & green leaves with a dark colored blotch & the young leaves were used interchangeably with peppermint & regular cilantro in soups, stews & salads. Other cooks have found it useful in Mexican foods like salsa & ceviche. Old leaves get tough & a bit acrid, so the Cambodians would cut the plant back repeatedly to get flavorful new leaves. Unlike cilantro, it will never bolt & retains its flavor well when dried. I took a plant home & learned that unless you eat a LOT of it, Rau ram should be grown in pot where its rampant growth can be contained. Repot often since it will stop producing new leaves when pot-bound. Naturally an understory groundcover, it should be grown with afternoon shade/all day filtered shade & plenty of water. A high nitrogen fertilizer is also helpful. A tropical herb, it will die back in light frost but will re-sprout again the Spring. In areas with heavier frost, the plant can be overwintered indoors.

Anni J
Propagator


 

AM Sun/Bright Shade
Avg/Moist Water

Perennial
USDA Zones 9b-11