Lemon vine (Pereskia aculeata) is native to tropical America. It is a scrambling shrub in the family Cactaceae. Common names include Barbados gooseberry, blade-apple cactus, leaf cactus, rose cactus, and lemon vine. The leaves and fruits are edible, containing high quantities of protein, iron and other nutrients, and it is a popular vegetable in parts of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais under the name of ora-pro-nóbis. Glorious shade of yellow green pink red and orange trickle across the upper leaves of this shrub-like plant slowly fading to a deep green. Small needle spines in groups of two or three hide on the branches and trunks beneath the leaves. A unique species of cactus, Pereskia prefer the drier regions of the garden what a amazing addition to any collection.
The growth rate of Lemon Vine will vary greatly depending on soil type, sunlight, temperature and other factors. The strongly scented flowers are white, cream or pinkish, 2.5–5 cm (0.98–1.97 in) diameter, and numerous, produced in panicles. The fruit is a rounded berry, translucent white to pink, yellow, orange or red, and 2 cm (0.79 in) in diameter. The leaves are edible, containing 20 to 30% of protein in the dry leaf matter. The fruit are also edible, containing numerous small seeds. It somewhat resembles the gooseberry in appearance and is of excellent flavor.
Lemon Vine Benefits:
- The fruit are eaten fresh, stewed, preserved with sugar or made into jam or jelly.
- Pectin needs to be added to make jam and jelly since the fruit is low in pectin and does not ge
- The young shoots and leaves are cooked and eaten as greens due to their flavour and high (25%) protein content based on dry matter and 85% digestibility.
- In Brazil, the leaves are applied on inflammations and tumours. In many temperate countries, it is grown as an ornamental cactus in greenhouses or as an indoor plant.
- It is also used, together with its relative Pereskia bleo, as a vigour-inducing places, it grows to become an impenetrable fence due to its aggressive spine system
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