Growing and Extracting Magenta Plant

  • scientific name: Peristrophe roxburghiana
  • Vietnamese name: cay la cam
  • English name: magenta plant

Description:

Magenta plant / cay la cam is a perennial plant. The plant has magenta colored flowers and can be rooted easily by stem cuttings. The magenta leaves are extracted to make a natural purple food coloring with light fragrant commonly used in many Southeast Asian desserts such as sticky rice, mochi balls, glutinous rice cakes, and che.

Growing the Magenta Plant:

I learned that magenta plant needs moist soil and full shade in order to strive. I had first planted the magenta plant in a sunny area and the plant was under stressed and eventually attacked my white waxy scales and tiny caterpillars with webs. I recently just stick several stem cuttings into a different place in the garden and hopefully it will do well in this new location. I’ll update new pictures of its growth later.

How to Extract Magenta Leaves:

1. Harvest the healthy leaves to fill up 3 cups full.

2. Rinse and wash the leaves well to remove all the dirt and debris.

3. In an 8-inch pan, pour in 1.5 cups of water and the magenta leaves.

4. Set timer to 20 minutes and simmer the leaves. Start out with high heat until the water boils and bring it down to a medium low heat for the liquid to simmer constantly. This amount of extract was enough for me to soak 2 to 3 cups of uncooked glutinious rice or sweet rice to make magenta sticky rice.

5. Strain the magenta extract through a fine mesh spoon. I pressed the leaves down with the bottom of the small spoon or ladle to squeeze out the extract from the leaves as well. If I’m am extracting a lot of leaves, I would store the extract in air tight containers and freeze it for future use.

Stick the stem cuttings into the ground in a shady spot to grow more magenta. I’ll update how the new location for my magenta turns out in a month or two.

Recipe that uses the magenta extract:

3 comments

    • I bought the magenta plant, not seeds, from Van Nursery in Apopka, Florida. Ms. Van has a fruit tree stand at the flea market located next to the Orlando Fairground on the weekends.

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