Lasia spinosa – the spiny lasia
Lasia spinosa, the spiny lasia, is a species of flowering plants in thefamily Araceae) native to South Asia and Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Taiwan and southern China. It has spines on stalks, stems, even on leaves. Young leaves are harvested as as vegetable. Spines on young leaves are soft but become hard when they are old.
- Family: Araceae
- Subfamily: Lasioideae
- Genus: Lasia
- Species: Lasia spinosa
- English name: spiny lasia
- Vietnamese: chóc gai, móp gai, ráy gai, móp, rau móp (as vegetable)
In Vietnam, the spiny lasia occurs in various parts of the country. But it is more popular in the South where it’s called móp gai, or rau móp when used as a vegetable. The plant used to be a wild vegetable and gathered in the wilderness, but now it is commercially cultivated in some places like Củ Chi (a district in Ho Chi Minh city) and Bình Dương (a nearby province).
The young leaves or buds can be used in many ways: eaten raw, mixed in salads, boiled, stir-fried, cooked in sour soup and hot, etc. However, people often use them for pickling. Pickled spiny lasia is often used in salads, in soups and stir-fry dishes.