oroxylum plant

Oroxylum indicum

Oroxylum indicum is a species of flowering plant belonging to the monotypic genus Oroxylum and the family Bignoniaceae. This is commonly called oroxylum as it’s the only species in the genus. Other common names includes midnight horror, Indian trumpet flower, broken bones, Indian caper, or tree of Damocles. The species is known to be native South and Southeast Asia.

Family: Bignoniaceae
Tribe: Oroxyleae
Genus: Oroxylum
Species: Oroxylum indicum
Synonyms: Bigninia indica, Calosanthes indica
English name: oroxylum, midnight horror, Indian trumpet flower, broken bones, Indian caper, or tree of Damocles.
Vietnamese name: núc nác.

oroxylum indica
Oroxylum indica pods – Vietnamese: núc nác

In Vietnam, the oroxylum is known as núc nác. The plant is known to be used an ingredient in a local cough syrup.

Harvesting oroxylum pods
Harvesting oroxylum pods in Đắk Lắk province

Culinary uses

In Đắk Nông, Đắk Lắk and some other central highland provinces, according to the local people, the young leaves, the flowers and the fruits (pods) are edible, and can be used in a daily meal. The flowers can be stir-fried with meat (pork) or stuffed with minced pork then get grilled. The young leaves can be boiled and dipped with lemon juice, or they can used in some fish braise.

sti-fried oroxylum flowers with minced pork
Sti-fried oroxylum flowers with minced pork in northwestern Vietnam.

But the pods have a bitter and pungent taste, and not everybody can eat. Several ethnic groups like M’nông, Mạ or Ê đê use the oroxylum pods in their dishes. Those pods can be cooked in many ways: boiling, stir-frying, cooking in soups. But the most unique dish is oroxylum salad with dried anchovy.

Oroxylum salad
Oroxylum salad
Oroxylum salad with pig's ear
Oroxylum salad with pig’s ear and shrimps

To make this oroxylum pods need to be roasted first, they they are sliced like a vegetable. Next, the oroxylum pieces are mixed with sliced chive bulbs, dried anchovies, roasted peanuts, herbs and salad seasonings (salt, sugar, msg, lime juice). The next step is to mix other Some variations include oroxylum salad with yellowstripe scad, with grilled stream fish, with pork, with pig’s ears…

Oroxylum salad is also popular among the Tày  or the Thai ethnicities (northernmost Vietnam) those used carps or climbing perch fish.

Oroxylum salad with finely-chopped grilled fish
Oroxylum salad with finely-chopped grilled fish and purple perilla
pickled oroxylum
Pickled oroxylum

The oroxylum can also be pickled together with green stripe eggplants.


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