In our Top 10 edible flowers , there is a somewhat special one due to the culinary controversy it arouses among those who have had the pleasure or the misfortune to try it. The electric flower, known as the Sechuan button ( Acmella oleracea ) , is an edible flower that will leave you with sensations that some describe as new and others as unnecessarily unpleasant. You dare?
WHERE DOES ACMELLA OLERACEA , THE ELECTRIC FLOWER, COME FROM?
The electric flower is the flower of a plant commonly known as Cress of the Pará or plant of the teeth among other names apart from being known as the plant of the electric flower. Its botanical name is Acmella oleracea . It belongs to the Asteraceae family .
This family is made up of more than 20,000 species. In general, plants with inflorescences composed in chapters such as daisies, chamomile or sunflowers , are all of this family. The Acmella oleracea is another of them. In fact, its flower may remind us of a chamomile without leaves. Its origin is somewhat uncertain but some sources mention it in the tropics and subtropics in South America (Brazil and Peru).
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE ACMELLA OLERACEA FLOWER ?
Its culinary use is gaining fame. Good and bad reputation. It is a flower that contains anesthetizing active ingredients and when eaten, the sensations can be somewhat shocking and explosive.
First, there is an acid taste , due to which, the salivary glands will begin to produce saliva at a frenetic rate. After a few seconds, the analgesic effect begins to be noticed on the gums, tongue, and mouth in general.
Do you want to suffer? There will be people who think so and others who see it as a different organoleptic experience. At Gardenprue we believe that it can have an interesting use. We love spicy and this flower can be a good remedy to anesthetize the mouth of those chili peppers that are a bit excessive in their spiciness, don’t you think?
Like it or not, it is beginning to be part of the world of haute cuisine and is even beginning to be added to cocktails. Concentration may be the trick. If used in its proper measure, it can leave curious sensations without becoming unpleasant.
It is currently cultivated in many parts of the world. Coming from tropical and subtropical areas , the cultivation needs are adapted to these areas. Let’s see a little the requirements to have this plant in the garden.
ACMELLA OLERÁCEA GROWING CONDITIONS
Hot climates, which means that frost is your worst enemy and even if it does not freeze, low temperatures are not.
It is a plant that does not fear sunny exposures as long as it has constant humidity. If it lacks watering, too much sun will kill it. It also tolerates semi – shady conditions without compromising development, thereby reducing irrigation.
It needs constant humidity . The soil cannot dry out so it is a plant to be aware of if we do not want to run out of it.
You need a rich soil, which can be provided with a good compost and some mulch. The humidity must be constant but waterlogging is not your best friend, so we will have to find the balance so that the soil has a certain capacity to hold water while at the same time draining well and not waterlogging.
CONDITIONS FOR SOWING
Planting Acmea olleracea is relatively straightforward.
To do direct sowing we must wait until the beginning of summer . If you decide to become protected, you can do it earlier.
The seeds should not be buried. They need light to germinate.
Covering the tray or pot with film or a transparent bag will maintain the conditions of heat and humidity necessary for germination (around 20-24 ºC). It will take between one and two weeks to germinate.
Keep in the seedbed until they are large enough to be transplanted. They may need to be repotted to a larger pot . If they are too long in a small pot or seedbed they can wither without remedy.
During the sowing and germination period it is important to maintain a moist substrate at all times .
ELECTRIC FLOWER GATHERING
Depending on the needs, the flowers can be collected. If you want to do everything at once, it is better to wait until the end of summer, which will be the time of maximum flowering.