Spinach leaves falling into a pot. (Photo by: Xavi Talleda/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
The Type Of Spinach That
Can Actually
Cause Chaos
By Elias Nash
Americans who see the word "spinach" might think of the common leafy green that populates salads and makes cartoon sailor men swole. However, water spinach is not related to spinach, having long, narrow leaves and hollow stems which are traditionally harvested while the plant is young to ensure a sweet taste and tender texture.
While it is a staple item in many Southeast Asian kitchens, water spinach is considered an invasive species in the United States. If a single specimen of the plant gets into the local waterways, it can propagate rapidly, growing up to four inches per day in tangled masses that block out native plants and fish.
It can also obstruct drainage canals and create dense canopies over ponds and basins that turn the water into stagnant breeding pools for mosquitos. Water spinach is illegal in most states, but the United States Department of Agriculture notes that controlling water spinach is extremely difficult because it is resistant to legal herbicides.