I mentioned himbabao in my previous blog. I included this vegetable in my pinakbet recipe which I learned from a panggalatok vegetable vendor. Many of my fellow bloggers requested me to show a picture of this vegetable. I described it as caterpillar-like veggies. Since himbabao is only available every summer (because I don’t see himbabao in the market when summer is over), I can now post it in my blog.
Himbabao (Broussonetia luzonica (Blanco) Bur. var. luzonica family Moraceae) or alucon (tagalog version according to the veggie vendor) is a medium-sized deciduous tree with a height of 15 meters and a diameter of 30 cm. The leaves are alternate with pointed apex and rounded base. The lower surface is hairy. The flowers are very small and are borne on very long, slender, spike-like flowering branches.
This species is distributed in the Philippines, from Luzon to Mindanao. It is commonly found in thickets and second-growth forests at low and medium altitudes.
The young leaves and flowers are cooked and eaten as vegetables. They could be cooked solely, or in mixture with other vegetables just like what I’m doing with my pinakbet. The flowers can also be made into a delicious salad. Actually, the caterpillar-like part of the vegetable is the flower.
Just like other plants, himbabao can be propagated by seeds, or by cutting from matured branches. Alucon is considered as wildfood plants.