Electric flower (Acmella oleracea)

Today we are going to talk about a type of edible plant that has generated a lot of controversy by those who have a somewhat more delicate taste or do not have the opportunity to try it. It is about the electric flower. Its scientific name is Acmella oleracea and it is known as Sechuan button. For some people who have tried it, they say that it leaves some sensations that qualify as new and others that are quite unpleasant.

In this article we are going to tell you all the characteristics and properties of the electric flower.

Main features

It is a type of flower that is known by the common names of Berro del Pará or plant of the teeth. It belongs to the Asteraceae family which is made up of more than 20,000 species. They are plants that have inflorescences composed in chapters and are visually similar to daisies, chamomile or sunflowers. Its origin is not known with total exactitude, it is what is known to come, probably, from the area of ​​the tropics and subtropics of South America (specifically in Brazil and Peru).

This plant has especially a culinary use that is gaining quite a lot of fame. Fame that on the one hand is quite good and that on the other hand is quite bad. It is a flower that contains various active ingredients that have an anesthetizing effect when ingested. Therefore , we are talking about a sensation that is quite different and explosive compared to other edible flowers.

When you take it for hours for the first time, you can see that it has a rather acidic taste that causes the salivary glands to start producing saliva at an accelerated rate. Bars seconds later, as you are preventing it, you can begin to notice the analgesic effect on the gums, tongue and in the whole mouth in general. For people who want to have some organoleptic sensations, the different ones love to eat these types of flowers. There are other people who, on the contrary, do not have this “need to suffer.”

Electric flower in the culinary world

Many people use it as a kind of anesthetic to soothe the mouth when large amounts of hot chili peppers have been released and it helps to calm symptoms. There are those who like it or not, we cannot deny that this electric flower is becoming part of the world of haute cuisine and is even beginning to be added to various cocktails. It can be quite interesting to have these different properties to be able to play with various culinary aspects. This is because the concentration of the electric flower in the different dishes or cocktails is the trick.

If we use this flower in its proper measure we can give a feeling that is quite curious in the individual without being unpleasant. There are also some people who like the taste of it. Today, we can see that this type of plant is grown in many parts of the world. We can mainly find it coming from tropical and subtropical areas. This is due to the fact that it has diverse cultivation needs that have to be adapted to the climatic conditions of these areas.

Growing needs for the electric flower

We are going to do a review of all the variables that we have to take into account so that the electric flower can develop in good conditions and we can grow them at home. The first thing we must take into account are the temperatures. As always, it is the variable that is the most important and limiting in terms of crop growth. In this case, we need warm climates, which means that frost was their worst enemy. Although it does not get to dance completely, the low temperatures are not suitable for the correct development.

The location is another fundamental aspect. We can have a somewhat colder climate, which if we make up for it with the right location, we can make it thrive. It is a plant that needs sun exposure as long as it has the necessary constant humidity. If you don’t have enough watering to maintain this humidity, the sun will kill it. The plant can also be semi-shaded without the development being compromised, but then we will have to reduce watering. Yes, and only if we should sow it in semi-shade if the average temperatures are quite high and the degree of insolation can damage the plant.

As for irrigation, it needs constant humidity. Since if the soil cannot dry out at a constant rate, we will have to spray the plant. Let’s not forget that, although it needs constant humidity, it does not tolerate flooding. If the soil does not have enough drainage so that the irrigation water does not accumulate, we will have to start spraying the leaves and flowers to maintain constant humidity.

The soil is another important variable to take into account. The electric flower needs a soil rich in nutrients and can be provided with a good compost and some mulch. We must find a balance between soil with good drainage and irrigation to maintain humidity that serves so that it can retain enough water without it getting flooded.

How to sow Acmea olleracea

If we want to plant the electric flower in our home garden we must take into account some aspects. In general, it is quite simple, we just have to know the following:

  • If we want to do direct sowing, we will have to wait until the beginning of summer. If we are going to plant it with some kind of protection we can do it a little before the summer.
  • We should not bury the seeds as they need light to germinate.
  • If we sow it in trays, we must cover them with plastic wrap or a transparent bag to help maintain the conditions of heat and humidity necessary for the germination to settle correctly. In this case, you need temperatures ranging between 20 and 24 degrees. If the conditions are correct, it will only take between 1 and 2 weeks to germinate.
  • We must keep the seedlings in the seedbed until we can transplant them to their final place. It is possible that during this time we will have to move them to a larger pot. If we keep it in a small pot too long, it can wilt.
  • The substrate must be kept moist throughout the germination and sowing period.

I hope that with these tips you can plant the electric flower in your home garden.

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