Mache has been cultivated in France since the 17th century, and in France it is known as doucette. It is also known as "lamb's lettuce" because its leaves resemble the size and shape of a lamb's tongue.
The Charentais is a petite-sized melon with a smooth, hard, pistachio-grey colored skin and distinct green ribbing. Its flesh is deep orange, dense, smooth and sweet similar to that of a Cantaloupe.
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Parda flowers are available mid-summer to fall.
Parda flowers are produced on the climbing vine also known as hyacinth bean, bonavist bean, field bean, Egyptian bean and lablab. Botanically classified as Dolichos lablab or Lablab purpureus, they are in the same family as the common sweet pea, Fabaceae. Parda flowers are a fast growing vine with prolific greenery making them ideal for living fences and trellis systems. Although usually purple, some cultivars produce red or white blossoms.
The Parda vine can range from 3-9 meters high depending upon climate. It produces purplish-green foliage and red-purple pods with brilliant violet flowers to match. They resemble the shape of a pea blossom and are clustered in groups of 2-10. The Parda blossom offers a neutral flavor that is similar to a soy bean with a mild fresh cucumber finish.
Parda flowers may be eaten raw or lightly steamed. They make an excellent garnish as they are brilliantly colored with little discernible flavor. Use the blossoms to add color in both sweet and savory dishes.
The Parda bean has medicinal importance in the Philippines and China where it is used as a stimulant, to reduce fever, to reduce flatulence, to stimulate digestion, and as an antispasmodic. In Namibia, the root has been used to treat heart conditions.
The Parda bean is thought to have originated in Asia where it is still grown as an important food source. It grows best in tropical and subtropical climates, and can be a drought tolerant crop once well established. Parda vines thrive in most soil types with adequate drainage in sunny conditions. The Parda vine is primarily grown as an ornamental plant in the United States, but is a food crop in Tropical Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.