Synonyms: Arisaema wallichianum, Arisaema plukenetii
Common Name: Green-Dragon. Wallach’s cobra lily
Local Name: Bashar (बशार)
Bashar is a perennial herbaceous wild food plant of hills in Western Himalayas.It is commonly seen growing in moist shady places in forests, roadside along with sides of streams, nallaha and other water channel up to an altitude of 2400- 3000 meters. Bashar succeed well in shady moist to well drained sunny habitat generally rich in peat.
Bashar grows from a tuber that is renewed seasonally. It produces single digitately compound leaf with 3 leaflets and spathe. Spathe is dark purple or green in color with white or purple stripes which are longitudinally ribbed inside. It is often netted with pale veins towards the apex with an oblong – ovate blade narrowed to a tail- like tip. This gives bashar a unique attractive appearance and that’s the reason provably that like Chichyda (Arisaema jacquemontii) bashar is also grown as a ornamental plant in garden.
Like other species of genus Arisaema (A. jacquemontii, A. tortuosum ) bashar is also predacious and change its sex from year to year, Changes in gender of expression is directly depends on nutrition and is also influenced by the environment in which the plant is growing. Small plant produces only staminate flowers, while larger produces either staminate and pistillate flowers simultaneously or pistillate flowers only.
Leaves and tuber of bashar are edible and cooked to prepare vegetable. Bashar is known to have crystals of calcium oxalate causing extremely unpleasant sensation if eaten raw but this effect is easily neutralized by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant or by steeping it in water overnight.
Local people harvest this plant from wild habitat as a source of food and medicine. Acc. to them bashar should be eaten once in a year to maintain good health.
Among the three most common species of genus Arisaema (A. tortuosum, A. jacquemontii and A. propinquum) bashar is favored as edible plant. People cook its edible leaves and tuber frequently as compare to other two. They considered this species nonpoisonous, while other two are considered poisonous by many locals of Western Himalayas. Acc. to them edibility ranking of these three species is bashar (Arisaema propinquum) , Chichyda (Arisaema jacquemontii), Kadae ki chhali(Arisaema tortuosum).
Erect, tuberous herbs, 40-60 cm high.
Leaf single; leaflets 3, sessile, rhombic- ovate, 8-20 to 4-15cm acuminate; petioles 15-70 cm long, often brown spotted. A
Spathe 10-15 cm long, dark purple or green, with white or purple stripes and longitudinally ribbed inside, often netted with pale veins towards the apex, and with an obong – ovate blade narrowed to a tail- like tip 1-4 cm long.
Spadix protruding in a tail- like, 8-20 cm long, purple appendage.
Bashar can provide edible plant parts round the year. Leaves of plant can be harvested without any fear , but tubers should be harvested on rotation basis for ensuring sustainable development.
Leaves and tuber of bashar are edible but they can be toxic due to presence of calcium oxalate, so must be thoroughly washed and boiled before eating. Tubers are cooked like potato and mixed with souring agent to neutralize unpleasant sensation. Tubers are also dried and ground into flour which can be cooked as ROTI.
Leaves are cooked as vegetable, KACHRU and PATRODU by mixing with basen (Corm flour), anardana (Dried seeds of sour pomegranate) and spices.
Bashar tubers, 1 kg; mustard oil, 2 table spoons; coriander powder, ½ table spoon; fenugreek powder,1/4 table spoon; cumin seed, 1 table spoon turmeric powder, 1 table spoon; red chillies, 2-4, chopped onion, 1; chopped garlic cloves, 4-5; tomato puree half cup, salt according to taste; 1 big table spoon anardana (Dried seeds of sour pomegranate).
Boiled tuber sauted in hot oil along with whole spices like coriander, cumin seeds, chillies, turmeric, onion, garlic and tomato puree etc in sequence. Add anardana then cook for another 5-10 minutes. As the tuber may cause sensation so addition of some souring agent improves the taste. Now it is ready to serve.
Leaf Vegetable ( Saag):
Bashar chopped leaves, 1 kg; mustard oil, 2 table spoons; coriander powder, ½ table spoon; fenugreek powder,1/4 table spoon; cumin seed, 1 table spoon turmeric powder, 1 table spoon; red chillies, 2-4, chopped onion, 1; chopped garlic cloves, 4-5; tomato puree half cup, salt according to taste.
Boil chopped leaves till they are soft and let them cool. Heat mustered oil in a pan and saute boiled leaves with spices listed above an a sequence. Mix well, cook for 5 minutes and then serve with chapattis.
Finely chopped newly emerged tender leaves of bashar, 250 g; dried ground bashar tuber flour and besan (black gram flour) or corn flour, 250 gm; fresh coriander leaves (chopped), 1 cup amount; green chilies, 3-5; ½; table spoon turmeric powder, 2-3 chopped onions and salt acc.to taste.
Mix chopped leaves, basen and ground tubers with spices listed above and make a fine paste. Put oil in a hot pan and spread this paste over it. Cook for 2 minutes and turn to other side. Repeat this for 2 to 3 times. Now KACHRU is ready to serve. Serve it with tomato catchup or tea.
The tender leaves of new growth are made into a roll called PATRODU in local dialect. They are eaten as a snacks with tea or vegetable. PATRODU can be made like this:
3-5 finely chopped newly emerged tender leaves of bashar, 250 gm besan (black gram flour) or corn flour, 1 cup; fresh coriander leaves (chopped), 3-5 green chilies, ½; table spoon turmeric powder, 2-3 chopped onions, 1 big table spoon anardana(Dried seeds of sour pomegranate). 1cup amount chopped leaves of herb bhavri (Ocimum bacillus) and salt according to taste
Make a mixture of chopped leaves, spices and besan (or corn flour) by blending them together. Roll this mixture like bedding. Tie it with thread or wrap inside by large Turmeric leaf or Colocasia leaf to make it one piece. Take a big pan and add some water then put small sticks to make rack over the water. Place the folded leaves on rack and let it be steam cooked for 15 to 20 minutes. Take out the rolls and let it cool down. Then cut into small pieces. These pieces can be shallow fried or deep fried according to taste.
Serve as a snack with tea or use as vegetable.
Seek advice from a professional before using this plant medicinally.
Root paste applied externally to cure erysipelas and scabies 1. The dried and aged root was used by the N. American Indians inthe treatment of female disorder 2.3. The plant (leaves) were chewed in the treatment of asthma 4.
Locals in Western Himalayas bring the apical parts of this plant and used as bedding for domestic cattle because bashar leaves are helpful to keep flies and insects away from them. Plant can also be grown as a ornamental herb in garden.
1, Bhatt, V.P. and Negi, G.C.S., 2006. Ethnomedicinal plant resources of Jaunsari tribe of Garhwal Himalaya, Uttaranchal.
2.Foster, S., & Duke, J. A. (1990). A field guide to medicinal plants: eastern and central North America. The Peterson field guide series (USA).
3. Moerman, D. E. (1998). Native american ethnobotany (Vol. 879). Portland, OR: Timber press.
4. Weiner, M. A. (1980). Earth medicine-earth food: plant remedies, drugs, and natural foods of the North American Indians. Macmillan.