So many interests are constantly driving towards consuming varieties of wild plants. Despite the agricultural advancements and surplus food production in our modern world, the old tradition of consuming wild plants is not yet neglected. This is attributed to the fact that most of these wild plants are highly nutritive, useful for culinary purposes and offer several remarkable benefits to mankind.
One of such essential wild plants is loroco, which is botanically known as Fernaldia pandurata. Loroco is a green covered flower bud that is related to the dogbane family. It is also known as loˈɾoko or flowers of Guatemala. It is a woody-stemmed plant with edible flowers. Loroco is a herbaceous plant that thrives mainly in Central America and Mexico.
It is an essential source of food in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The plant is distinguished by its rectangular-elliptical to wide ovoid leaves. The leaves measure approximately 3 to 13 centimetres long and 1.5 to 8 cm broad. Loroco flowers are usually 7 to 18 in number while the inflorescences are slightly shorter than the leaves.
The pedicels measure approximately 4 to 6 millimetres long, the ovoid calyx between 2 to 3 millimetres while the bracts measure between 1 to 2 millimetres. The white corolla forms within while the greenish part forms externally covering the corolla. Loroco can be propagated by cutting or by seed and it normally requires 3 to 4 months from planting stage to flowering stage.
Nutritional Values of Loroco Flower
Studies reveal that loroco flower is an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C, dietary fibre, niacin, iron and calcium.
Benefits of Loroco Flower
Loroco flower can be boiled, cooked, steamed, roasted, stir-fried or dried before consumption. Loroco can also be pickled, frozen or stored in a jar for preservation. Loroco has a similar taste with spinach, broccoli, chard or squash. Both the flower and buds are used for cooking assorted dishes such as; rice, sauces, salads, stews, soup or pupusas. Pupusas can be prepared with chicken, cheese, rice or eggs and then paired with other ingredients in tamales, crepes, tortillas or flatbread.
It is worthy to note that pupusa is a very popular dish in El Salvador where it is commonly referred to as pupusas el salvador.
Pupusa is prepared with rice flour, corn flour or maize flour to form tortillas. The tortillas can then be stuffed with loroco flowers, cheese, refried beans or any stuffing of choice.
Loroco is an aphrodisiac that can stimulate sexual desire.
Caution with Loroco
It is worthy to note that loroco root is poisonous and as such should be handled with care.
Where to Buy Loroco Flower!!!
DISCLAIMER This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnosis and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
1] Cáceres A. (1996), Plantas de uso Medicinal en Guatemala. Guatemala: Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Editorial Universitaria.
2] Morton J. F., Alvarez E., Quinonez C. (1990), Loroco, Fernaldia-Pandurata (Apocynaceae) - a Popular Edible Flower of Central-America. Economic Botany, 44:301-310.
3] Munsell, H. E., L. O. Williams, L. P. Guild, L. T. Kelley, A. M. McNally, and R. S. Harris. 1950a. Composition of food plants of Central America. VIII. Guatemala. Food Res. 15(6):430–453.
4] Paredes, M., Escobar, N., Marroquín, N., Mata, C., Osorio, C. and Paz, M. (2015), Identity Characteristics of Three Guatemalan Edible and Medicinal Species, International Journal of Phytocosmetics and Natural Ingredients; 2:4.
5] Quintanilla K. (2007), Establecimiento in vitro del Loroco (Fernaldia pandurata Woodson). Agronomía Mesoamericana;18 (1):75-84. doi:10.15517/ am.v18i1.5038