Ulam Raja (Kings Salad)
Ulam Raja (Malaysia) or Kenikir (Indonesia) is a cosmos species grown for its flavorful, pungent, and nutritious edible leaf in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and beyond. It is native to the Caribbean, Central America, and parts of North and South America.
According to "A Comprehensive Review on Cosmos caudatus (Ulam Raja): Pharmacology, Ethnopharmacology, and Phytochemistry," Spaniards took this plant to Asia via the Philippines as a vegetable during the long sea voyage. While it is mainly grown as an ornamental in Europe, it has become an important culinary and medicinal plant in parts of Asia.
Some of its local names in its native range are as follows: chactsul, estrella del mar (Yucatán); combray, combray rojo, mozote-doradilla (Honduras and El Salvador); and flor de muerto (Costa Rica).
Also known as King's Salad.
Days to maturity: 45-60
Seeds per pack: 50-75
Germination rate: 96% on 02/07/2023
Planting / harvesting notes
Sow seeds at the surface of the soil or only lightly covered as these seeds need some light to germinate. Either start indoors a few weeks before last frost, or sow directly in the garden and thin to 18" apart. Plant in full or partial sun. Ulam Raja prefers fertile, moist, well-drained soil and will readily reseed year after year. The plants can reach as tall as 10' and 2-3' wide. Harvest the young leaves before flowering.
Seed keeping notes
Allow seeds to completely dry out until their stem is brown. When the seed pod has opened fully and it is very easy to pull out the seeds, they are ready for harvest. Harvest the seeds and allow them to dry further in a well-ventilated place away from direct sunlight.