Quillquiña (Bolivian Coriander)
Quillquiña is a lesser known variety of Papalo that is more widely grown in the Andes - particularly in Bolivia and Peru. Unlike the larger and greener Mexican Papalo, they have thinner, purpler leaves, and they flower much earlier. It is interesting how the two herbs I’ve met from this region - Huacatay and Quillquiña - are both intensely fragrant, providing strength and character to the garden and the salsa. Satchels of our Quillquiña seeds were given to me (and Katherine Chiu!) by a nice guy named Joe Hiscott at a seed swap this winter in upstate NY after he heard us talk about our community seed stewardship (see last photo). We grew it by the Andean Lupine (Chochos) and Ecuadorian Peanuts lovingly tended by our apprentice Julia Aguilar.
Also known as Bolivian coriander, this cilantro-like herb from South America traveled to Mexico thousands of years before the unrelated cilantro/coriander came from the Middle East and the Mediterranean. People have also said it tastes like arugula, rue, and citrus. The flavor bursts in your mouth, and even brushing past the plant can fill the air with essential oils. See the neatly arranged holes on the underside of the leaf in the last plant photo? Those aromatic oil glands keep away chewing insects, and give the leaf a powerful punch for us humans.
Known as: Bolivian coriander, quillquiña (also spelled quirquiña or quilquiña), yerba porosa, killi, pápalo, tepegua, mampuritu, and pápaloquelite.
Days to maturity: 70-80 days
Seeds per pack: About 40
Germination rate: 86% on 03/26/2021
Planting / harvesting notes
Start seeds indoors, barely covered with soil, and heated from the bottom, if possible. Transplant when seedlings are at least 3-4" tall at 12-18" apart. Plants grow up to 5'-tall. Alternatively, direct seed about 1/4" deep 1-3" apart, and thin to 12-18" apart. Harvest individual leaves or sprigs when plant is at least 6-12" tall.
Seed keeping notes
Allow flowers to completely dry out until they fluff like dandelions. Check the seed maturity under the fluff. When the seed pod has opened fully (even further than as seen in our second to final photo) 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.