The Wildflower Callistemon
The Callistemon Viridis or commonly known as Callistemon is a member of the Cladosporium family of plants. These are members of the Aster family that are native to the Northern hemisphere especially in Europe, Asia and North America. The plants come in several species including the common one. One more common species is called the C. coccineum or more commonly called the Coco Viridis. With that being said, both the common and the rare types of Callistemon can grow in cultivation and yield fruits.
If you are going to plant the Callistemon, you should know that it is a perennial which means that it should be planted on a regular basis. The leaves of this plant grows long and thin and they have a spiny texture to them. The flower heads look like small grapes. It has a thick grayish green leaves and it blooms during spring time. The flowers are usually white, petals having a slight yellow tint to them and a long stammering stamen.
As mentioned earlier, the name Callistemon comes from the Greek word which means leaf collector. Since the plant comes with long, thin and spiny leaves, it gathered leaves are actually edible. If you want to eat the leaves, you need to pick and dry them before eating. The flavor of this particular type of lettuce is bitter but pleasant when it comes to cooking. In fact, it is one of the most favorite culinary plants by those in the culinary industry. It comes in various forms; fresh, canned and dried.
Most people prefer the canned and dried ones because they do not contain much of the actual leaves of the plant. When picking out the Callistemon, you have to make sure that you get the best quality one because this is one of the most popular and well-known varieties of lettuce. The taste depends on how it is preserved. A good example would be a supermarket chain that offers the regular version. While it may be expensive, it guarantees a taste that is close to the original one.
The regular Callistemon tastes like the green shoots of summer. This is the most common variety, so most people prefer to use it. However, there are also some people who have a preference for using the grassy type that comes in small, leafy ones. Regardless of what kind you prefer, just remember that the taste is closer to the regular one rather than the other.
In terms of preservation, the best way to store them is to use glass jars. When picking out the Callistemon Viridis leaves, you have to look for the leaves that are smooth and clear. The best way to do that is to cut them open and then look at the middle of the leaf, which should have a gray color. That is where the taste comes from. Cut off the bottom and then look for the white part, which should be about an inch below the gray part.
When storing the plant itself, never put it in a moist place. This is because the roots will get damaged when exposed to moisture, making the taste dull. The best thing to do is put the plant into an airtight container that is made from glass. Do not put the plant on the ground either. The next time you want to pick the leaves out, carefully pull them out with your hand. If you do this, the plant will only have very tiny amounts of leaves remaining, which makes the taste even more distinct.
It takes about four months before the Callistemon Viridis leaves turn yellow. This is why you have to be patient with the plant. Once it turns yellow, it's already time for harvest. If you have a container garden, then you can simply cut the plant and remove the leaves.