Chameleon Plant, Houttuynia cordata

Houttuynia cordata is a flowering plant species. The species may also be commonly referred to as the Lizard Tail, Chameleon Plant, Heartleaf, Fishwort and Bishop’s Weed. H. cordata is only one of two species in its genus and it belongs to the Saururaceae family. The species is indigenous to Japan, Korea, southern China and southwest Asia. Often the plant grows in moist, soils and may even be submerged in water. It prefers partial to full sunlight.

Houttuynia cordata plants commonly grow between 8 and 31.5 inches. Its leaves are wide and appear heart-shaped. Leaves grow alternate and typically reach between 1.5 and 3.5 inches in length and between 1.2 and 3.2 inches in width. The summer months bring green/yellow flowers into bloom. Flowers sprout to a terminal spike reaching about one inch in length.

The plant may sometimes be used for culinary purposes; it is said to have a fishy-mint, unusual taste. Vietnamese and Indian dishes use the leaf vegetable as a garnish. Chinese provinces have used the plant as a root vegetable. H. cordata also has been used in herbal medicines for its antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Image Caption: Chameleon Plant (Houttuynia cordata). Credit: HelloMojo/Wikipedia (public domain)