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Exotic Fruits and Vegetables of Oaxaca and Mexico, II

Page 2 of 5 pages, page 1, page 3, page 4 and page 5 (Chiles)



Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides) is called epazotl in Nahuatl and sometimes in English as "Mexican tea." Epazote is native to the Americas. It is used to flavor a wide variety of Mexican foods, most notably in black beans. Epazote is also used to cure stomach parasites. Click here for a larger image of epazote.

Fava Beans

Fava bean (Canavalia ensiformis) is called haba in Spanish. In Mexico fava soup, sopa de habas, is a popular dish as well as roasted favas flavored with salt and chili powder is a popular snack. For a larger image of fava beans click here. For a larger image of roasted fava beans click here.

Flor de Calabaza

Flor de Calabaza

Flor de calabaza is squash flower. Flor de calabaza is usually served in quesadillas (roasted or fried tortillas stuffed with cheese) and in soups. For a larger image of flor de calabaza click here.

Flor de Chepil, see Chepil

Flor de Cuateco

Flor de Cuateco

Flor de Cuateco, I believe comes from the flowering part of a uncommon type of palm tree. It can roasted or boiled. The one pictured is roasted. They have a sour or bitter taste to them and have the texture of guacamole. They are sold while still in their husk, the husk is like a corn husk and needs to be removed before eating. Four flores de cuatecos will cost you 10 pesos or U.S. 50 cents (Jan 2018). For a larger image of flor de cuateco click here.

Flor de Maguey

Flor de Maguey

Flor de maguey is maguey flower in English. Flor de maguey is usually served in quesadillas (roasted or fried tortillas stuffed with cheese) and in soups. For a larger image of Flor de maguey click here.

Fruta del Dragón, see Dragon Fruit

Fruta Estrella, see Carambola

Fumaria, see Hierba de Conejo

Granada, see Pomegranate

Green beans

ejote morada

There are over 130 varieties of green beans. The common variety that you can can find in the U.S. is available throughout Mexico as well some less common varieties such as this one known as Ejote Morada or purple Green Beans. These beans have a fiberous string running through them, they need to be cut into bite size pieces before cooking and they might take a litlle more time to cook. For a larger image of ejote morada click here.

Green tomatoes, see Tomatillos

Granada China

Granada China

Granada china or Granada originates from South America. Granada china has a peel like an orange and has a citric flavor. The gelatin pulp and seeds are to be be eaten. This is a favorite fruit of mine. For a larger image of granada china click here.

Guaje, see Huaje



Guanábana or guanábano, both are correct in Spanish, (Annona muricata) is guanabana or soursop in English. Guanábana originates from Central and South America and now grows in tropical areas worldwide. The ripe fruit has a texture of a banana and has a slightly acidic taste to it. Guanábana is usually served as a fruit drink, smoothie or in ice cream. For a larger image of guanábano click here.

I have a guanábana tree growing in my backyard. Usually a possum will eat the fruit of my guanábana tree before I get it.

Guaya, see Spanish Lime


Guayaba (Psidium guajava) or guava in English. The photos below show two varieties, the yellow variety is by far the most common. I cut up and throw six of these six of these sweet fruit into a blender with a bit of honey for a great fruit drink. For a larger image of the yellow guayaba click here. For a larger image of the pink guayaba click here.

Hierba Buena

Hierba Buena

Hierba buena, also known as yerba buena. The specific plant species regarded as hierba buena varies from region to region. The mint flavored plant is used in cooking and is said to have medicinal properties. For a larger image of hierba buena click here.

Hierba de Conejo

Hierba de Conejo

Hierba de conejo also known as fumaria and sangre de cristo grows in Oaxaca, especially during rainy season. It is used as a spice with beans. Hierba de conejo also has some medical uses including a diuretic and a laxative. For a larger image of hierba de conejo click here.

Hierba Mora

Hierba Mora

Hierba mora (Solanum nigrescens) is known as "divine nightshade" in English.[hierbamora1] Hierba mora is native to North and South America. Hierba mora is often used in soups. I cook it like spinach and add some balsamic vinegar. Click here for a larger image of hierba mora.

Hierba Santa

Hierba santa, sometimes called yerba santa or hoja santa in Spanish is native to Mexico. The heart shaped leaf of hierba santa is used in Mexican cooking, especially in green mole, tamales and in soups. It is also used as a wrapper for some Oaxacan cheeses. For a larger image of the hierba santa plant click here and for a larger image of the hierba santa leaf click here.



Higuerilla (Ricinus communis) also known as palmacristi, higuera del diablo and ricino in Spanish; and castor bean in English. The castor bean probably originates from tropical Africa and was introduced into the Americas during the colonial era. The plant can be seen growing along fence lines, along highways and abandoned lots; sometimes reaching heights of 10 meters. The seeds of the castor bean plant are used to make castor oil. The seeds of the plant are toxic and should be kept away from children. For a larger image of higuerilla click here.

The castor seed contains ricin, a toxic enzyme.


Huaje (Leucaena leucocephala), sometimes spelled as guaje, is a very common tree in Oaxaca. Oaxaca's name is derived from huaje. Huaje is native to Mexico and Central America.

The first image is of huaje pods hanging from a huaje tree. Large image of huaje pods. Hueje pods are opened just like pea pods and the seeds are removed. The next image is of raw huaje seeds. Large image of huaje seeds. Raw huaje seeds taste like peas, roasted ones taste like pine nuts. Salted huaje seeds are eaten as a snack. Huaje seeds can also be ground and used in sauces such as moles. The seedless leftover pods are thrown away.

Huaya, see Spanish Lime


Huauzontle (Chenopodium nuttalliae) is also known as cabellera de amaranto is native to Mexico. It is commonly consumed in central Mexico. I have eaten it slightly battered and fried in corn flour topped with a tomato sauce and in fried tortillas. For a larger image of huauzontle click here. For a larger image of huauzontle closeup click here.



Huitlacoche, sometimes spelled as cuitlacoche or in English, corn smut or smut of maize, is a fungus (Ustilago maydis) derived from the corn ear or maize ear.[huitlacoche1] In Mexico huitlacoche is considered a delicacy. For a larger image of huitlacoche click here.

(Ustilago maydis) infects the whole maize plant causing stunted growth and low yields. In the maize (corn) ears, (Ustilago maydis) grows between the kernels causing galls, gray to black growths that look like tumors. This is huitlacoche. Huitlacoche may not be pretty but its earthy taste gets it compared to truffles; huitlacoche is sometimes referred to as the "Mexican truffle."

Huitlacoche is usually prepared with onion, garlic, epazote, salt and chiles. Huitlacoche is used as filling in tacos, quesadillas and in omelettes. And it is also used in soups. If you have never eaten huitlacoche, I recommend trying it in an omelette so that you can taste the rich flavors. The best huitlacoche I have ever had was at a subway station in Mexico City, a deep fried quesadilla with huitlacoche, spinach and cheese. Although huitlacoche is compared to truffles, it is not expensive and is affordable even to those of low incomes.

I have bought prepared canned huitlacoche a few times; it is not usually available where I live. It was a bit salty but tasted fine and I would buy more of it if it were available.



Icaco (Chrysobalanus icaco) is native to North and South America. Icacos are slightly sweet with little flavor. Don't eat the seed. For a larger image of icacos click here.

Jalapeños, see Chiles


Jamaica plant

Jamaica or Flor de jamaica is called hibiscus in English. The flowers of jamaica are made into a tea which is served cold and sweetened. Sometimes jamaica is made into a jam, which tastes like cranberries. Many believe that jamaica has medicinal powers which include treating urinary infections. In Mexico there are at least two varieties jamaica, a dark red variety and a red variety; I have tried both and I find there is no difference in flavor. For a larger image of jamaica plant click here. For a larger image of jamaica negra click here. For a larger image of jamaica roja click here.



Jícama is known as jicama or Mexican turnip in English. Jícama originates from Mexico. Jícama can be eaten raw or cooked but the peel needs to be removed first. Usually they are cut up into the size of carrot sticks and eaten raw with hot sauce. They can also be fried like french fries, I tried this once and they were o.k. but I never bothered to make them again. For a larger image of jícama click here.



Jinicuil is also known as cajiniquil and cuajinicuil is native to Central and South America. The pods are about a foot long (30 cm). The white cotton like pulp surrounds the seed. The sweet tasting pulp is edible, the seed is not. For a larger image of jiniquil click here.

Jitomate, see Tomato

Jocote, see Plum

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Footnotes and Notes

  1. Hierbamora1. Solanaceae; Solanum nigrescens Mart. & Gal.. Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad. Spanish. Retrieved April 2018.
  2. Huitlacoche1. Maize is the British English equivalent to corn. In British English, corn refers to any cereal crop, such as barley, rye, wheat or maize. The term "maize" is preferred in formal, scientific, and international usage because it refers specifically to one type of grain.
  3. Jamiaca. Mexican Scientists Develop Antiseptic From Hibiscus Flower. El Universal. Retrieved 22 April 2018.

Photo Credits

Photos taken by Marc Wilkinson. I, the copyright holder, hereby publish these photos under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0).