Morning Glory (sometimes called water spinach in English) is a semi-aquatic tropical plant that grows in many tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. The plant is generally cultivated as a vegetable for its leaves and stems. The plant is a perennial that grows rapidly and easily in appropriate climates making it an ideal ‘go-to’ vegetable in many parts of the world, especially Southeast Asia. (In fact, Morning Glory grows so well that in some parts of the world it’s classified as an invasive species).
When Can I Pick It?
Morning Glory is fast growing perennial so it’s available throughout the year. Usually people cut the stems and leaves when preparing to eat it.
What To Watch Out For
Because Morning Glory is semi-aquatic plant you should be cautious about eating it raw, especially if it has been grown/picked from water that could be contaminated with animal faeces. Morning Glory that has been contaminated with animal faeces has been known to transmit an intestinal parasite that can make humans ill. BUT, if you cook it thoroughly you should have no problems.
In Khmer culture Morning Glory, or tra kuen, is stir-fried and incorporated into numerous meals, either as a stand-alone dish or incorporated into soups and stews. Here’s a recipe for a vegetable stir-fry dish that incorporates Morning Glory: https://www.vagabondtemple.com/stir-fried-morning-glory/
Here’s a link to the Wikipedia page on Morning Glory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipomoea_aquatica