Cosmos caudatus

Cosmos caudatus is an annual plant in the genus Cosmos, bearing purple, pink, or white ray florets. It is native to Latin America (from Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil to Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico),[3] and the West Indies, though naturalized in tropical parts of Asia, Africa, and Australia.[4][5][6][7][8][9]

King's salad
Wild Cosmos (3013580358).jpg
Wild Cosmos caudatus
Scientific classification
C. caudatus
Binomial name
Cosmos caudatus
Cosmos caudatus illustration[2]


The species grows up to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in height. The leaves are soft and pungent while the stem is light green with a purplish hue and succulent. As night falls the leaves fold to close the terminal buds as the plant literally sleeps. The flowers can be found solitary or in a loose clusters and are produced on a single stalk on auxiliary heads.[10]


C. caudatus is edible and its common names include kenikir (Indonesia) or ulam raja ("the King's salad" in Malaysia).[11] In Indonesian cuisine and Malay cuisine the leaves of this plant are used for salad. In Brunei, it was usually served with sambal (chilli paste) together with the local cuisine, ambuyat. It was brought by the Spaniards from Latin America, via the Philippines, to the rest of Southeast Asia.[11] Ulam, a Malay word used to describe a preparation that combines food, medicine, and beauty, is a widely popular Malay herbal salad that is served throughout the country from major hotels for tourists to buffet lunches or dinners for the locals.


  1. ^ Flann, C (ed) 2009+ Global Compositae Checklist Archived 2014-11-15 at
  2. ^ illustration circa 1880 from Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A.) - Flora de Filipinas [...] Gran edicion
  3. ^ Melchert, Thomas E. 1990. Phytologia 69(3): 200-215 description, discussion, photographs, line drawings, distribution map
  4. ^ Funk, V. A., P. E. Berry, S. Alexander, T. H. Hollowell & C. L. Kelloff. 2007. Checklist of the Plants of the Guiana Shield (Venezuela: Amazonas, Bolivar, Delta Amacuro; Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana). Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 55: 1–584
  5. ^ Jørgensen, P. M. & S. León-Yánez. (eds.) 1999. Cat. Vasc. Pl. Ecuador. Monographs in systematic botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 75: i–viii, 1–1181
  6. ^ Humbert, H. 1923. Les Composées de Madagascar. Mémoires de la Société Linnéenne de Normandie 25: 1–335.
  7. ^ Sousa Sánchez, M. & E. F. Cabrera Cano. 1983. Flora de Quintana Roo. Listados Florísticos de México 2: 1–100
  8. ^ López Vargas, A. 1995. Estudio de Vegetación de las Partes Sud y Sudoeste de las Provincias Mizque y Campero --- Cochabamba i–vi, 1–152. Tesis Universidad Mayor de San Simón, Cochabamba
  9. ^ Foster, R. C. 1958. A catalogue of the ferns and flowering plants of Bolivia. Contributions from the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University 184: 1–223
  10. ^ Hassan, Dr. W. E. (2006). Healing Herbs of Malaysia Kuala Lumpur: Federal Land Development Agency. ISBN 978-983-99544-2-5
  11. ^ a b Bodeker, G. (2009). Health and Beauty from the Rainforest: Malaysian Traditions of Ramuan. Kuala Lumpur: Didier Millet. ISBN 978-981-4217-91-0