Talking about Urticaceae family is always special for me. I live for more than 20 years in west java and some species from Urticacea always become one interesting topic during discussions with peoples who lived in West Java. Oreocnide rubescens is species which include in the list of edible flowers in Indonesia.
Oreocnide rubescens live in moist conditions, usually near water sources. In Indonesian local name, known as Nangsi (Sundanese), Palanggungan (Maduranese), daun jilat (Papua). This species also has some synonyms in Latin name: Oreocnide sylvatica, Urtica rubescens, Urtica sylvatica, Villebrunea integrifolia var. sylvatica, Villebrunea rubescens, Villebrunea sylvatica. But, Just called it Nangsi.
Nangsi has a height of around 2-12 meters; evergreen. Member of Urticaceae family which mostly grew dominant in forest floor till understory/shrub layer. We can found Nangsi from low till high land in the rain forest.
There are no reports or publications about Oreocnide rubescens. It probably because the usage is less well-known if we compare it to the other species. Nangsi is an edible plant in Indonesia and can be forage as food in the survival situation.
The leaves and flowers of Oreocnide rubescens are edible. Young leaves can be eaten fresh or steamed as vegetables. The flower in small size is also included in the List one of the edible flowers in Indonesia The fruits are white and juicy and the taste is a bit sweet and crunchy. Some participants from my food foraging sharing session, mention that the taste is similar to a pear.
Bigger and watery fruits found in the highland rain forests (more than 1000 masl). Ochse and Bakhuizen publishing Indische Groenten (vegetable of Indonesia) in 1931. The book is the first literature that mentions that Nangsi is edible. West java peoples use the young leaves as vegetables.
Local peoples in Sumatra, Java, and Papua were used Nangsi as medicinal plants. It also used for fever, inflammation, and urinary problem. The liquid from the stem is drunk to treat people with urinary problems or can be used to ease inflammation in the eyes.
Some studies reported they found anti-bacterial activities compound from their study using samples from Papua. People in some areas of central Java also use Nangsi as a natural fence. They also use the bast fiber for rope, fishing lines, nets, and sackcloth.
always love to learn from nature. Passionate on studying plants in some aspects: the DNA, Identification, propagation, and their uses