All That You Ever Wanted To Know About The Chameleon Plant

The chameleon plant, while native to Southeast Asia, can easily be found in various parts of the world today. Notwithstanding its rather attractive appearance, given the heart shaped leaves with a pleasant tinge of lavender to them, the plant is also a source of nuisance since it is extremely difficult to do away with.

Accordingly, one of the major objectives of this post is to guide you on ways and means to tackle the chameleon plant, against the backdrop of common queries around “Why won’t this plant die?”

At the end of the post, you will have a well-rounded perspective on houttuynia cordata chameleon, especially on the most effective ways in which you could deal with it, once it makes its appearance in your garden.

What makes the Chameleon Plant a Nuisance?

chameleon plant

The primary reason for which chameleon plant is considered quite a nuisance is because of its invasive nature such that it grows uncontrollably such that it has the unique ability to root from stems that have broken off as well as from pieces of the plant which may have fallen off.

Alongside, since you are itching to know “Why won’t this plant die?” the ideal and most effective solution for that would be to incinerate the plant after you have removed it completely – including its roots and every single rhizome that you can identify. Not only that, you might have to go through this process a few times before the plant is actually eradicated completely since remnants are still likely to be left behind, even after a thorough cleaning job.

So why are people getting the chameleon plant?

It is interesting to note that many novices in this realm actually bring the plant to their garden – or to their surroundings, on their own volition. This has a lot to do with the attractive appearance of the plant, especially its leaves, as we highlighted earlier.

For instance, the leaves have a surreal heart-shaped design. Additionally, the foliage of the plant tends to have various shades of yellow, red, and green hues which accentuate the overall attraction quotient of the plant incrementally.

The video below showcases the chameleon plant in all its full-blown glory and therefore is definitely a must watch:

Use as a Food Item

While in the previous section we hinted at the chameleon plant being a nuisance, there are some cultures where it is revered, since it is an important part of the culinary traditions there.

In this regard, houttuynia cordata chameleon finds dual usage both as a standalone leafy vegetable as well as a condiment wherein it is used to garnish a number of different items. Below we share some culinary applications of the chameleon plant which we are sure you will find quite interesting:

  • The leaves of the plant are dried and used as tea in places like Korea and Japan.
  • In the Northeastern part of India, which shares various cultural and racial commonalities with places further east such as Southeast and East Asia, you will frequently find chameleon plant being used in numerous food preparations that include:
  • As a garnish for various side dishes.
  • Being blended in with other herbs and spices to form what is called as ‘chutney’.
  • Cooked along with various meat items, especially fish.
  • Chinese cuisine perhaps witnesses maximal usage of chameleon plant leaves in a number of its cuisine, especially the Southwestern part of the country, across places like Yunnan, Sichuan, and Guizhou specially.
  •  The plant finds application as a garnish item in other cultures too, particularly Vietnam where you will find it used with dishes like banh xeo or even goi cuon quite often. 

Fishy Taste

While discussing the chameleon plant in the context of its use as a food item, there is simply no way we can miss out mentioning its rather fishy taste! So if you have always thought about something being rather fishy (in the idiomatic sense!) about houttuynia cordata chameleon, let us assure you that it is true in the literal sense too!

This is particularly the reason for which its leaves find common usage in garnishing fish based food items; doing so essentially further enhances the taste of the dish. Among Chinese preparations, be it fried rice or noodles such as mixian and migan, along with various other sauces commonly used in Southwest China, you will consistently find the plant’s fishy taste to be a driving factor for its usage.

Further, since there’s also a hint of minty taste, you can look at the chameleon plant’s leaves as having a combined fish-mint taste if you will!

Medicinal Properties

While traditional Chinese medicine has looked at houttuynia cordata chameleon as a possible treatment for various infections (such as SARS) and other diseases, till date, there is no real scientific basis on which a definitive conclusion about its veracity can be arrived at.

Purchasing the Chameleon Plant Online

In spite of the invasive characteristics of this plant, if there is any reason for which you would like to purchase this plant online, you can conveniently do over here.

We mention this especially against the backdrop of other uses of the plant, such as in food or as a medicine – as we highlighted previously.


The chameleon plant remains an invasive and largely unwanted plant for most gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts. Most folks of this ilk who have ever introduced the plant to their exterior surroundings have ended up regretting doing so.

That is the reason you will find queries along the lines of “Why won’t this plant die?” being inquired around quite frequently.

At the same time there are other uses of the plant as outlined in previous sections.

We need to keep those uses of the plant in mind before cautioning ourselves – or others, about the plant.

Is there anything else about houttuynia cordata chameleon which you would still want to know or perhaps share from your own experience or perspective? Please feel free to share in the comments section below.

Related posts:

kevin de

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments