10 Mar2008


by Marketman


This vegetable, no, actually it is apparently an HERB, fascinated me from the moment I spotted a bunch of leaves in the Legazpi market. They reminded me of rigid hearts of romaine lettuce and the local name, lubi-lubi (Solanum Nigrum Linn. Ficus pseudopalma) was rather memorable. So throughout the three-day stay around Legazpi I kept asking to see examples of the plant, and photographed it, and what you have here is probably the most comprehensive set of photos of lubi-lubi on the net… A very common herb that grows throughout the Philippines, the new leaves are edible, as are the fruit or seeds. Click on this link, for more comprehensive scientific descriptions of the plant as well as other common names in the Philippines and elsewhere in the globe and the nutritional value of its edible parts. The first photo above is a picture of the plant from overhead… it looks like some typical garden ornamental, if you ask me…


The mature leaves are kinda hard and thick, and I would never have guessed it would be classified as an herb (banana trees are humongous herbs, as well).


The fruit are kinda knobbly, gnarly balls, somewhat reminiscent of small coconuts, also known as lubi. So I am guessing that the name in Bicol or parts of the Visayas, lubi-lubi, is a reference to the teeny tiny coconut looking fruit.


It is the new sprouts or leaves that are tender enough to cook in a similar manner to other leafy greens, spinach, pechay, etc. They have a wonderful color and the patterns on the leaves are simply striking…


A common dish in and around Legazpi would be lubi-lubi sliced up, with bataw, malunggay and coconut milk, a vegetable stew of sorts… Geez, talk about nutritious and vitamin packed dishes!


Lubi-lubi in bundles for sale at the market.


Here cooked with dried fish and coconut milk with some siling labuyo. It tasted interesting, but after all these photos and attention, actually, I wasn’t too fond of it. Kinda tough and leafy. Maybe it’s an acquired taste and I need a few more exposures to this Bicolano staple…



  1. Homebuddy says:

    As usual beautiful photos! I know I’ve seen this somewhere but can’t figure out where. I’ll try to find some and inquire, maybe its just considered weeds here or it could be a very nice houseplant.
    MM, about publishing your posts, that is a good idea, will surely buy one. I would like to compliment you again, you write very well that’s why we keep coming back to your site, in fact I keep on sending your posts to relatives and friends because it is truly interesting and informative.

    Mar 10, 2008 | 11:38 am


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  3. kasseopeia says:

    Lubi-lubi? All I know about it is that it’s a part of a traditional Tagalog children’s song. Haha, well, here in marketmanila.com, I learn something new everyday!

    Mar 10, 2008 | 12:13 pm

  4. Mila says:

    The cooked dish looks like laing, without the gabi leaves. Isn’t nightshade a dangerous herb? I see it mentioned in mystery novels as a potent herb if you want to kill someone.

    Mar 10, 2008 | 1:43 pm

  5. bernadette says:

    My sister once sighed and complained to me that we don’t really know where vegetables and fruits come from. The usual response will be—from the supermarket! :-) Your very enlightening posts on our local veggies and herbs are very, very appreciated! I usually forward them to my sis too! Thank you so much!

    Mar 10, 2008 | 5:02 pm

  6. elaine says:

    As usual, first time I’ve heard of this plant/ or herb..the dish up top doesn’t look appetizing for me and I would’ve imagined the same taste as you described it, I suppose only the leaves are edible?… Would make a nice ornament indoors, though.

    Mar 10, 2008 | 8:09 pm

  7. enna says:

    Sarap nmn! My mom tried to cook this once and it was good. Not great but good.. Kaso mahirap mghanap ng lubi lubi. Ung lubi lubi na un dala pa ng kamag anak nmn sa galing Sorsogon. Hay kamis nmn..

    Mar 10, 2008 | 8:11 pm

  8. Apio says:

    The combination with bataw and malunggay sounds quite invigorating although belonging to the nightshade family would make me approach it with trepidation.

    Mar 10, 2008 | 9:25 pm

  9. corrine says:

    so that’s lubi-lubi? My neighbor has this plant and I find it beautiful! I would think the leaves would be tough.

    Mar 10, 2008 | 10:19 pm

  10. Maria Clara says:

    No benefit of a doubt has lots of fiber to cleanse the GI tract!

    Mar 11, 2008 | 1:18 am

  11. alilay says:

    ito ba yung lubi lubi sa end ng kantang bahay kubo ….

    Mar 11, 2008 | 1:09 pm

  12. Marketman says:

    alilay, as far as I can tell, there is no lubi-lubi in the song bahay kubo, click here for lyrics… but I did learn that linga is sesame, and I never knew that. :)

    Mar 11, 2008 | 2:53 pm

  13. millet says:

    “lubi-lubi” is at the end of the “Enero, Pebrero…after “Disyembre”.

    Mar 18, 2008 | 5:06 pm

  14. ren814 says:

    thanks for the info!! we’re doing research work on the plant and this really helped us!!

    Jul 2, 2008 | 5:49 pm

  15. vic says:

    I am a Filipino Eating Grass. Of all Green leafy vegies Lubi Lubi is always my 1st choice

    Jul 19, 2008 | 8:12 pm

  16. magi says:

    lubi-lubi reminds the taga-rinconada of home. who says it is toxic, i had lived with it since childhood. it is, in fact, reputed to be of medicinal value in relieving hypertension and lowering blood sugar. i know tang jess of inapatan nabua eats the young leaves raw; he’s in mid80s and still tending his bio-intensive farm. our family could not feel a complete vacation without gulay na libi-libi (in iriga), with its unique aroma.

    Sep 30, 2008 | 7:42 pm

  17. Mon says:

    There are photos of lubilubi and the cooked gulay in this link:



    Nov 22, 2008 | 9:13 am

  18. Mon says:

    By the way, we added a link to this page on the webpage of www/arkibongbayan.org where lubilubi is featured.


    Nov 22, 2008 | 9:21 am

  19. hanzel butantan says:

    lami jud ang lubilubi dire oi….trihedron

    Dec 16, 2008 | 7:06 pm

  20. anna says:

    how abundant is this plant in Legazpi City? I contacted someone there and was told it is now hard to find. How true is this?

    Dec 27, 2008 | 11:40 am

  21. ruth san luis says:

    I first heard of Lubilubi at the mall in Cainta, where I had my sugar level checked due to the food I ate during the holidays. My sugar level has gone up and I have to do something to keep it in its normal level. A lady who saw the result of my bsugar level advised me to take a cup of lubilubi extracr juice. I appreciated it very much. But she forgot to tell me how the plant looks and where to find it. I went to my sister whose husband is a Bicolano. However, he doesn’t know also how it looks for he grew up in Manila.When I was about to leave my sister’s place, my head turned left of the side of the gate and saw a plant with long bladed leaves with dark green shiny shade and light yellow linings in the middle and it has rick-rack like sides. I guessed maybe this is lubi-lubi. I asked my sister if I can have two pieces of leaves and she allowed me to pick two. Then I asked a friend to ask Bicolanos in their area if the leaves that I got are from a lubi-lubi plant. Three of them were positive it is the right plant. Then in the evening I thought of checking Google search in my laptap if my guess was right.Thanks God my guess was right for I had boiled one leaf and have taken a cup of it. Now I am confident that my sugar level will be reduced.Thanks to Google. Thanks to Lubi-lubi.Thanks to my sister. Thanks to my Spirit Guide – God the Father above all. R.S.L.

    Jan 15, 2009 | 9:43 pm

  22. romer says:

    Take it from me I grew up eating this vegetable almost everyday and loved it (coz I grew up poor & this is abundant in the forest), libi-libi (Iriga) is delicious alright & very good 4 diabetics. One good recipe for it is to combine with langka (green jackfruit) & tabios (pandaca pygmy – smallest fish in the world only found in Buhi or Bato lake) with lots of sili (labuyo), then cook with coconut milk…Yummy Yummm Yummmm Yummmm…you’ll forget who your wife is when you taste this excellent recipe…hahaha

    Mar 13, 2009 | 11:24 am

  23. abai says:

    Thanks for featuring this plant, lubi-lubi. In Bicol, we also call it niyog-niyog (as the fruits look like small cluster of coconut fruits. It used to be found in forested areas, but now many folks have included this to be planted in their home gardens. It is a good for landscaping. It’s true this vegetable is very delicious. Usually it’s coooked with fresh or dried fish and a lot of gata (coconut cream). In Bikol, we say, “Masiramon!!!” :>)

    May 12, 2009 | 10:13 pm

  24. Manay says:

    I grew up in, Milagrosa barrio of Catilla province of Sorsogon, where this “tree like” lubi-lubi is abundant in “ka-ingin”, my mom would cook this with different leafy vegetables in “gata” with pork meat or shrimp spiced up with siling labuyo. VERY TASTY!!!

    Jul 28, 2009 | 1:17 pm

  25. hanzel butantan says:

    very nice jud na lubilubi mao na aku project dayon ku graduate…hopely pasar due to my research…19trihedron76

    Nov 4, 2009 | 8:04 pm

  26. sally says:

    Just got a plant and it is fruiting now. What about the fruits? Is it edible? How do I prepare the fruit?

    How tall willthe tree grow? Do I cut the leader branch so that the tree will branch out?

    Dec 6, 2009 | 7:05 pm

  27. JC says:

    Do you know where to find lubi lubi in metro manila? thanks.

    Dec 9, 2009 | 7:09 pm

  28. Marketman says:

    JC, I don’t think I have noticed lubi-lubi for sale in Manila markets, but it might be available at the Saturday FTI market, look for the vendors with goods from the Bicol region… sally, I have never eaten the fruit.

    Dec 10, 2009 | 4:26 am


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