The Chinese Water Chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis ) is a member of the sedge family (Cyperaceae) and should not be confused with the unrelated Water Chestnut (Trapa natans), which is a member of the family Lythraceae (and was formerly placed in the Trapaceae) (Graham et al. 2005). Chinese Water Chestnuts are cultivated in China, Taiwan, and Thailand in shallow marshes, lakes, and flooded fields. The edible "nut" is actually a tuber or corm which produces tubular leaves 1 to 2 m in height. New corms are formed at the ends of horizontal rhizomes. The corm contains 1.4% protein, 0.2% fat, and around 5.6% each of starch and sugars (sucrose, glucose, and fructose). The corms also contain vitamins B, C, and E, as well as phosphorus and potassium. Chinese Water Chestnuts are used in a wide range of stit-fried dishes, soups, dumplings, salads, and even desserts (including Water Chestnut cake) in Chinese and other Southeast Asian cuisines. The white corms have a slightly sweet flavor and a distinctive, crisp texture. They are exported fresh and canned from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan to the United States and Europe.
(Vaughan and Geissler 1997)
- Graham, S.A., J. Hall, K. Sytsma, and S. Shi. 2005. Phylogenetic analysis of the Lythraceae based on four gene regions and morphology. International Journal of Plant Sciences 166(6): 995-1017.
- Vaughan, J.G. and C.A. Geissler. 1997. The New Oxford Book of Food Plants (revised and updated edition). Oxford University Press, New York.
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