|Either the plant, or the photographer was swaying at the time. It’s a very windy site.|
|Just have a look at what this is growing through|
I’m not saying you can’t make Houttuynia work in your garden, it’s a fine ground cover plant, but vigorous doesn’t even begin to describe it, and it takes quite a bit of work, to the extent that you might wish you hadn’t begun. It definitely comes into the category of beautiful-plants-to-give-to-people-you-don’t-really-like, in which group it can rub shoulders with such rampant lovelies as alstromeria, golden rod, Lysimachia puncata, and that nice variegated ground elder of which I’m actually quite fond, especially in the gardens of other people.
It’s the rhizomes that do it. They can creep for yards under the surface of the soil, migrating their way from the original planting site and pushing up through lawns and even concrete drives. (I was quite impressed when I saw the latter, thinking the plant must have self-seeded into the gravel. But upon examination, no - it was growing up through the concrete below. It’s nowhere near as beefy a plant as, for example, Japanese knotweed, which eats tarmac and roadstone for breakfast, so I imagine it had exploited a weakness in the material that it found. But hats of to it, all the same.)
It turns out, you can eat houttuynia, indeed it’s quite popular in the cuisines of China, India, and Vietnam. Both leaves and roots are used, either cooked or raw. I’ve not done it yet, but I’m sorely tempted to start to use it in place of fresh coriander stems, for example in a kind of salsa verde marinade I use for a fish curry (with ginger, garlic, tomatoes and chilli). Ask me in a few weeks how I got on. If you don’t get a reply, please send help.