Food Garden

Toothache Plant Peek-A-Boo Spilanthes Oleracea Numbs Your Mouth When Eaten; A Perfect Cocktail Plant

Sometimes called Toothache Plant, sometimes called Eye Ball Plant, Peek-A-Boo Spilanthes Oleracea is a very unique edible addition to your garden. Named after its unique ability to numb your mouth when chilled, I found it a creative addition to summer salads and martinis.

Peek-A-Boo causes a tingling feeling from the constituent Spilanthol. It has a local anesthetic effect which is numbing, much like the effect of Novacain used at a doctors office. Below you see the face of my friend after he tried chewing one of the eyeball buds of the flowers. He also cursed repeatedly and jumped up and down.


First, if you chew an entire flowerhead, your mouth feels warm. Next your mouth gets all shocked from acidity, kind of like the effect of when you eat Sour Warheads Candy. Then you start drooling. Finally your mouth loses all sensation for about five minutes. Craziest thing edible I have ever experienced coming out of my garden. And perfect for conversation over martini’s.

Peek-A-Boo grows best in full sun, likes a well drained soil, and plenty of water. This plant is only perennial in zones 10 or 11, so it is best to treat it as an annual and protect it during frosts.

Want a fun and creative addition to summer salads and martini’s which will be a conversation maker? Put Peek-A-Boo Spilanthes Oleracea in your garden this season. Whether you call it Toothache Plant, Eye Ball Plant, or just plain crazy, this is going to be an adventure to grow.

Special Note – Because the FTC requires it, I am letting you know that Ball Horticultural supplied the annual plants grown in this garden. I  write many instructional stories and videos with their  flower and vegetable products and donate a large portion of the vegetables I grow to the local food pantry when harvested.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Wipigler
    May 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    awesome and educational. thank u!

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    May 15, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Thanks – a different story on a totally fun and different plant. 🙂

    Shawna

  • Reply
    BigAus in TX
    May 16, 2012 at 12:05 am

    That is so bizarre. Two days ago I was chewing on Zanthoxylum clava-herculis (Tooth Ache TREE) with several of my friends. It's also called Hercules' Club.

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    May 16, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Not a dull moment in my garden Aus. 🙂

    Shawna

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