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Also called Papaloquelite porophyllum ruderale or macrocephalum. An herb, similar to cilantro used in Mexican cooking.

Article by: Barbara Bowman

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About Papalo

Papalo also called Papaloquelite porophyllum ruderale or macrocephalum. An herb, similar to cilantro used in Mexican cooking. The name comes from the word papalotl, Nahuatl for butterfly. In Spanish the plant is referred to as mampuitu which translates to skunk. It is typically used raw to flavor tacos filled with guacamole or carnitas (pork). It is also used in a Puebla specialty using a semita roll and stuffed with meat avocado tomatoes and sometimes chiles.

Like cilantro the herb is quite pungent and is an acquired taste.

Where To Find

Papalo grows wild in Mexico. It is also cultivated. The herb must be used fresh as it does not dry well. The herb grows wild in Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas but is not typically used by the locals. In the U.S. look for papalo in Mexican markets.

While some suggest substituting cilantro for papalo, Diana Kennedy considers there to be no substitute.

Growing Papalo

Papaloquelite can be grown from seed and requires good drainage and full sun. As with most herbs plant after danger of frost has passed. Space plants about 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart. The plant grows quite tall, up to six feet and bears purple to bronze starburst flowers. The plant can take some shade but best in full sun

Medicinal Uses

The plant is sometimes used in parts of Bolivia for liver ailments as well as high blood pressure.

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Papalo Recipes

Papalo Salsa

2 roasted and deseeded chopped chili peppers
2 roasted and deseeded green peppers, chopped
3 small green tomatoes, chopped
4 roasted garlic cloves
6 papalo leaves
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 spoonfuls of minced onion

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and let sit in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Buy Seeds

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From My Mexican Kitchen, Diana Kennedy
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