Annual growing to 1m. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil. Requires a well-drained porous soil in a warm sheltered position.
Young fruits, harvested whilst still tender enough to be pierced with a fork, can be sliced and added to soups as a thickening agent.An edible oil is obtained from the seed. Due to the unusual shape of the pods, and the pretty, orchid-like, pink or lavender flowers, the plants are grown as ornamentals and for floral arrangements, as well as for pickling.
Some people call these plants nasty because the leaves and stems are covered with a resinous slime.