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close this bookTraditional Food Plants of Kenya (National Museum of Kenya, 1999, 288 p.)
close this folderSpecies accounts
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcacia drepanolobium Sjöstedt
View the documentAcacia hockii De Wild.
View the documentAcacia nilotica (L.) Del.
View the documentAcacia senegal (L.) Willd.
View the documentAcacia seyal Del.
View the documentAcacia tortilis (Forssk.) Hayne
View the documentAcokanthera schimperi (A. DC.) Schweinf.
View the documentAdansonia digitata L.
View the documentAerva lanata (L.) Schultes
View the documentAlbizia amara (Roxb.) Boivin
View the documentAmaranthus blitum L.*
View the documentAmaranthus dubius Mart. ex Thell.*
View the documentAmaranthus graecizans L.
View the documentAmaranthus hybridus L.*
View the documentAmaranthus sparganiocephalus Thell.
View the documentAmaranthus spinosus L.*
View the documentAnnona senegalensis Pers. ssp. senegalensis
View the documentAntidesma venosum Tul.
View the documentAsystasia gangetica (L.) T. Anders.
View the documentAsystasia mysorensis (Roth) T. Anders.
View the documentAzanza garckeana (F. Hoffm.) Exell & Hillcoat
View the documentBalanites aegyptiaca (L.) Del.
View the documentBalanites pedicellaris Mildbr. & Schlecht.
View the documentBalanites rotundifolia (Van Tiegh.) Blatter
View the documentBasella alba L.
View the documentBerchemia discolor (Klotzsch) Hemsley
View the documentBorassus aethiopum Mart.
View the documentBoscia coriacea Pax
View the documentBoswellia neglecta S. Moore
View the documentBrassica carinata A. Br.
View the documentBridelia taitensis Vatke & Pax
View the documentCajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.
View the documentCanthium glaucum Hiern
View the documentCanthium lactescens Hiern
View the documentCarissa edulis (Forssk.) Vahl
View the documentCatha edulis Forssk.
View the documentCitrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Mansf.
View the documentCleome gynandra L.
View the documentCoccinia grandis (L.) Voigt
View the documentCoffea arabica L.
View the documentCommelina africana L.
View the documentCommelina benghalensis L.
View the documentCommelina forskaolii Vahl
View the documentCommiphora africana (A. Rich.) Engl.
View the documentCommiphora rostrata Engl.
View the documentCommiphora schimperi (O. Berg) Engl.
View the documentCorchorus olitorius L.
View the documentCorchorus trilocularis L.
View the documentCordia monoica Roxb.
View the documentCordia sinensis Lam.
View the documentCrotalaria brevidens Benth.
View the documentCrotalaria ochroleuca G. Don
View the documentCucumis dipsaceus Spach
View the documentCyperus blysmoides C. B. Cl.
View the documentCyphia glandulifera A. Rich.
View the documentDactyloctenium aegyptium (L.) Willd.
View the documentDactyloctenium giganteum Fischer & Schweick.
View the documentDialium holtzii Harms
View the documentDialium orientale Bak. f.
View the documentDigera muricata (L.) Mart.
View the documentDioscorea bulbifera L.
View the documentDioscorea dumetorum (Kunth) Pax
View the documentDioscorea minutiflora Engl.
View the documentDiospyros mespiliformis A. DC.
View the documentDobera glabra (Forssk.) Poir.
View the documentDovyalis abyssinica (A. Rich.) Warb.
View the documentDovyalis macrocalyx (Oliver) Warb.
View the documentEleusine coracana Gaertn.
View the documentEragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter
View the documentEriosema shirense Bak. f.
View the documentErucastrum arabicum Fisch. & Meyer
View the documentEuclea divinorum Hiern
View the documentFicus sycomorus L.
View the documentFicus thonningii Bl.
View the documentFlacourtia indica (Burm. f.) Merr.
View the documentFlueggea virosa (Willd.) J. Voigt
View the documentGarcinia livingstonei T. Anderson
View the documentGrewia bicolor Juss.
View the documentGrewia tembensis Fres.
View the documentGrewia tenax (Forssk.) Fiori
View the documentGrewia villosa Willd.
View the documentHoslundia opposita Vahl
View the documentHydnora abyssinica Schweinf.
View the documentHyphaene compressa H. Wendl.
View the documentHyphaene coriacea Gaertner
View the documentIpomoea aquatica Forssk.
View the documentIpomoea lapathifolia Hall. f.
View the documentIpomoea longituba Hall. f.
View the documentIpomoea mombassana Vatke
View the documentIpomoea oenotherae (Vatke) Hall. f.
View the documentKedrostis pseudogijef (Gilg) C. Jeffrey
View the documentKigelia pinnata (Jacq.) DC.
View the documentLablab purpureus (L.) Sweet
View the documentLagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standley
View the documentLandolphia buchananii Stapf
View the documentLandolphia kirkii Dyer
View the documentLannea alata (Engl.) Engl.
View the documentLannea edulis (Sond.) Engl.
View the documentLannea rivae (Chiov.) Sacleux
View the documentLannea schimperi (A. Rich.) Engl.
View the documentLannea triphylla (A. Rich.) Engl.
View the documentLantana trifolia L.
View the documentLaunaea cornuta (Oliv. & Hiern) Jeffr.
View the documentLeptadenia hastata (Pers.) Decne.
View the documentLippia carviodora Meikle
View the documentLippia kituiensis Vatke
View the documentMaerua decumbens (Brongn.) De Wolf
View the documentManilkara mochisia (Baker) Dubard
View the documentManilkara sansibarensis (Engl.) Dubard
View the documentManilkara sulcata (Engl.) Dubard
View the documentMeyna tetraphylla (Hiern) Robyns
View the documentMimusops fruticosa Bojer
View the documentMimusops kummel A. DC.
View the documentMomordica rostrata A. Zimm.
View the documentMondia whitei (Hook. f.) Skeels
View the documentMoringa oleifera Lam.
View the documentMyrianthus holstii Engl.
View the documentNymphaea nouchali Burm. f. var. caerulea (Savigny) Verdc.
View the documentOxygonum sinuatum (Meisn.) Dammer
View the documentPachystigma schumannianum (Robyns) Bridson & Verdc.
View the documentPappea capensis Eckl. & Zeyh.
View the documentParinari curatellifolia Planch. ex Benth.
View the documentPennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.
View the documentPhoenix reclinata Jacq.
View the documentPiliostigma thonningii (Schum.) Milne-Redh.
View the documentPortulaca oleracea L.
View the documentRhus natalensis Krauss
View the documentRhus tenuinervis Engl.
View the documentRhus vulgaris Meikle
View the documentRubus apetalus Poir.
View the documentRubus pinnatus Willd.
View the documentRubus volkensii Engl.
View the documentRumex usambarensis (Damm.) Damm.
View the documentSaba comorensis (Bojer) Pichon
View the documentSalacia madagascariensis (Lam.) DC.
View the documentSalvadora persica L.
View the documentSclerocarya birrea (A. Rich.) Hochst.
View the documentScutia myrtina (Burm. f.) Kurz
View the documentSesamum calycinum Welw.
View the documentSesamum orientale L.
View the documentSolanum nigrum L.
View the documentSorghum bicolor (L.) Moench
View the documentSorindeia madagascariensis DC.
View the documentStathmostelma propinquum (N. E. Br) Schltr.
View the documentStrychnos henningsii Gilg
View the documentStrychnos madagascariensis Poir.
View the documentStrychnos spinosa Lam.
View the documentSyzygium cordatum Krauss
View the documentSyzygium guineense (Willd.) DC.
View the documentTamarindus indica L.
View the documentThylachium thomasii Gilg
View the documentTylosema fassoglense (Schweinf.) Torre and Hillc.
View the documentUrtica massaica Mildbr.
View the documentUvaria acuminata Oliv.
View the documentUvaria scheffleri Diels.
View the documentVangueria apiculata K. Schum.
View the documentVangueria infausta Burch. ssp. rotundata (Robyns) Verdc.
View the documentVangueria madagascariensis Gmel.
View the documentVangueria volkensii K. Schum. var. volkensii
View the documentVatovaea pseudolablab (Harms) J. B. Gillett
View the documentVernonia cinerea Less.
View the documentVigna friesiorum Harms var. angustifolia Verdc.
View the documentVigna membranacea A. Rich.
View the documentVigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.
View the documentVigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.
View the documentVitex doniana Sweet
View the documentVitex ferruginea Schum. & Thonn.
View the documentVitex mombassae Vatke
View the documentVitex payos (Lour.) Merr.
View the documentXimenia americana L
View the documentZanthoxylum chalybeum Engl. var. chalybeum
View the documentZiziphus abyssinica A. Rich.
View the documentZiziphus mauritiana Lam.
View the documentZiziphus mucronata Willd.
View the documentTermitomyces-mushrooms (edible fungi)

Acacia nilotica (L.) Del.

Mimosaceae (Fabaceae)

Borana: burquqe, burquqis Chonyi: mtsemeri, munga Digo: kigundi, chigundigundi English: Egyptian mimosa, Egyptian thorn Gabra: burquqe, burq'uq'e Giriama: msemeri, munga, muhegakululu Ilchamus: lkiloriti, lkilorit Kamba: kisemei (Machakos), musemeli (Kitui) Kambe: mtsemeri, munga Keiyo: kiprutyot Kikuyu: mugaa Kipsigis: chebitet, kopko Maa: olkiloriti Mbeere: mucemeri Orma: chalado Pokot: kopko, kapka Rendille: ilgiliti Samburu: lkiloriti Somali: marah, guider, langid, marai, tuwer Swahili: mgunga, mjungu, mtetewe Taita: shighiri Teso: ekapelimen Tharaka: mwemba Tugen: chebiwo, chebiwa Turkana: ekapilimen, ekapelimen

Description: A small- to medium-sized acacia, usually 3-5 m, with scattered branches (especially in young plants) or with a spreading umbrella-shaped crown and low branches (in older plants). BARK: Dark brown to black on the trunk. Branches reddish brown. THORNS: Branches armed with paired strong spines. FLOWERS: In bright yellow to orange heads. FRUIT: A grey to purple-black, straight or slightly curved indehiscent pod up to 12 cm long by 1.2 cm wide, with a whitish bloom and a gummy pulp.

Ecology: A species widely spread in tropical and subtropical Africa and east to India, from Ethiopia and Sudan to north-eastern South Africa and northern Namibia. Widely distributed in Kenya in acacia bushland and wooded grassland, e.g. growing in Kaputei plains (Kajiado), Kedong valley and Kerio Valley, 0-2,500 m. Common in both dry lowlands and highlands. Soils variable from sandy to black cotton. Seems to prefer gravelly red soils. Rainfall: Commonest at 500-800 mm. Zones III - VI.

Uses: FOOD: Bark (Kamba, Maasai, Mbeere) and the gummy fruit pulp (Pokot, Turkana, Rendille) boiled in water, sugar added and drunk as tea (+++). Pods are a famine food (Mbeere).

FOOD/MEDICINAL: Bark and roots boiled in milk, blood (Rendille) or soup, especially by warriors for appetite and general fitness (Maasai, Rendille, Samburu). Tea made from fruit drunk for stomach problems. Boiled root extract drunk as a tea for chest pain, abdominal pain and tuberculosis (Samburu). Root or bark extract taken alone or boiled in soup for indigestion (constipation), stomach upset (Maasai, Samburu), as an emetic (Samburu) and for hepatitis (Samburu).

MEDICINAL: Bark and root used in the treatment of venereal diseases (Maasai, Kamba, Tharaka). Cold bark infusion drunk to treat nausea caused by drinking milk. Chewed leaf or boiled bark applied on wounds, burns and sore eyes (Samburu). Inner bark chewed or boiled as cure for stomach-ache and diarrhoea (Pokot). Inner bark chewed for sore throat and cough (Maasai). Boiled leaf extract used for chest pain or pneumonia (Maasai). Bark and roots used as an aphrodisiac, and roots for gonorrhoea, impotence and chest diseases (Maasai). Bark decoction given to children for fever (Maasai). Sap from twigs (Pokot) and squeezed pods (Turkana, Pokot, Tharaka) applied to infected eyes. Bark infusion used against "malaria" (Pokot) and for stomach problems in goats (Pokot). Infusion of any plant part used to treat headache (Somali, Boran). Root bark (Mbeere) and fruit (Kamba) decoction used for coughs; boiled bark with fat used for painful joints, backache and stomach ulcers (Pokot).

OTHER: Fencing material, fuelwood (+++), charcoal (+++), fodder for all livestock (+). Bark boiled with meat to soften it (Pokot). Bark used for tanning (Mbeere). Bark and roots are a source of dye for baskets (Machakos). Thorns used for piercing ears (Kamba, Tharaka), removing jiggers (Mbeere) and as plugs for gourds (Kamba, Mbeere). Gum from fruit or bark used for attaching feathers to arrows (Mbeere). Wood hard and durable, used as posts for grain stores (Kamba).

CULTURAL/BELIEF: Ground bark used for rituals (Maasai). Fresh juice from fruit rubbed on eyelids to make them black during dances (Digo). Gum from fruits rubbed on hair by old men (Digo).

Season: Flowers in January (Kitui), May-June (Laikipia) or September-October (Naivasha, Kajiado). Fruits in August-September (Kitui) or October (Laikipia).

Management: Best propagated by direct sowing at site.

Status: Very common.

Remarks: This species is quite variable. Two subspecies occur in Kenya: ssp. subalata (Vatke) Brenan (syn: A. subalata Vatke) which is by far the commonest; ssp. leiocarpa is a coastal subspecies (Malindi, Pate Islands, Kiunga, into Somalia) with hairless fruit and young branches. At least seven subspecies are recognized, the others being found outside Kenya.


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