|Traditional Food Plants of Kenya (National Museum of Kenya, 1999, 288 p.)|
Borana: luuftoole Chonyi: chikosho, vombo Gabra; luftoole (Gabra): qaqalla (Huri Hills) Giriama: kikosho Kambe: chikosho Keiyo: nterere Kipsigis: laiyo-nebo-soin, laiyonebo-soin (Timbilil) Luhya: mrere msatsa (Busia) Luhya (Bukusu): murere-nalubenga, murere-nalubembe, sitanyamurwe, nalubembe, nalubonga Luhya (Kabras): omurere Luhya (Maragoli): mrere Luhya (Tiriki): omurere Luhya (Tachoni): lihu, oluvembe Luo: apoth Marakwet: karkar, kokorwo (singular) Pokot: chepkarkarian, mamapatontoluo, mamachemeloi Samburu: leperia Sanya: kikosho Swahili: mlenda
Description: A usually erect branched herb. LEAVES: Ovate or broadly so with serrated margins. FLOWERS: Yellow. FRUIT: Slender long pod-like capsule, to 7 cm or more, straight or slightly curved and splitting into 3-4 (often 3) valves. Capsules are held erect on the stems, singly or in pairs.
Ecology: Found in most parts of Africa from Senegal east to Ethiopia and from Egypt south to South Africa. A common Corchorus in most parts of Kenya in open Acacia bushland, grassland, cultivated ground, flood plains, edges of marshy places, dams and lakes, 0-2,400 m. Soils vary, e.g. sandy alluvial, black cotton, sandy or clay. Zones II-VI.
Uses: FOOD: Leaves eaten as a vegetable (+++) (Pokot, Giriama, Luo, Luhya, Kipsigis). As this vegetable is slippery when cooked, it is normally mixed with other coarse vegetables, usually Gynandropsis gynandra, Crotalaria brevidens and C. ochroleuca or cowpeas (Luhya, Luo). When cooked with cowpeas, milk and butter it is given to breast-feeding mothers to aid lactation (Luo). OTHER: Fodder.
COMMERCIAL: Sold in many markets throughout the country, especially in Nairobi, coastal and western areas.
Management: Propagated by seeds which are sown in rows or broadcast.
Remarks: There could be up to eight Corchorus species in Kenya, about half of which are commonly used as a vegetable. C. tridens L. (Chonyi: chikosho, Giriama: kikosho, Kambe: chikosho, Luo: apoth, Sanya: kikosho) has narrow or ovate leaves to 10 cm long with a pair of protrusions at the base of the blade. The capsules are slender, short (to 4 cm long), straight or slightly curved with 3 spreading horny protrusions at the end of each capsule and split into 3 valves. This species is found in most of Africa. In Kenya it is found in most dry areas, dry bushland, grassland, swamps and in cultivation. C. aestuans L. (syn. C. acutangulus Lam.) has oval leaves with a pair of protrusions at the base of the leaf blade. Capsules are broader than in C. tridens, up to 3 cm long, with three diverging horns and splitting into 3 valves. C. fascicularis L., on the other hand, has long narrow leaves without protrusions and a short capsule to 1.5 cm long. These species are also used as a vegetable.