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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 senegal (L.) Willd.

Mimosaceae (Fabaceae)

Borana: burra diima, sadeema, sapans diima, iddado, baabido (gum) Daasanach: dang'ite Digo: kikwata English: gum arabic tree, Sudan gum arabic Gabra: iddaad'o Ilchamus: lderkesi Kamba: king'ole (Machakos), kikole, king'olola (north Kitui) Luo: kiluor, otiep Maa: olderkesi, enderkesi, interkes (plural), olbida Mbeere: mung'othi Orma: bura-diima Pokot: chemanga, chemankayan Rendille: hadhaadh, mirgi-abah (gum) Samburu: lderkesi, manok (gum) Somali: edad, edad-geri, adad, edaad Swahili: kikwata, mgunga Teso: ekunoit, ekodokodoi Turkana: ekunoit

Description: Shrub or small tree up to 9 m tall, more often 2-4 m high. Crown flat in mature trees. BARK: Scaly, yellowish brown or grey-brown. Branches armed. THORNS: Spines brown-black, usually arranged in threes at the leaf nodes, the middle one recurved, the others directed forwards. FLOWERS: Buds red, opening to long white or cream spikes, borne in twos or threes or singly. FRUIT: A flat brown, papery, prominently veined dehiscent pod to 10 cm long by 2 cm broad, often slightly constricted between some or all seeds. Seeds usually 3-5, greenish brown, flattened with a circular outline.

Ecology: From West Africa east to Egypt, south to South Africa and Namibia. Also found in Asia. Grows in Kenya, e.g. on Homa Hill, in the Rift Valley, Lokitaung and Mutha hill in dry Acacia-Commiphora bushland and wooded grassland, often forming a pure stand on raised rocky ground in very dry areas, 100-1,700 m. Prefers well-aerated soils, especially rocky, loam or sandy soils. Rainfall: 200-800 mm. Zones III-VII.

Uses: FOOD: A clear edible gum is produced by this tree (+++). This is the best acacia gum in Kenya, much treasured by pastoralists. To induce gum formation, a section of the bark is wounded or stripped off. In the wild state gum production is induced by natural factors. Plants in arid areas or in the dry season tend to produce better gum. This species produces the well-known gum arabic used in pharmaceutical, food and confectionery industries and in the manufacture of glue.

MEDICINAL: Juice obtained from fruits is used as eye medicine (Ilchamus).

OTHER: Fuelwood (++), charcoal, house poles (+), fencing. Bark a source of fibre. Leaves are goat (+++) and camel (++) fodder.

COMMERCIAL: Commercial gum is collected from the wild (Wajir, Mandera, Isiolo, Marakwet, Garissa, Samburu) mainly by children and women. It is usually picked for export to the Far East and Europe. The gum trade in Kenya is less lucrative than in Sudan and Somalia. The main reason is the poor quality of the gum, mainly due to the fact that various grades and types are mixed.



In Kenya, the gum exudes from the tree mainly as a result of natural causes or stress. In the Sudan, the business is old and well established. Here the plant is purposely injured during tapping to induce gum formation. The gum is ready for harvesting about a month after tapping. Collecting can be done over two or more months. Tapping may begin when the tree is four years old and a tree may produce gum up to the age of 15-20 years. Tapping tends to destroy the bark thus lowering production. In the Sudan, tapping is done with a small axe, mainly by removing a long strip of the outer bark from the branches, and is normally done in the dry season when the plant is in stress. The tappers are experienced and hence the quality is good. Kenyan gum, on the other hand, is traditionally collected by pastoralists. Until recently, the business only attracted a few Somali traders, but now the business is attracting full-time collectors and thus the quality of gum is improving.

The potential for development exists. High densities and sometimes pure stands of this species have been found in parts of Turkana and Baringo Districts, especially in northern Baringo, in Kakuma and along Kapedo-Lokichar road. Training of collectors, improved collecting methods and more organized marketing would be the way forward in developing this resource as the market for gum arabic is far from saturated. Currently the Sudan is the largest producer. Others include Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Chad, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Season: Gum production is highest in August-September and February-March. Flowers in July (Kitui); fruits in August-September (Turkana, Baringo, Ngong).

Management: Best propagated by seed. Soaking in water for a day or nicking may improve germination.

Status: Locally common.

Remarks: This species is extremely variable. At least three varieties are found in Kenya:

· var. Senegal. Distribution: Moyale, Homa Hill, 100-1,700 m.

· var. kerensis Schweinf. Distribution: Lokitaung, Baringo, Mutha, 460-1,130 m. Gum of less superior quality than that of var. senegal.

· var. leiorachis Brenan. (Orma: bura-diima, Somali: adad-gher). This species often hybridizes with Acacia mellifera in Kajiado.