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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)

Ficus sycomorus L.


syn: F. mucosa sensu Dale & Greenway 1961

Borana: oda, woda, od Chonyi: mukuyu Embu: mukuyu, nguyu English: sycamore fig Ilchamus: lnaboli Kamba: mukuyu Kikuyu: mukuyu, nguyu (fruit) Kipsigis: mogoiwet Luhya (Bukusu): kumukhuyu kamakhuyu (fruit) Luhya (Tachoni): omukhuyu amakhuyu (fruit) Luo: olam, odok (Ugenya) Maa: orng'aboli Malakote: mokoyo Marakwet: mokung'ua, mokongwo (singular), makany (plural) Mbeere: mukuyu Meru: mukuyu, mukuu, nguyu (fruit) Nandi: sebetwet Orma: odha Pokot: mokong'wo Rendille: bubunto, ilmo (fruit) Samburu: lng'aboli Sanya: odha Somali: bardah (Tana River), berde Swahili: mkuyu Taita: muku Teso: eborborei, eduro Tugen: lokoitwo, lokoiwo, lokoek (fruit) Turkana: echoke

Description: A large tree to 20 m with an upright branching habit and a dense or open rounded or occasionally spreading crown. BARK: Trunk and branches yellow, orange-red or yellow-green. Bark surface powdery. LEAVES: Rough. FRUITS: Figs to 2 cm across, slightly hairy, borne on small leafless branches.

Ecology: From Egypt and the Middle East to South Africa and Namibia and the Comoro Islands. Widely distributed all over Kenya in riverine vegetation, flood plains and places with a high groundwater-table. In the wetter zones it can be found away from riverine vegetation. Alluvial, sandy or rocky soils, 0-1,850 m. Rainfall: 250 mm (riverine)-l,200 mm or more. Zones II-VII.

Uses: FOOD: Figs fleshy, sweet and eaten raw. Figs are split open, dried and stored, usually in honey (Pokot, Turkana). Dry figs may also be ground into flour which may be stored or mixed with grain flour and used to prepare atap, a type of thick porridge (Turkana). Figs cooked and eaten (Tugen). Figs are only very rarely eaten nowadays; they may occasionally be infested with insects.

MEDICINAL: Sap used for toothache (Kikuyu) and powdered bark infusion for dysentery (Kamba).

OTHER: Beehives (Kamba, Pokot, Turkana). Stools (Kamba). Door frames. Pestles and mortars (Maasai, Kipsigis, Kamba). Bow of a lyre (Turkana, Pokot). Hanging beehives (Pokot). Doors, house building (Kipsigis, Maasai (Narok)). Water troughs, alio, serving bowls, tuwan and perta, and movable doors, tikichon (Pokot, Turkana). Inner parts of bark beaten or chewed into fibre for weaving (Taita). Trunks used in Buganda for making the canoe-like troughs in which beer is made. Good shade tree, hence used as a meeting place. Figs also eaten by birds. Leaves cut for animal fodder (Pokot, Turkana). Latex applied to arrow shafts (Pokot, Kamba).

CULTURAL/BELIEFS: A sacred tree among many communities (Boran, Kamba, Kikuyu, Mbeere, Tharaka, Meru, Luo).

Season: Fruits in January-March in Tana River, Marsabit and southern Turkana and in April in Machakos, Makueni, Narok and Taita.

Status: Occasional.

Remarks: Most fig species have edible fruits. They were important famine foods in the past but their use has declined a great deal, especially in the agricultural areas. A closely related species is F. sur Forssk. (syn. F. capensis Thunb.) (English: Cape fig, Somali: berde, Luo: bongu) with greyish bark and figs that are borne in clusters on special branched stalks arising directly from the trunk. It is found in West Pokot, Makueni and most parts of Kenya south to KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, in riverine conditions but also away from such habitats. Local names as for F. sycomorus.

Another important fig is F. vallis-choudae Del. (Maa: mutoyo, Pokot: nohow'o, Luo: ng'owo), a huge tree to 25 m high with a low crown, large heart-shaped to almost circular leaves, and large finely hairy, solitary figs to 5 cm in diameter. This tree is usually riverine.



Ficus vallis-choudae