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close this bookTraditional Food Plants of Kenya (National Museum of Kenya, 1999, 288 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentLocal names
View the documentColour plates
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)
View the documentAppendix: Nutritional composition of edible parts of plants
View the documentGlossary
View the documentBibliography
View the documentList of families and species
View the documentBack Cover


The production of any ethnobiological work involves an enormous number of people. A few of those involved in the production of this book are mentioned here, but all those who are not should feel that their role was also important and is appreciated.

Work of the Indigenous Food Plants Programme (IFPP) which led to this book would not have been possible without the generous grant from the Ford Foundation for which we are deeply grateful. In this connection special thanks go to Dianne Rocheleau and Eric Rusten, Program Officers at the Ford Foundation's Eastern and Southern Africa Office in Nairobi, for their great interest and encouragement throughout the IFPP period.

We are grateful to the Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE) for providing funds through their Eastern Africa Regional Office in Dar-es-Salaam for production education and extension materials. In this Scott Walter, and later Julie Holder, were very helpful. In addition, the programme received seed money from Nog Meer Binding Foundation and Columbine Foundation of the Netherlands.

We are grateful to Richard L. Leakey former Director and later Mohamed Isahakia Director National Museums of Kenya for their encouragement given to IFPP.

In nutritional research, we are indebted to S. Mbugua and J. Imungi of the Department of Food Science, University of Nairobi for their support and permission to use laboratory facilities for food-value analyses.

Of particular mention and appreciation is the contribution made by the management and staff of IFPP in implementing the programme: Moses Mbugua, Secretary General, Kenya Freedom From Hunger Council (KFFHC); Grace Kanyua, Director, Worldview International Foundation Kenya (WIF); Joe Kuhn who initiated the programme and worked tirelessly to get it off the ground; Matthijs de Vreede who assisted in the programme design and continued to provide advice; David Lowe and later Bernard Muchiri, Coordinators; Abbey Olendi, Nutritionist; Gatonye Gathura, Communications officer; Jane Makumi, Programme Secretary; Nicholas Maina, Driver; and the late Peter Olala, Gardener.

The success of IFPP depended highly on local leaders and committed field collaborators who took the programme as their own, and to the local communities contained in this book and to whom much of it belongs. We are deeply indebted to them all.

Kajiado: J. Kimani of Maasai Rural Training Centre (MRTC) and the staff of the Elang'ata Wuas Ecosystem Management Programme, especially Charles Samperu, Ezekiel Roimen, Irene Katete and David Moile.

Baringo and Koibatek: Justus Kumu of the Food Security Programme and Fr Sean McGovern of the Kositei Catholic Mission.

Turkana: Mr Karanja of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Development and Marketing (MALD&M);Turkana, KEFRI staff, especially Rosina Auren; the staff of the former Turkana Cultural Heritage Project (TCHP) and especially Sammy Emekwi Nalukoowoi, John Rigano, Geoffrey Clarfield, Dominic Akeno, John Ekales, Pauline Lokuruka, and Christopher Eweikar of Kaputir Community Health Clinic.

Kilifi and Malindi: the staff of the Malindi NGO programme in Magarini Division. Special thanks go to Shida Kaplanga, Shadrack Magambo, Mary Ngonyo, Charles Nzai, Rachael Kafedha, Esther Gona, Samson Chengo and the late Edward Jeffwa for their commitment to the programme.

Nyandarua: the extension staff of the MAL&D and Olkalou Council. Special thanks go to Marion Kaniu, Kennedy, and Jane Mathenge.

Siaya: the staff of the Lake Victoria Programme I and II, and especially Justo Oremo.

Machakos, Makueni and Mwingi: Elkanah Odembo, Director, World Neighbors, and the staff of the World Neighbors Ukambani Programme, Arnold Maingi and F.S. Musembi.

Kitui: World Neighbors staff in Kitui, Alexander Mutiso and J. Syombua.

Some additional information which benefited the book was obtained in Kitui during the project on Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge Systems (INDAKS) implemented by Kenya Resource Centre for Indigenous Knowledge 1994 - 1997 and funded by the European Union through the Leiden Ethnosystems and Development Programme of Leiden University.

Final stages of the book and printing were made possible by funds provided by the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); for this we are particularly grateful to Frank Attere, Dr Luigi Guarino and Henry Kamau (IPGRI), Christine Holding (RELMA, SIDA) and Robert Hoft (UNESCO) for their interest in seeing the book published. We are also most grateful for the invaluable contributions of Bo Tengnas, Caroline Agola, Graeme Backhurst and Christine Holding in editing, formatting and seeing the publication through the printers.

We are indebted to the following for checking the local names in their various languages with great care: Boran and Gabra: Hassan Gurancha Wario: Chonyi: Joshua Buni Mturi; Daasanach: Richard Rogono, Eric J. Ness, Haira Makoro, J. Yeragalech Komoi, Gosh Kuanyang; Embu: Esther Njiro; Giriama: Joshua Buni Mturi, Kikuyu: G.M. Mungai, S. Mathenge; Kisii: David Nyakundi; Luhya: P. Masinde, P. Namachanja, S. Simiyu, Pius Ndinyo, Dinah Khayota; Maasai: Joyce Nasieku, Charles Ole Saitabau; Luo: Alfred Odhiambo, the late Peter Olala, H. Omondi Odongo; Marakwet: J. Kasagam; Mbeere: Ephantus Mwangi Ndiritu: Meru: Faith Njeru, J. M. Ruthiiri, Rendille: John Rigano; Somali: Abdirahman I. Yusuf, Suleiman, Ibrahim Serar; Sanya: Komoro Badula, Baloni Badula, Bini Baloni, Safo Badula, Godana Badula; Taita: G. Mwachala, Teso: P. Ipulet; Turkana: Sammy Emekwi Nalukoowoi.

We are grateful to Abede Kifetew of Ethiopian Curio Centre in Nairobi for providing useful information on teff and coffee, Jacob Muhando for plotting species distribution on the maps, Pius Namachanja for preparing the agro-climatic zone map, and to Yasuyuki Morimoto, Geoffrey Kilili and Patrick Kobai for their input on the final layout. We are also grateful to Joshua Muasya who drew some last-minute illustrations.

Last but not least, our most sincere thanks go to Bettina Ng'weno, J. Nyokabi Oteba, Francis Sikuku, the late Joseph Musyoka Kavisa and Benedetta Nthenya who carefully entered the original work in WordPerfect and AskSam database, Jane M Macharia and Phyllis Karanja for carrying out corrections, Joyce Chege for entering data on late records and L. Sojah for painstakingly matching the local names in the index with those in the main text.

Map 1. Distribution of the major ethnic groups in Kenya