Prota 2: Vegetables/Légumes
Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1898: 308 (1898).
Asclepiadaceae (APG: Apocynaceae)
Ceropegia cordiloba Werderm. (1939).
Origin and geographic distribution
Ceropegia papillata occurs in eastern Africa south of the equator, e.g. in Tanzania and Malawi.
The tuberous roots and the raw leaves are eaten by boys in the Kota Kota Hills of Malawi. The tubers contain much water and are eaten against thirst in dry regions. Potentially, Ceropegia papillata is an ornamental climber.
Numerous Ceropegia species have edible tubers. Ceropegia multiflora Bak., for example, has tubers containing per 100 g: water 95 g, energy 65 kJ (15 kcal), protein 0.8 g, fat 0.03 g, carbohydrate 3 g, fibre 0.3 g (Arnold, T.H., Wells, M.J. & Wehmeyer, A.S., 1985).
Twining, pubescent herb about 1 m long, arising from a globose tuber, stem 1–2 mm in diameter. Leaves opposite, simple, herbaceous; petiole up to 2.5 cm long; blade oblong-ovate, 3–6 cm × 1–2.5 cm, base cordate, apex long-acuminate, margin entire, hairy on both sides. Inflorescence a subsessile umbel-like cyme, 10–20-flowered. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, white; pedicel 8–10 mm long, pubescent; sepals linear-lanceolate, 6 mm × 1–2 mm; corolla tubular, 2.5 cm long, straight, tube with basal part ovoid-inflated, dull green, strongly papillate along the veins inside, upper part cylindrical, 1.5 mm in diameter, whitish green, glabrous, lobes linear, 4–8 mm × 1.5 mm, connate at the tips, replicate, villous with rather long white hairs within, the margins and the apical half blackish-green; outer corona cup-shaped at base with lobes c. 1.5 mm long, or entirely cup-shaped, white; inner coronal lobes linear, 1–1.5 mm long, white; stamens united into a staminal column c. 1.5 mm long, anthers oblong, leaning on the truncate apex of the style.
Two varieties have been distinguished based on the form of the outer corona: in var. papillata the lobes of the outer corona are only connate at the base; in var. cordiloba (Werderm.) H.Huber they are completely connate forming a cup which is crenate-denticulate at apex.
Ceropegia papillata grows in mountainous areas at 1350–2000(–3000) m altitude. It often climbs in shrubs, in rocky or grassy locations. In Malawi and Tanzania it flowers in February–May.
Genetic resources and breeding
Ceropegia papillata is a rare species in mountainous areas in need of protection.
Because Ceropegia papillata is a rare species collecting this vegetable from the wild cannot be recommended. More research is necessary to determine the nutritive value of the leaves and tubers, and possibilities for its cultivation as a vegetable and ornamental.
• Arnold, T.H., Wells, M.J. & Wehmeyer, A.S., 1985. Khoisan food plants: taxa with potential for future economic exploitation. In: Wickens, G.E., Goodin, J.R. & Field, D.V. (Editors). Plants for arid lands. Proceedings of the Kew International Conference on Economic Plants for Arid Lands. Allen & Unwin, London, United Kingdom. pp. 69–86.
• Bally, P.R.O., 1976. Ceropegia papillata var. cordiloba. The Flowering Plants of Africa 43(3–4): pl. 1716.
• Huber, H., 1957. Revision der Gattung Ceropegia. Memórias da Sociedade Broteriana 12: 1–203.
• Werdermann, E., 1939. Revision der ostafrikanischen Arten der Gattung Ceropegia. Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie 70: 189–232.
• Brown, N.E., 1902–1904. Asclepiadaceae. In: Thiselton-Dyer, W.T. (Editor). Flora of tropical Africa. Volume 4(1). Lovell Reeve & Co, London, United Kingdom. pp. 231–503.
• Williamson, J., 1955. Useful plants of Nyasaland. The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland. 168 pp. (Reprint: Williamson, J., 1975. Useful plants of Malawi. University of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi).
Correct citation of this article:
Jansen, P.C.M., 2004. Ceropegia papillata N.E.Br. In: Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA 2: Vegetables/Légumes. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.