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Record display

Convolvulus farinosus L.

Chromosome number
2n = 24
Origin and geographic distribution
Convolvulus farinosus is found in eastern Africa (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania), southern Africa (Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa), Madagascar, Réunion, and in the western Mediterranean region.
Young leaves of Convolvulus farinosus are collected from the wild, cooked alone or with other vegetables such as amaranth or cowpea, and eaten with a staple food. Coconut milk or pounded groundnuts are often added. Convolvulus farinosus is also used as a forage and ornamental.
Perennial herb with numerous, long and slender, twining or prostrate, long-pubescent stems. Leaves alternate, simple; petiole up to 7 cm long; blade triangular-ovate to ovate, 3–11 cm × 4–6 cm, sagittate to cordate at base, apex obtuse, acute or apiculate, margin entire to shallowly crenate, shortly pubescent. Inflorescence an axillary, umbel-like cyme, 1–6-flowered; peduncle up to 6 cm long. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel up to 1.5 cm long; sepals ovate-circular to elliptical, 5–9 mm × 3–5 mm, often pubescent; corolla campanulate, 1–1.5 cm long, with narrow tube and mucronate lobes, white or pinkish-purple, pubescent at the middle of lobes and apices; stamens inserted at base of corolla tube, filaments unequal; ovary superior, 2 -celled, style filiform, c. 4 mm long, stigmas 2, filiform. Fruit a globose capsule 5–8 mm in diameter, apiculate, glabrous, pale brown, enclosed by persistent calyx, dehiscent by 4 valves. Seeds usually 4, globose-trigonous, c. 4 mm × 2.5 mm, black, rugose.
Convolvulus comprises about 250 species, most of them in temperate and subtropical regions of the world, with only a limited number in the tropics. In tropical Africa about 24 species occur.
Convolvulus farinosus occurs in upland grassland and fields, at 1000–2000 m altitude. It sometimes behaves as a troublesome weed.
Genetic resources and breeding
Convolvulus farinosus is widespread and not in danger of genetic erosion.
Convolvulus farinosus will remain a minor leaf vegetable, of local importance only when other vegetables are scarce.
Major references
• Gonçalves, M.L., 1987. Convolvulaceae. In: Launert, E. (Editor). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 8, part 1. Flora Zambesiaca Managing Committee, London, United Kingdom. pp. 9–129.
• Ruffo, C.K., Birnie, A. & Tengnäs, B., 2002. Edible wild plants of Tanzania. Technical Handbook No 27. Regional Land Management Unit/ SIDA, Nairobi, Kenya. 766 pp.
• Verdcourt, B., 1963. Convolvulaceae. In: Hubbard, C.E. & Milne-Redhead, E. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 161 pp.
Other references
• Bosser, J. & Heine, H., 2000. Convolvulacées. In: Bosser, J., Cadet, T., Guého, J. & Marais, W. (Editors). Flore des Mascareignes. Familles 127–135. The Sugar Industry Research Institute, Mauritius, l’Institut pour le Développement (IRD), Paris, France & Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 63 pp.
• Deroin, T., 2001. Convolvulaceae. Flore de Madagascar et des Comores, familles 133 bis et 171. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 11–287.
P.C.M. Jansen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

G.J.H. Grubben
Prins Hendriklaan 24, 1401 AT Bussum, Netherlands
O.A. Denton
National Horticultural Research Institute, P.M.B. 5432, Idi-Ishin, Ibadan, Nigeria
Associate Editors
C.-M. Messiaen
Bat. B 3, Résidence La Guirlande, 75, rue de Fontcarrade, 34070 Montpellier, France
R.R. Schippers
De Boeier 7, 3742 GD Baarn, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Jansen, P.C.M., 2004. Convolvulus farinosus L. In: Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA 2: Vegetables/Légumes. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.