Prota 2: Vegetables/Légumes
Engl., Pflanzenw. Ost-Afrikas, C: 171 (1895).
Bamba, kindiri (Sw)
Origin and geographic distribution
Oxygonum salicifolium is only found in Kenya and Tanzania.
In the coastal area of Kenya the leaves of Oxygonum salicifolium are used as a cooked vegetable, often mixed with Amaranthus or other vegetable species to improve the taste.
Creeping herb with ascending or prostrate woody branches bearing pubescent shoots up to 35 cm long. Leaves alternate, simple, sessile; ocrea cylindrical, up to 1 cm long, bearing at apex red hairs up to 9 mm long; blade linear-lanceolate, 3–7 cm × 2–10 mm, base narrowed, apex acute and often mucronate, margin not or slightly sinuous, midrib prominent below. Inflorescence a spike-like raceme, slender, 12–20 cm long. Flowers bisexual and male; bisexual flowers tubular with perianth tube accrescent around ovary and with perianth lobes withering; male flowers with a very short perianth tube and 4–5 petaloid tepals 4–6 mm long; stamens 8 in 2 series, 5 outer adnate to the tepals near their bases, 3 inner with a flattened basis forming a ring around the base of the style, filaments 4 mm long; styles 3, free or adnate at base, stigmas capitate. Fruit a pubescent nut c. 1 cm long, bearing subcentrally 3 prickles each 3–4 mm long.
Oxygonum comprises about 30 species and is confined to tropical Africa, South Africa and Madagascar.
Oxygonum salicifolium grows in grassland and disturbed ground, from sea-level up to 1600 m altitude.
Oxygonum salicifolium is only collected from the wild and is not cultivated.
Genetic resources and breeding
Although Oxygonum salicifolium is not widespread, it is common in disturbed habitats and not in danger of genetic erosion.
Oxygonum salicifolium will only remain of minor and local importance as a vegetable.
• Graham, R.A., 1957. A revision of Oxygonum (Polygonaceae – Polygoneae). Kew Bulletin 12: 145–172.
• Maundu, P.M., Ngugi, G.W. & Kabuye, C.H.S., 1999. Traditional food plants of Kenya. Kenya Resource Centre for Indigenous Knowledge (KENRIK), Nairobi, Kenya. 270 pp.
• Graham, R.A., 1958. Polygonaceae. In: Turrill, W.B. & Milne-Redhead, E. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 40 pp.
Correct citation of this article:
Jansen, P.C.M., 2004. Oxygonum salicifolium Dammer In: Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA 2: Vegetables/Légumes. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.