logo of PROTA Prota 2: Vegetables/Légumes
Record display

Oxygonum sinuatum (Meisn.) Dammer

Engl., Pflanzenw. Ost-Afrikas, C: 170 (1895).
Chromosome number
2n = 52
Ceratogonum cordofanum Meisn. (1856), Ceratogonum sinuatum Meisn. (1856), Oxygonum atriplicifolium (Meisn.) Martelli var. sinuatum (Meisn.) Baker (1909).
Vernacular names
Kindri, bamba (Sw).
Origin and geographic distribution
Oxygonum sinuatum is widely distributed in eastern and southern Africa, from Sudan southwards to Angola and South Africa.
In Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya the leaves of Oxygonum sinuatum are eaten raw or boiled as a vegetable. In Uganda the popularity of Oxygonum sinuatum as a leafy vegetable differs per region; it is considered a famine food in some regions, and a favourite dish in others. Medicinally the leaves are applied to boils, and stems are chewed to treat tonsillitis. The leaf juice is used for treating fungal infections of legs and feet and to treat eye infections.
The raw leaves of Oxygonum sinuatum have an acid taste; in powdered form the taste is mild.
Spreading, decumbent or erect annual herb with green to red-brown, glabrous to pubescent stems, up to 1 m tall. Leaves alternate, simple; ocrea cylindrical, up to 8 mm long, reddish, usually fringed with long hairs at apex; petiole 0.5–3 cm long; blade ovate to elliptical in outline, 4–8 cm × 1–3 cm, usually slightly to deeply incised with rounded or acute lobes. Inflorescence a spike-like raceme up to 45 cm long. Flowers bisexual and male, white or pink, slightly heterostylous; pedicel stumpy in bisexual flowers, filiform in male flowers; perianth tube 1–1.5 mm long, tepals ovate-elliptical, up to 3 mm long. Fruit a fusiform nut 5–6.5 mm long, bearing subcentrally 3 spreading prickles up to 2 mm long.
Oxygonum comprises about 30 species and is confined to tropical Africa, South Africa and Madagascar.
Oxygonum sinuatum is a common weed in fields and on waste ground, from sea -level up to 2400 m altitude. In Uganda it occurs on well-drained loamy soils in areas with an annual rainfall of 1000–1600 mm.
Oxygonum sinuatum is mostly collected from the wild, but in Uganda it is protected in home gardens. Dried and powdered leaves and shoots are stored for future use.
Genetic resources and breeding
Oxygonum sinuatum is widespread and not in danger of genetic erosion.
Locally Oxygonum sinuatum will remain a useful vegetable and medicinal plant.
Major references
• Graham, R.A., 1957. A revision of Oxygonum (Polygonaceae – Polygoneae). Kew Bulletin 12: 145–172.
• 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.
• Katende, A.B., Ssegawa, P. & Birnie, A., 1999. Wild food plants and mushrooms of Uganda. Technical Handbook No 19. Regional Land Management Unit/SIDA, Nairobi, Kenya. 490 pp.
• 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.
• Westphal, E., 1975. Agricultural systems in Ethiopia. Verslagen van landbouwkundige onderzoekingen 826. Centre for Agricultural Publishing and Documentation, Wageningen, Netherlands. 278 pp.
Other references
• Baker, J.G. & Wright, C.H., 1909–1913. Polygonaceae. In: Thiselton-Dyer, W.T. (Editor). Flora of tropical Africa. Volume 6(1). Lovell Reeve & Co., London, United Kingdom. pp. 98–120.
• Hedberg, O., 2000. Polygonaceae. In: Edwards, S., Mesfin Tadesse, Demissew Sebsebe & Hedberg, I. (Editors). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Volume 2, part 1. Magnoliaceae to Flacourtiaceae. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Department of Systematic Botany, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. pp. 336–347.
• Robyns, W., 1948. Polygonaceae. In: Robyns, W., Staner, P., De Wildeman, E., Germain, R., Gilbert, G., Hauman, L., Homès, M., Lebrun, J., Louis, J., Vanden Abeele, M. & Boutique, R. (Editors). Flore du Congo belge et du Ruanda-Urundi. Spermatophytes. Volume 1. Institut National pour l’Étude Agronomique du Congo belge, Brussels, Belgium. pp. 396–427.
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. Oxygonum sinuatum (Meisn.) Dammer In: Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA 2: Vegetables/Légumes. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.