Local Potato – More Information, but there’s not much

The information on local (indigenous) potatoes is often  confusing, primarily because so much of it is still anecdotal; although this may reflect the limited access to articles that I have in Burundi.

Plectranthus esculentus - National Academy of Sciences, USA

Above is a picture of one of the two varieties, the second – Solenostemon rotundifolius has beautiful leaves:

The following is from FAO (although it is unclear whether the information refers to both varieties):

A herb with prostrate or ascending habit and a succulent stem reaching up to 15-30 cm in length, forming tubers in clusters around the base of the stem. The tubers are small and dark-brown.

USES The tubers are used in the same way as potatoes.

GROWING PERIOD Annual herb, tubers are ready for harvest after 150-200 days from planting.

COMMON NAMES Hausa potato, Country potato, Coleus potato, Madagascar potato, Koorka, Kembili, Ubi kembili, Innala, Ratala, Ketang, Fra-fra potato, Saluga, Sudan potato, Tumuku, Fa-birama.

FURTHER INF Scientific synonyms: Coleus rotundifolius, C. dysentericus, Plectranthus rotundifolius, P. tuberosus. Low night temperatures promote tuber development. Recorded yields vary from 7-15 t/ha but higher yields may be obtained. Possible native to Ethiopia. Sources

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About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom I've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. See these 2 blogs: Batwa Pots in Burundi: Traditional Clay Pot Cuisine, Pt. 1 of 2 https://dianabuja.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/batwa-pots-in-burundi-traditional-clay-pot-cuisine-pt-1-of-2/ Batwa Pots in Burundi: Traditional Clay Pot Cuisine, Pt. 2 of 2 https://dianabuja.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/batwa-pots-in-burundi-traditional-clay-pot-cuisine-pt-2-of-2/ Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
This entry was posted in Africa-Central, Africa-General, Agriculture, Food, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Local Potato – More Information, but there’s not much

  1. Pingback: INUMPU – Burundi’s Indigenous Potatoes & A Recipe « Dianabuja's Blog

  2. Pingback: Native Potatoes a Great Health Restorative for Livingstone (1870), « Dianabuja's Blog

  3. Diana, have you any idea if tubers are made into alcoholic drinks? Are Solenostemon’s leaves edible or do they have other uses?


    • dianabuja says:

      Good question, Mariana. Not that I’m aware of, but I’ll also ask around. Alcoholic drinks seem to be made only of ‘above ground’ plants. There is a funney description by the explorer Baker of making whisky from sweet potatoes – I’ll find it and put it up.


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