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

About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. 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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