Corchorus burmanni DC.
Corchorus patens Lehm.
Corchorus senegalensis Juss. ex Steud.
Corchorus trilocularis Burm.f.
Common Name: Jew's Mallow
Jew's mallow is an annual herb growing up to 1 metre tall, usually erect and branched[
The plant is commonly used as a vegetable in its native range, being gathered from the wild and also grown in home gardens[
]. It is occasionally sold in local markets[
]. This is an interesting vegetable for dry environments, occurring spontaneously, and also sometimes cultivated in home gardens or at least tolerated as a weed. Seeds are easily procured and stored. It is a well-liked vegetable, easily preserved as dried leaf, nutritious and important in food security policy[
]. However, in peri-urban cultivation it cannot compete with the higher yielding Corchorus olitorius[
Tropical Africa. Indian subcontinent.
Savannah, woodland and scrub vegetation, and often found as a weed of cultivated land[
]. It can be found at elevations up to 1,700 metres, but is generally grown below 700 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Semi-cultivated, Wild
A plant of low to middle elevations in the dry to moist tropics. It prefers temperatures in the range from 22 - 35°c with diurnal variations to encourage leaf development[
]. In Tanzania it grows in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 1,000 - 1,800mm[
Succeeds in a range of soil types but well-drained, alluvial or sandy loams are preferable[
]. A soil pH of 6.5 - 7 is favourable, but it tolerates a pH between 5.5 - 8.5[
]. Plants are rather drought resistant[
Jew's mallow is a hot season vegetable in dry areas of the tropics[
]. It is collected in the lowland African tropics throughout the year[
]. Although it thrives best during the rainy season, it is rather drought resistant[
]. Plants can tolerate a month without rainfall, but irrigation improves growth and yields[
]. Plants also tolerate a high level of rainfall but are very sensitive to excess water when young[
The plants grow rapidly in the rainy season and flowering occurs about 6 weeks after germination[
]. The first leaves can be picked at about 40 days after sowing and thereafter every fortnight by topping leafy shoots, which encourages new growth[
]. Harvesting stops when the plants are about 80 days old, when no new leaves are formed[
]. Flowering occurs continuously and seeds mature at 90 - 110 days from sowing[
]. Fruiting plants can be found throughout the year[
The leaf yield is about 5 - 8 kg per 10 m2 and is much reduced during the dry cool season[
The leaves are used as a vegetable in stews eaten with starchy staple foods, and in soups and sauces[
]. They taste more bitter than those of Corchorus olitorius L., the more commonly cultivated Jew’s mallow[
]. Cooked leaves become mucilaginous[
Fibres obtained from the stem are used for fishing lines and rough cordage[
Seed - sown directly on well-prepared, manured beds at the beginning of the wet season, broadcast or drilled in rows spaced at 20 - 30 cm. The plants are thinned to 20 plants per m2. Germination may be poor due to seed dormancy, but a short immersion in boiling water or soaking overnight in warm water speeds up germination and makes it less erratic[
]. The seeds retain their viability for 8 - 12 months when stored in well-sealed jars[
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