Phaseolus cibellii Chiov.
Vatovaea biloba Chiov.
Vigna pseudolablab Harms
Vatovaea pseudolablab is a shrub, usually with a climbing habit. It produces branched, often nodulous, pale reddish brown glabrous to sparsely pubescent stems 1 - 3 metres tall from an enormous woody tuber[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of fibre. Farmers commonly grow and consume this plant, but others tend not to eat it except in times of food shortages[
Vatovaea pseudolablab populations are dwindling in East Africa and in the Arabian Peninsula because it is a popular food and fodder. Its genetic pool is likely to shrink fast if no action is taken. It has not yet been evaluated by the IUCN[
East tropical Africa - Southern Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania; Arabia - Yemen, Oman.
Dry grassland or bushland, often along lava or drainage lines, occasionally in seasonally wet grassland on clay; at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of drier areas in the tropics, where it can be found at elevations up to 1,500 metres. It grows in areas where the mean annual rainfall is within the range 250 - 600mm[
The tuberous roots can be dug out any time of the year; they are best gathered when the foliage has died back[
Seeds - raw or cooked[
]. They can be boiled or roasted[
Immature pods - raw or cooked as a vegetable[
Flowers - raw or cooked as a vegetable[
Leaves - raw or cooked as a vegetable[
Roots - raw or cooked[
]. The juicy roots have a pleasant, sweet taste, even when raw, but are fibrous[
]. They are consumed raw or after boiling or roasting. They are sometimes eaten as a snack, especially after roasting; they are also used as emergency food and as a source of water for travellers[
]. Flour made from the dried and pounded roots is mixed with sorghum flour to prepare a stiff porridge. It is normally stored and used in lean periods[
Flour is produced from the roots by peeling them, chopping, drying and then grinding them[
The root fibres are made into rope, hats and fly whisks[
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