Kerstingiella geocarpa Harms
Voandzeia geocarpa (Harms) A.Chev.
Common Name: Hausa Groundnut
Macrotyloma geocarpum is an annual herb with prostrate rooting stems up to 10cm long[
The plant is sometimes cultivated, especially within the savannah belt of tropical Africa, for its edible seeds and leaves[
]. It is grown mostly on a small scale, in pure stands or mixed with yams[
]. Like the much better known peanut (Arachis hypogaea), the developing seedpod becomes buried in the soil[
]. Because of the low yield and low storage capability, the economic importance of this traditional W African domesticate has decreased considerably in recent times[
]. Mature seeds are eaten fresh or dry (for soups), they can be pounded and the leaves are cooked as vegetable.
Western Tropical Africa - drier areas of Senegal to Chad and the Central African Republic.
Not known in a wild state.
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the drier to wet tropics, where it is cultivated at elevations up to 1,600 metres[
]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 34°c, but can tolerate 12 - 38°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 600 - 1,200mm, but tolerates 450 - 3,000mm[
Requires a position in full sun[
]. Grows best on a slightly alkaline, well-drained, sandy loam[
]. Many cultivars are tolerant of relatively poor soil conditions[
]. Often found growing on acid soils with a pH of around 5[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 7 - 7.5, tolerating 6 - 8[
Flowering starts 30 - 65 days after sowing and may continue until the plant dies[
]. Self pollination is the rule and 2 days after fertilization a stalk is formed at the base of the ovary, carrying the ovary to the ground. This mechanism is similar to that in groundnut, but different from that in bambara groundnut, where the peduncle grows to the ground[
Plants take 3 - 5 months from sowing to produce a crop[
Pods mature either on the soil surface or 1 - 2cm under it[
Yields of 450 - 500kg per hectare of the dried seeds can be expected[
There are some named varieties[
The seeds play an important role in traditional customs in West Africa, particularly in Togo, where they are used in funeral ceremonies of the Kaby and Mauba people. This seems to have contributed largely to the survival of the crop in northern Togo[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Seed - cooked in soups etc[
]. They can be dried for later use[
]. Mature seeds are boiled with salt and eaten with palm oil or groundnut oil, and accompanied with fermented cassava flour, called ‘gari’, yams or rice[
]. They may also be boiled in soups and served to guests as a sign of honour[
]. Dry seeds are ground into flour and used in making cakes and other dishes[
]. It is best to soak the seed for 12 hours prior to cooking in order to remove antinutritional factors such as tannins and phytates[
]. The seed is rich in protein[
]. The seed is about 9mm x 6mm[
Leaves - cooked and eaten as a vegetable[
]. The leaves are often added to soups[
The water in which the seeds have been boiled is taken as a treatment against diarrhoea[
The powdered dry seed, mixed with water or local beer, is used as an emetic in case of poisoning[
Leaf decoctions act as a vermifuge[
The plant is used in the treatment of dysentery, venereal diseases, fever and diabetes[
Seed - sow in situ at the beginning or middle of the wet season[
]. Germination normally occurs within 3 - 5 days after sowing[
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