Triumfetta cuneata A.Rich.
Triumfetta neglecta Wight & Arn.
Triumfetta pentandra is an erect, annual herb growing up to 2 metres tall. The stems are often woody at the base[
The plant has several local uses - as a fibre plant, medicinally and to supply a mucilage that is used for making soup. It is sometimes cultivated in Africa, both for its fibre and for the mucilage in the stems. The stems are sometimes sold in local markets[
Pantropical - especially in drier areas.
Found in a range of habitats including gallery forest, woodland, grassland, marshy locations, old cultivations and disturbed locations, often in partial shade at elevations from sea level to 1,700 metres[
]. It is also a weed in cultivated land[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Grows best in partial shade[
The plant produces seed capsules that are covered in hooked hairs which adhere to fur and clothing. They can be carried for some distance in this manner and the plant can thus easily spread to become a weed[
Stems for mucilage are harvested by cutting them just above ground level when they are 75 - 100 cm long. They are prepared by removing all leaves and the terminal part where the stem has a diameter of less than 1cm. The resulting sticks are either taken to the homestead or tied into bundles and brought to the market[
The plant is deep-rooted[
Closely related to T. Rhomboidea[
Leaves - cooked and eaten as a vegetable[
The bark of green shoots is a source of mucilage used for making sticky soups and sauces[
]. The mucilage is often used as baby food and for young children not yet able to eat coarse starchy foods[
]. Because of its high energy value, the soup is often the first dish given to women who have delivered a child[
]. It is also used as appetizer[
The mucilage is extracted by softening the bark in hot water, followed by kneading it in a small amount of clean water. During kneading, the mucilage is released into the water, which is then added to stews to make them sticky[
]. Bark peeled from the stem can be stored for later use[
Fresh root scrapings are applied as a poultice on sores and small wounds[
The crushed leaf is applied in dressings for treatment of goitre and deformities[
In veterinary medicine in Burundi leaf sap is given for treatment of theileriosis[
The presence of this plant is sometimes seen as an indicator of degraded soils[
The plant is sometimes cultivated as an intercrop with pearl millet[
A fibre obtained from the bark is used for making string and fishing lines[
]. Reports on the quality are variable, it has been said to be of average quality only, but in India it is recorded to be soft, spinnable and nearer to jute in quality than Triumfetta rhomboidea[
When cultivated for the mucilage in the stems, cuttings of 15 - 20cm long are taken from the top end of the harvested stems. Since the crop does not perform well under direct sunlight, the cuttings are usually planted in the shade of a tree. They are planted in a circle with a spacing of 10 - 15cm. If the cutting is not planted straight upward, adventitious roots may develop, causing a reduced capacity to produce slime. Therefore, some farmers tie the cuttings to a taller plant, e.g. plantain, to ensure that they grow upright[
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