|Traditional Food Plants of Kenya (National Museum of Kenya, 1999, 288 p.)|
Daasanach: daal-guo, daalle, dalaam (fruit) English: ivy gourd, scarlet gourd Kamba: kimuya, kimowe (Machakos, Makueni), imore, imondiu (Mwingi) Kikuyu: kigerema Luhya (Maragoli): kidunda Luo: mutkuru, nyamutkuru, nyathund-guok, mitkuru (Homa Bay) Maa: ndegegeya, olamposhi, enkaiserariai Marakwet: kipchimchim Mbeere: kigerema, kirigirigi (Riandu), ndambawangaa Pokot: ariapongos, pchichen, pchichin (fruit), tarmuch, ketporapis Rendille: lahuhuge Samburu: nkaisiruaruai Somali: parampar, barambar Turkana: ekadala, arekoi, elero, emanimun
Description: A climbing or prostrate perennial plant arising from a tuberous rootstock. Stems weak, angled, with tendrils. LEAVES: Usually 3-5 lobed (lobes often divided into further lobes), margin usually with small hard red teeth. FLOWERS: Male and female flowers borne on separate plants, yellow to light yellow. Male flowers usually solitary or paired, female flowers solitary. FRUITS: Ellipsoid, to 7 cm long by 4 cm wide, rounded at both ends, green, ripening to bright red from the bottom upwards. Ripe fruits soft and easily detached from the plant.
Ecology: Tropical Asia, tropical Australia, Arabia, Fiji, introduced to West Indies and tropical South America. In Africa from Senegal east to Somalia. In Kenya, e.g. in Moyale, Turkwel Valley (riverine bushed grassland), Kisumu, and Kibarani in Kilifi District. Grows in dry Acacia bushland and riverine bushland. Commonly found climbing on bushes and hedges. Zones III-V.
Uses: FOOD: The soft juicy, bright red fruit are eaten raw (+) (Kamba, Turkana, Pokot). Ripe fruit are beaten into a solution, boiled in water, flour added and made into stiff porridge (Turkana). The fruits are dried, ground into flour and mixed with cereal flour (Turkana). Young leaves occasionally used as a vegetable (Luo (Siaya), Mbeere, Kikuyu, Pokot (Nginyang)), mashed and mixed with maize and pulses (Kikuyu, Mbeere).
MEDICINAL: Leaves mixed with ghee are used as medicine for hima (pain on the left side of the abdomen and lightening of the skin) in children. Medicine is applied externally (Luo).
OTHER: Seeds chewed (Daasanach). Fodder for camels and all livestock (+). Fruits eaten by birds.
Season: Flowers in January-February (Marsabit), March-April (Wajir, Isiolo, Turkana), December (Homa Bay), September (Taita), November (Kitui, Samburu). Fruits in March (Samburu, Kajiado, Kitui), October (Mombasa), June (Kilifi).
Remarks: In Asia the fruits are occasionally candied and sold in local markets. This species resembles C. trilobata (Cogn.) C. Jeffrey (Kikuyu: kigerema, Mbeere: kirigirigi, Samburu: nkaisiruaruai). Stems slender but strong. Leaves usually 3-5 lobed and very rough above (usually more so than in C. grandis) and softly hairy below. Fruits ellipsoid, often with a narrow end, bright red with longitudinal stripes of light green or yellow. Very common around Nairobi. Found in the central part of the country. Rift Valley and coastal area and in northern Tanzania but not known anywhere else. The leaves are used as a vegetable (Mbeere, Meru, Kikuyu). C. adoensis (A. Rich.) Cogn. (Kamba: kyambatwa, kimoe, Luhya (Bukusu): nandemu, Luhya: obutsiba). Grows in most parts of Kenya, e.g. in Kitui, Kitale, Thika, Karura forest. Also in southern Africa. A creeping or climbing plant with deeply lobed leaves. Fruit pale green with dark green interrupted longitudinal lines, ripening to orange-red. Altitude 0-2,400 m, especially in bushland, grassland and at roadsides. Fruits are edible. Normally associated with snakes. Liked by birds.