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Edible Indigenous plants

Edible Indigenous
A variety of indigenous plants have been eaten over the years.
Most are cooked before being eaten, other than fruit and some leaves
which are used as a relish.
Leaves – about 120 species are eaten
These are mostly cooked and then dry meal is added to make a green
porridge, fresh leaves are then added just before serving.
Cooked leaves are also made into cakes which are served as a side dish.
At the end of summer, leaves are dried for winter use.
Acacia caffra - Common Hook Thorn
Asparagus sp - Cats Tails Asparagus
Bulbine frutescens - Stalked Bulbine
Centella asiatica - Pennywort
Diascia integerrima - Twinspurs
Dombeya rotundifloia - Wild Pear
Eriocephalus africanus - Wild Rosemary
Hypoestes aristata - Ribbon Bush
Imperata cylindrica - Cottonwool Grass
Pavetta lanceolata - Weeping Bride's Bush
Phoenix reclinata - Wild Date Palm
Portulacaria afra - Spekboom
Trema orientalis - Pigeon Wood
Tulbaghia violacea - Wild Garlic
Zantedescia aethiopica - Arum Lily
Zantedescia albomaculata – Arrow Leaf Arum
Fruit – about 1000 species of fruit are eaten
The fruit is either eaten raw, dried or ground into a paste which is then cooked with leaves or meal.
Berchemia zeheri - Red Ivory
Carissa macrocarpa - Big Num Num
Carpobrotus - Sour Fig
Cassinopsis illicifolia - Holly Cassinopsis, Lemon Thorn
Celtis africana - White Stinkwood
Chrysanthemoides monilifera - Bush Tick Berry
Diopsyros lycioides - Transvaal Bluebush
Diospyros simii - Star Apple
Diospyros whyteana - Bladder Nut
Dodonaea angustifolia - Sand Olive
Dovyalis caffra – Kei Apple
Dovyalis zeheri - Wild Apricot
Ehretia rigida - Puzzle Bush
Ekebergia capensis - Cape Ash
Euclea crispa - Blue Guarri
Gardenia cornuta - Natal Gardenia
Gardenia thunbergia - Starry Gardenia
Grewia occidentalis - Crossberry
Halleria lucida - Tree Fuchsia
Harpephyllum caffrum - Wild Plum
Jasminum multipartitum - Starry Wild Jasmine
Kraussia floribunda - Rhino Coffee
Mimusops zeyheri - Transvaal Red Milkwood
Ochna serrulata - Mickey Mouse Bush
Olea africana - Wild Olive
Pappea capensis - Jacket Plum
Phoenix reclinata - Wild Date Palm
Podocarpus falcatus - Outeniqua Yellowwood
Podocarpus latifolius - Real Yellowwood
Portulacaria afra - Spekboom
Rhoicissus sp
Rhus lancea - Karee
Rhus leptodycta - Mountain Karee
Scutia myrtina - Cat Thorn
Strychnos spinosa - Spinny Monkey Orange
Tabernaemontana elegans - Toad Tree
Trichilia emetica - Natal Mahogany
Typha capensis - Bullrush
Vangueria infausta - Wild Medlar
Vitex obovata - Kei Fingerleaf
Ziziphus mucronata - Buffalo Thorn
Meel
Dried, ground seed made into a porridge and mixed with milk.
Rhus sp
Schotia sp
Teas
Fresh or dried leaves are added to boiling water to make an infusion.
Buddleja auriculata - Weeping Sage
Buddleja salvifolia – Sagewood
Geranium incanum - Carpet Geranium
Olea africana - Wild Olive
Coffee
Dried leaves and roots are used to make a coffee substitute .In some cases the seeds are dried, roasted and then ground for coffee.
Acacia sp
Diospyros whyteana - Bladder Nut
Strelitzia nicolai - Natal Wild Banana
Schotia sp
Ziziphus mucronata - Buffalo Thorn
Wine and beer
The process always starts with a fermented cereal or berries eg.(Marula) and frequently leaves are then used to flavour the brew eg.(Rhamnus prinoides).
Beer
Kiggelaria africana - Wild Peach
Phoenix reclinata - Wild Date Palm
Wine
Phoenix reclinata - Wild Date Palm
Vangueria infausta - Wild Medlar
Ziziphus mucronata - Buffalo Thorn
Salt substitute
Cyperus alternifolius – Umbrella Plant - burnt and the ash is used as salt
Edible roots
Agapanthus praecox - Common Agapanthus
Aponogeton distachyos - Cape Pondweed
Commiphora mossambicensis – Pepper-Leaf Corkwood
Crassula ovata - Pink Joy
Cussonia paniculata - Cabbage Tree
Markhamia acuminate
Rhoisissus tridentata - Baboon Grape
Flowers
The nectar is sucked out of Aloe flowers and others are cooked with meel.
Aloe sp
Aponogeton distachyos - Cape Pondweed
Bulbine frutescens - Stalked Bulbine
Dombeya rotundifloia - Wild Pear
Ensete ventricosum - African Wild Banana
Gladiolus sp
Halleria lucida - Tree Fuchsia
Hibiscus sp
Tulbaghia acutiloba - Wild Garlic
Tulbaghia violacea – Siler Lace
Gum – chewed mainly by children
Acacia sp
Warning
In a garden environment where fertilizers are used extensively, leaves could cause nitrate poisoning .Rather collect leaves from the wild.
Unless you know what you are doing, AVOID the following:
 All plants with milky latex except for the Ficus family (figs) and Carissa family
 All mushrooms and fungi
 All fruit that look like tomatoes
 All bulbs that are onion shapes and underground tubers
References
Fox,FW.Norwood Young ,M.E 1992 Food from Veld Delta Books,Craighall

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