Species name
Commiphora rostrata1 Engl.


Local name(s)
Jano, Jino, Jenau, Janau (Somali), Dirraa, Dainjo (Borena)

General description
C. rostrata is a strong-smelling shrub to 3.5m. Stems exude a copious, clear, sap. Lateral shoots end in strong spines. The bark is smooth, dark purple or maroon to almost black. The flowers are dioecious, narrow-stalked, deep red. Fruits are red, pointed, with wiry stalks. The plant is usually leafless at time of flowering.

Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
The leaves and young shoots are edible. Leaves and young shoots are eaten raw directly from the tree. When chewed they taste salty and of oxalic-acid and bitter. The leaves are sometimes also used as a relish or cooked together with other foodstuff to add flavour. Bark and branches can be used to prepare tea and the stem pith is sometimes chewed to quench thirst. The bark from young plants can also be chewed. It is used by pastoralists when available and especially in times of food shortage at the end of the dry season and the beginning of the gu rains (long rains). The leaves can also be chewed to ease coughs and chest problems.

C. rostrata grows in Eastern Ethiopia, Somalia and north and south-eastern Kenya in dry open Acacia-Commiphora-Boswellia bushland, 80 - 1,050m. The species is common on sandy, gravelly soils or on rocky areas with rainfall 200 - 600mm.

Propagation method(s) 
Propagates vegetatively by stem cuttings.

Sample location(s)
Kelafo, Gode Zone Somali Region.

Of Commiphora species two varieties are known: rostrata, which is an erect shrub and the more common and widespread variety, and reflexa (Chiov.) Gillet with a spreading prostrate habit found in north-east Kenya, south-east Ethiopia and in Somalia.

No Photo! but drawings in Maundu et al., 1999: p. 99

1 Parts of the following description have been taken from Maundu et al., 1999: p. 99

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