Species Name
Leptadenia hastata (Pers.) Decne 


Local Name(s)
Kayilla/Hayilla, Cheila (Konsogna), Metsa (Hamer-Bena), Moroh (Somali)

General description
It is a creeping plant with alternate acuminate leaves. Stems light green. Young shoots spreading into the air with long internodes. The leaves are up to 10cm long, mostly ovate, light green. The flowers are cream or yellowish green. The fruits are two-valved, conical, dehiscing to release cottony winged seeds. When crushed, the plant exudes sticky sap.

Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
leaves are edible. Young leaves are collected, washed and cooked before consumption. Local key informants in Hamer-Bena woreda stated that ‘people who don’t have money rely on the leaves of this plant for survival’. This means that the species is considered a real famine food when poor and destitute people rely on the plant for survival. Poor people even collect and consume the leaves in normal times. In Alduba village, Hamer-Bena woreda, South-Omo, farmers grow the species on the homestead fence so that they have the food ready available if needed.

Nutritional value
Raw leaves are rich in vitamin A.

Growing in lowland bush, riverine bushland and forests in southern Ethiopia. The plant prostrates in open area or climbs on bushes in altitudes ranging 500 - 1,500m.

Propagation Method(s) 
by seeds

Sample location(s)
(1) Jarso Kebele, Konso; (2) Alduba village, Hamer-Bena Woreda (South Omo)

Even in normal years the poor are dependent on this plant as a vegetable. In Konso Special woreda the species is marketed. One bundle of leaves goes for 20 cents (January 2001). The sap from the stem is applied to wounds and the leaves are an important camel, goat and cattle fodder.

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L_hastataplant.jpg (59430 bytes)
  L. hastata on a farm field (top), Alduba, Hamer-Bena woreda

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L. hastata on a farm field in Jarso Kebele, Konso

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L. hastata mature leaves ready for consumption & flowers

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L. hastata  on a living fence, Alduba, Hamer-Bena woreda, South Omo

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L. hastata leaves offered on a market in Fasha, Konso