Species Name
Caralluma sprengeri (Damm.), Pachycymbium sp. (new name)


Local Name(s)
Baqibaqa (Konsogna), Ango Shahay (Tigrigna)

General description
Pachycymbium sp. are small stick-like drought tolerant plants 'without leaves' of soft and plastic-like constitution. It is purposely grown between the stones of the walls of the field terraces. There are three species of Pachycymbium sp varying in colour and length. The first variety is of brown colour and reaches up to 25cm in length (see picture below on the right), the second is green and slightly longer (in the middle of the picture), the third is grey, short and thick, approx. 10cm (on the right in the picture below). The plant is without true leaves but rather has got rudimentary spine looking like structures on its shoot.

Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
Farmers explained that baqibaqa tastes relatively good without unpleasant side effects when boiled and consumed. In Konso it is mostly eaten together with kurkufa (in Konso language), locally prepared sorghum balls. Pregnant women prefer it for the purpose of satisfying their strange needs. Otherwise, it is consumed only in hungry period. The plant is boiled without being chopped and when its ready, it becomes slippery. 

Mostly found and planted in the lowlands and midlands of Konso special Woreda.

Propagation Method(s) 
Vegetative by cuttings. Farmers say it is easy to multiply and cultivate.

Sample location(s)
(1) Dokatu Kebele, Konso; (2) Debla Se'et Kebele, Ganta Afesum, Eastern Tigray.

The Pachycymbium sp species are typical famine food plants cultivated and kept on-farm for food emergency situations. The species might have a high potential for further domestication and improvement of the germplasm.

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Baqubaqa1Konso.jpg (94552 bytes)
Baqibaqa' from Konso. 

Baqibaqa1.jpg (31109 bytes)
Fresh 'Ango Shahay' from Tigray

Barbara_inKonso_Jan2001.jpg (61247 bytes)
'Baqibaqa' in Buso Kebele, Konso growing in a terraced farm field (top) and on the stone wall of the terraces for not competing with other crops (below).

Barbara_TerracedFieldKonso_Jan2001.jpg (70852 bytes)