Species Name
Urtica simensis (Steud.) 


Local Name(s)
Samma (Amargna)

General description
Samma is an erect non-branched, wild-growing nettle plant. Leaves are oval and coarsely toothed. The whole plant is cowered with stinging hairs. The plant grows all year round and therefore can be harvested whenever there is a need.

Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
leaves are edible. As the leaves are stinging the hands have to be protected for collection. The leaves are cut and spread out between two hides on the ground. The leaves have to be crushed between the two hides by either stamping on them or by using the hands to rub them. This process is necessary to avoid the burning sensation of the leaves. Then inspect if there are any insects, caterpillars or other vermin among the crushed leaves. After that the leaves can be boiled. When boiled the leaves have to be grid one more time to become a smooth puree, a bit like spinach puree. The puree can be salted and peppered and eaten either by its own or together with injera. The time required for cooking is approximately 3 hours. Interviewed farmers have reported no unpleasant side effects. The plant is predominately collected by women and children, but eaten by everybody in times of food shortage.

Grows in the highlands and especially found in the highlands of North & South Gonder, North & South Welo, North Shewa, Wag Hamra (2,500 - 3,500m). The plant grows wild as a weed in uncultivated fields and pastureland.

Propagation Method(s) 
Propagates by seeds and rhizomes 

Sample location(s)
(1) Wag Hamra; (2) Gidan Woreda, North Welo; (3) Mekane Birhan, Jana Mora Woreda, North Gonder; (4) Debark, North Gonder 

The plant is also used as a medicine to ease aching joints and for liver complaints. 

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‘Sama’ plants in the Simien Mountains in Debark

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Skin basket full with collected 'sama' leaves, Wag Hamra 

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Woman collecting 'sama' in uncultivated fields, Wag Hamra

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'Sama' plants in Jana Mora Woreda, North Gonder. 

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'Sama' plants in Jana Mora Woreda, North Gonder.