Ehb, Qud, Quda (Somali), Yeheb nut (English)
It is a stiff erect evergreen shrub or small tree up to 2m with red glands on stems and leaves. The leaves are leathery, compound and with 1 to 6 pairs of leaflets, each one to 3cm long, oval-oblong, the underside covered with red glands. The flowers are made of buds with glands and 5 yellow petals that are ~ 1cm long. Fruit pods are 4 to 6cm long with a thing upturned beak. Inside are 1 to 4 oval seeds, the 'nuts', each 2 to 4cm long.
Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
The nuts are commonly used as food by pastoralists and the leaves can be infused as tea. They are dried and taste nicely, a bit like almond nuts. They are also of high economic value and are considered a 'famine food' in times of exceptional drought conditions, even though the plant needs some rain in order to develop its fruits. In 'Mervelle' settlement in Boh Woreda (Warder Zone, Somali Region), a tin full of nuts sold for 4000 Somali Shillings (~ 0.25 US $) in July 2001. As the nuts have a nice taste and are on top very nutritious, the tree has a considerable potential as a food crop in the driest of the semi-arid areas in the Horn of Africa. Unfortunately, the species has been over-exploited much during past famine times and has therefore become rare nowadays. Nevertheless, the Somali people know of the species' usefulness and some have started to grow it and produce tree seedlings (in Boh, Warder Zone, Somali Region).
The nuts are of high nutritional value.
C. edulis grows in semi-arid bushland and scrub on sandy soils of the Bereha agroclimatic zones in eastern Somali Region (Warder Zone) and across the border in Puntland and Somalia (0 to 600m). The roots go deep to tap underground water sources.
Propagates by seeds, seedlings, self-seeding once established. Seeds are susceptible to insect attack and should therefore not be stored for long.
Sample location (s)
Mervelle, near Degob village, Warder Zone, Somali Region
The leaves have high tannin content. It used to be a common tree in Somalia and in the border areas to Ethiopia and Puntland. A red dye is easily extracted from young stems.
1 Parts of the following description have been taken from Bekele-Tesemma et al., 1993: p. 170/171
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