Vernonia Amygdalina

Vernonia Amygdalina

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This shrub-forming Vernonia from lowland forests in eastern Africa is notable for its large spear-tip-shaped leaves. It would make an interesting and relatively fast-growing ornamental accent plant for warm, moist tropical environments. The plant has anti-cancer and other medicinal properties and is used to treat a number of ailments.

Uses

Bitterleaf is a highly appreciated vegetable in West and Central Africa and can be consumed in various dishes. In Nigeria, where the Yoruba name for this crop is ‘euro’ and the Igbo call it ‘rugby’, leaves are boiled in soups. Leaves are sometimes sold in the market after being shredded, parboiled, and made into fist-sized balls. In Cameroon, the processed leaves are cooked with meat and/or prawns mixed with ground peanuts to make a famous dish called ‘ndole’. Alternatively, whole leaves are cooked together with cassava or yam tubers, whereas the leaves are also dried and ground to powder for use in soups. In Cameroon, the leaves are sometimes eaten unprocessed and raw mixed with palm oil and salt. The leaves are browsed by goats. Dry stems and branches provide fuel. Young twigs are used as toothpicks or chewing sticks. The plant is sometimes grown as a hedge. The branches are used as stakes to line fields.

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