In Ethiopia bees are able to collect pollen and nectar from flowers of this plant over an eight month period.
Common name Ukwipa
An erect herb, occasionally bushy, an annual plant or short-lived perennial. Leaves are long, 2-8 cm and thin. Flowers are small, white and in flowering heads up to 40 cm long. Anthers are pink or orange, turning yellow when mature.
Grows as a weed in disturbed land and on riversides between altitudes of 1,200-3,000 m. In Africa, Caylusea abyssinica is present from Sudan and Ethiopia south to Burundi, Malawi and Rwanda. Some people leave wild plants growing in their gardens or may even plant the seed.
The plant is grown easily from seed.
In Umalila in Tanzania, the young leaves and stems are eaten, chopped up and cooked with other vegetables. The plant is also used to feed rabbits and goats. The boiled leaves are used medicinally to treat stomach pains and for intestinal worms.
by Paul Latham, UK
First published in BfD Journal #84