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Ethnobotany of Telfairia occidentalis (Cucurbitaceae) among Igbos of Nigeria

M. O. Akoroda
Economic Botany
Vol. 44, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1990), pp. 29-39
Published by: Springer on behalf of New York Botanical Garden Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4255209
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Ethnobotany of Telfairia occidentalis (Cucurbitaceae) among Igbos of Nigeria
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Abstract

The fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis), an important cucurbitaceous leaf and seed vegetable, is indigenous to the west tropical rain forest area from Bendel to Cross Rivers states of Nigeria (c. longitude 7°-8° E and latitude 5°-6° N). Though endemic to southeastern Nigeria, Telfairia is of local ethnobotanical importance in the folklore and the dietary and cropping systems of Igbos and their neighbours. There is no reported definitive ethnobotanical study relating to this cucurbit. Telfairia has long been important in the internal food trade of Igbos. Like other leaf vegetables, it is of low commercial value, but can in some cases provide an appreciable cash income to small farm families. Its leaves, succulent shoots, and seed kernels constitute the usual ingredients that are popular and regularly consumed in Igbo soups. Soups made of leaf vegetables are essential for consumption of starchy pastes of yam, cassava, or cocoyam, which are frequently consumed in the humid areas of Nigeria. Many good attributes account for the increasing importance of this chief vegetable among 30-35 million people in Nigeria.

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