Beautiful Cleome Gynandra is growing fast in our Gonarezhou area with the recent rain.
Thomas Mutombeni, head guide at Chilo Gorge, says:
“it is a food plant, the leaves of which the Shangaans cook and eat like spinach. Shangaans call it bangala while the Shona refer to it as nyevhe. Common names include Shona cabbage, African cabbage, spiderwisp, and cat’s whisker.!”
The leaves are taken off the plant individually, leaving the whole plant to continue growing…This is a “weed” of cultivation, growing in sandy areas on abandoned village sites within the Gonarezhou National Park, in disturbed places, along road sides ….
All the women of the village, and our staff from Chilo Gorge Lodge, are rushing to harvest it.
Collecting with great delight, everyone looking forward to tasty relish with their next meal…
Happy chilo staff
freshly harvested leaves
Thomas and I had some cooked with a touch of peanut butter, for our dinner, Yum! and then tried it cooked straight, oil and salt, pungent and delicious. The chefs then got creative and produced a plateful cooked with garlic!
Now much of it will be blanched and dried, to supply tasty food to numerous families throughout the next few months…
even the leaf stalks are tasty…
Very rich in vitamins, it is a great health food.
Postscript: the gorgeous Cleome species we see around us are perhaps not edible…don’t try any till you check with a botanist such as Bart Wursten..on his Flora of Zimbabwe website…
Species of Cleome grow in the rocky areas of Chilo gardens…exquisite flowers…
Here is Cleome macrophylla……..
gorgeous Cleome macrophylla, photograph by Bart Wursten
A Cleome by any other name might NOT taste as sweet…….!?
The Save Valley Conservancy stretches along the upper reaches of the great Save River in the south east of Zimbabwe. The Gonarezhou National Park laps against the southern banks of the Save River and between these two nestles the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. These three celebrated wildlife areas form part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, (GLTFCA)- a unique wilderness jewel which is home to the “Big Five” (endangered Black and White rhinos, elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard) and the ”Little Six” (Klipspringer, Suni, Duiker, Steenbok, Sharpe's Grysbok and Oribi). Endangered African wild dogs, Cheetah, Brown hyena, Bat-eared foxes and a host of special birds and plants contribute to the immense variety of this ecosystem. Communities around the GLTFCA contribute to innovative partnerships with National Parks and the private sector, forming a sound base on which to manage social, economic and environmental issues.
This is home to artist and writer Lin Barrie and her life partner, conservationist Clive Stockil.
Expressing her hopes, fears and love for this special ecosystem with oil paints on canvas, Lin Barrie believes that the essence of a landscape, person or animal, can only truly be captured by direct observation.
Lin Barrie states: “Through my art, and my writing, I feel an intimate connection with the natural world, and from my extensive field sketches of wild animals, people and landscapes, I create larger works on canvas.
Lin's work is in various public and private collections in South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Australia, England, Canada, Sweden and the United States of America. She is represented by galleries in South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Kenya and Florida, USA.