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The genus Corchorus was first described by a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist named Carl Linnaeus, who derived the name from an Ancient Greek word Korkhorus or Korkoros, the word reffered to a wild plant of uncertain identity. It’s a genus within the familyMalvaceae, under the subfamily Grewiodeae,it has about 100 species which have a pantropical distribution (i.e. across the tropics which are tropical and subtropical regions). Corchorus olitorius has different common names in different places such as in North Africa and the Middle East its called malukhiyah, in Turkey and Cyprus, its known as molohiya or molochas, while in Nigeria to the Yorubas it is known as Ewedu and to the Hausas it is known as Rama
Corchorusolitoriusgrows tall and could reach a height of 2-4m, it can be either unbranched or with only a few side branches, the leaves are alternate, simple, lanceolate, 5-15cm long, with an acuminate tip and a finely serrated or lobed margin, while the flowers are small (2-3cm diameter) and yellow, with five petals; the fruit is a capsule which has many seed and can be grown throughout during the year.
Corchorus as a Food
Corchorus olitorius leaves are consumed in the cuisines of various countries. It is used mainly in southern Asia, Middle East, North Africa and West Africa. When cooked, Corchorus olitorius has a mucilaginous (slimy) texture similar to Okra. Its seeds are used as flavour, while the leaves are dried and are used to make herbal tea. It is usually cooked into a kind of chicken stew in Turkey and Cyprus but in Egypt Corchorus olitorius has been one of their staple foods since the time of Pharaohs, in the Middle East one of the species of Corchorus (mallow-leaves) is used as stew with rice.
In Nigeria, amongst the Yorubas, it is cooked as a stew called Ewedu, the stew is a condiment to other starchy food such as amala, eba, semolina, foofoo etc. while in Hausa it is called Rama, which is used in making a soup called Taushe, it also forms a dish called Kwado(using groundnut cake). In Northern Ghana it’s called Ayoyo mostly eaten with Tuozaafi (food prepared with corn flour). Corchorus olitorius is known as Saluyot in Phillipines and consumed as a leafy vegetable with bamboo shoots while in Thailand its known as Bai powhich is eaten blanched (to whiten i.e. partial cooking), together with plain rice congee.
Benefits of taken Corchorus
The leaves of Corchorus olitorius contains Vitamins A, C and E, which are antioxidants and protects the body from degenerative diseases, Vitamin A helps in repairing body cells and improves eyesight, Vitamin C aids circulation, lowers the risk of eye orders, and fast wound-healing, while Vitamin E slows down the aches and pains associated with aging and increases stamina, these vitamins helps to beautify the body by increasing collagen production to keep the skin firm and looking radiant, this why most people believe that Corchorus olitorius was Cleopatra’s beauty secret. In Japan, the leaves of Corchorus olitorius are dried and made into pills which women take as beauty supplements. Corchorus olitorius is also rich in beta-carotene which is good for eyesight, iron for healthy red blood cells, calcium for strong bones and teeth, for those trying to lose weight; Corchorus olitorius is also a good option.
Corchorus olitorius prefers a very fertile soil and a hot humid climate; it can tolerate very wet conditions but not waterlogged soil. It can tolerate an annual precipitation between 40 and 429m, an annual average temperature range of 16ºc to 25ºc and a pH in the range of 4.5 to 8.2. Corchorus olitorius can be grown annually.
Corchorus olitorius is propagated by seed (To read more on how to cultivate your vegetables during dry season follow this link https://www.agriculturenigeria.com/research/articles/a-diary-of-a-happy-farmer )
Pest and Diseases
Fasinmirin J. T. and Olufayo A. A. (2009), Yield and water use efficiency of jute mallow Corchorus olitorius under varying soil water management strategies
Gbadamosi I. T. Alia A. E. and Okolosi O (2004), In-vitro Antimicrobial Activities and Nutritional Assessment of Roots of Ten Nigerian Vegetables Retrieved from http://www.sciencepub.net/
OgundareO.k,(2012), A Report on the Practical Year Training Programme ( Vegetable production Pg 5-9)
Olasantan F. O.,Makinde E. A. and Salau E. A., VEGETABLE CROPS PRODUCTION (HRT 501), Retrieved from http://www.unaab.edu.ng/(Pg12- Pg15)
Vegetables, Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2 Retrieved from https://books.google.com.ng (Pg. 220-Pg. 221)
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