Hamle tilian (Amargna) Rasoota (Konsogna),
Zabine (Hamer-Bena), Tchumatia (Wolayetgna)
Amaranthus species are common
annual weeds. The plant has a taproot and hairless branches. It grows up
to 90cm tall. The leaves have a wavy edge and the small green flowers are
in clusters in leaf axils.
preparation methods and palatability
Amharic name for the species, 'Hamle tilian,' means Italian spinach. In
Amhara and Tigray Regions the cooked leaves are sometimes also consumed
together with 'Entate vallha' (Salvia nilotica). The small seeds of the
plant can be ground and used to make 'quecha', a flat bread, or 'ga'at',
'Abyssinian porridge', by mixing the grounded seeds with other flour varieties
such as teff, barley, wheat and sorghum. For 'quecha' and 'ga'at' the preparation
take 1 - 2 hours. Unpleasant side effect is the hard digestion that can
cause some nausea.
Young leaves, stem & seeds are
edible. The plant begins to grow at beginning of the main rains and the
first leaves can already be harvested after 12 days. Women collect the
weed and separate the young leaves that are boiled in water with salt.
In Southern Ethiopia the upper part
of the plant is collected, then sun-dried and cooked. It grows abundantly
during the rainy season on farm fields and is normally weeded, but in food
shortage periods, farmers leave it in the field and collect its leaves.
The species is considered a typical famine food because it causes diarrhea
when consumed too much.
leaves of Amaranthus spp. are high in vitamin A content and furthermore,
have a high protein content of 27.8%. Fresh leaves contain higher quantities of
both calcium and phosphorus than cabbage.
Grows in the low- and midlands as
well as on higher altitudes (900 - 2,380m) on a wide range of soils.
Propagates by seeds, direct sowing.
(1) Bako-Gazer, (2) Hamer-Bena Woreda
(South Omo); (3) Koindo-Koyisha (North Omo), (4) Dibla Seat Kebele, Ganta
Afesum Woreda (Eastern Tigray)
also in Stroud A, Parker C, 1989: p. 20/21
Maundu et al., 1999: p. 57-63.