Hausa Potato

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Hausa potato the brown or black tuber of Solenostemon (formerly Coleus) rotundifolius, a plant indigenous to tropical Africa, possibly Ethiopia. It was probably taken to India by the Arabs and onwards to the E. Indies by the Portuguese. (It is also found in Madagascar and Mauritius.) It may also be called the Sudan potato and has many scientific botanical synonyms.

The Hausa potato is eaten both raw and cooked; and the plant has edible leaves.

Two close relations, of which the first belongs to Asia, the second to tropical Africa, and which are also eaten like potatoes, are: C. blumei, sayabana or Jacob’s coat; and Plectranthus esculentus (syn Coleus dazo), Livingstone or Kaffir potato, daju, or rizuka. However one calls them, these vegetables are of some importance regionally as cultivated crops, capable of playing understudy to the true potato in climates where the latter would not thrive.