Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

tef (or teff) Eragrostis tef (formerly abyssinica), is the native grain of ethiopia (formerly Abyssinia). It grows about 75 cm (30") high on a stalk not much thicker than an oat straw, jointed at regular intervals. The flowering heads bear countless minute crimson flowers, which eventually yield seeds smaller than a pinhead.

The plant is prolific and is the most important food crop in Ethiopia, the only country which grows it as a cereal grain. (Elsewhere, as in Kenya, Australia, and S. Africa, it is occasionally cultivated for hay.)