Paul Latham; Augustin Konda ku Mbuta

Raphia sese – a very special Raphia palm

Raphia sese (Arecaceae) Common names: Nsaku (Kongo = knife with a long blade), ba di magangu (Kongo). Description A palm which grows in dense clumps up to 10 m tall. Female flowers are produced at the base and male flowers…

African milkbush causes painful blistering and inflammation

Euphorbia tirucalli (Euphorbiaceae) Common names: Ngego, ngewu, nlembonlembo (nlembo = finger) (Kongo), Euphorbe effilée, tirucalli (Fr), finger tree, finger euphorbia, African milkbush Description A leafless succulent shrub with cylindrical shoots, 2 – 8 m tall. All parts produce copious white…

Some varieties of edible wild mushrooms in DR Congo

Bubwaka bwaka is found on oil palm trunks and other trees in dense shade. These mushrooms can be pink or white. Bufwa ngudi growing on the end of a dead oil palm trunk in shade. Bulongo (Lentinus squarrosulus) appears between…

Some important edible caterpillar species in Kongo Central, Part 2

In former articles on this website, we already discussed two edible caterpillar species from Kongo Central. One species was ‘Bisu’ Nudaurelia petiveri, which was described here. And the other species was ‘Kaba’ Lobobunaea phaedusa, described at this article there. Additionally,…

Some important edible caterpillar species in Kongo Central, Part 1

In former articles on this website, two edible caterpillar species from Kongo Central were already discussed. One species was ‘Bisu’ Nudaurelia petiveri, which was described here. And the other species was ‘Kaba’ Lobobunaea phaedusa, described at this article there. In…

Wax extraction from honeycombs

For wax extraction, the empty combs are first put in water which is heated until the wax melts. The liquid is then poured through a piece of coarse cloth and while still hot this is twisted or squeezed until as…

Improvised protective equipment for beekeepers

Locally made-up smokers and overalls are used for inspection or harvesting the hives as an improvised equipment. These have also become expensive and are often shared by a group of beekeepers. Improvised protective overalls The coveralls are made from old…

Alternative beehives in D.R. Congo

In recent years the shortage and expense of timber and corrugated iron sheet have encouraged people to use alternative materials for beehives. The range of substitutes includes old 200-liter fuel drums cut in half. Their ends removed, and their sides…

Beekeeping in Congo, Central province

Beekeeping is only done since the 1980’s Honey hunting has been a traditional activity in Bas-Congo, as in much of Africa. But beekeeping in Congo has only been practiced in the area since the early 1980’s. The beehive in common…

Breadfruits (Artocarpus altilis) in Central Africa

Synonyms A. communis, A. incises; Common names Kikwa ki santu Petelo (Kongo), arbre à pain (Fr.), breadfruit Description A tree up to 35m tall producing a wide crown. All parts of the tree produce a white, bitter latex. Fruits are…

Green caterpillars, called ‘Kaba’ in D.R. Congo

The name Kaba is used for several large green caterpillars. Lobobunaea phaedusa can be up to 10 cm long and is usually found singly between October and May. When disturbed the caterpillar contracts in defence. They are sometimes very difficult…

Bush Yams in Western- and Central Africa

Synonym: D. cayenensis var. praehensilis; Common names: Kisadi, sadi, bisadi (Kongo), igname de brousse (Fr.), bush yams, forest yam Description A sturdy climbing plant, up to 15 m long, growing from a large tuber which often protrudes from the ground….

Edible caterpillars Nudaurelia petiveri

This species is widespread throughout west, central, and southeastern Africa. It appears in Kongo Central in December and January. Up to 200 eggs are laid in clusters on the undersides of young leaves. They hatch after about two weeks. Larvae…

‘Leopard claw’ grass for catching rats and mice

Common names Nkansu ngo (= claw of the leopard), Leopard claw grass, nzefo za ngo, kansingo (Kongo) Description A perennial grass with culms 30 – 150 cm high, growing from scaly rhizomes. Leaf blades are spear shaped, 10 – 40…

Collection of edible caterpillars in D.R. Congo

Children are the main caterpillar collectors, though most people, while walking in the bush, keep a constant watch for them. Frequently people will bring back young caterpillars and place them on trees near their homes where they can keep an…

Traditional processing of cassava in Congo

Image sequence of cassava’s long way from root to market and shows the processing of cassava in its various steps Source This article is an excerpt of Paul Latham’s and Augustin Konda ku Mbuta’s books ‘Useful plants of Kongo Central…

Edible Caterpillars for food in Congo

Rural families in Kongo Central find it very difficult to get sufficient protein to eat. Hunting has cleared out most of the larger animals and even many of the smaller animals, such as the cane rat, are now difficult to…

Calamus deerratus – an African rattan vine

Synonym C. laurentii:; Common names Nkau (Kongo), Rotin (Fr.), Rattan vine Description A slender to moderately robust rattan palm, climbing up to 20 m high, and often forming dense clumps. The stems and leaves are armed with spines. Stems have…

Cassava, a staple food in Central Africa

Synony:m M. utilissima; Common names: Dyoko, Saka Saka (Kongo), Manioc (Fr.), Cassava roots Description A perennial shrub, up to 3 m high, with enlarged tuberous roots and a well-developed root system. There are many varieties, some of which are bitter…

Tetracera alnifolia – a vine for water shortages

Tetracera alnifolia (Dilleniaceae); Synonym T. alnifolia subsp. alnifolia; Common names Kiziazi, nziazi, nziazia (Kongo), liane à eau (Fr.), water tree Description A woody creeper up to 20 m long and up to 10 cm. in diameter. Leaves are 4 -…

Edible caterpillars in D.R. Congo – an introduction

My first experience with edible caterpillars took place in 1985 when my wife and I lived at Kavwaya near Kisantu in what was then the Bas-Congo province of D.R. Congo. On one occasion I was shown how to hunt for…

African mammee apple in West- and Central Africa

Common names Mafambu, dimbu dingi (dingi = gum, resin, incense) (Kongo), bokodji (Lingala), African mammee apple, oboto or djimbo (commerce). Scientif name: Mammea africana. Description A large forest tree up to 45 m tall with a straight, cylindrical trunk and…

Okra plants in D.R. Congo

Okra plants (Abelmoschus esculentus): Synonym: Hibiscus esculentus Common names Dongo, lonto (Kongo), dongo dongo, molenda (Lingala), gombo (Fr.) Description An erect annual herb usually 1 – 2 m. high. Leaves are 3 to 5 lobed, spirally arranged and may be…