Telfairia pedata

Invasive species Disclaimer

In view of the fact that some tree species are invasive, the world Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) has put in place a policy document on Invasive Alien Species, currently under draft available at Here.

For more information on this subject, please refer to
100 of the World's worst Invasive and Alien Species.




Species Index    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Multiple Criteria Search


Abelmoschus moschatus
Acacia aneura
Acacia angustissima
Acacia aulacocarpa
Acacia auriculiformis
Acacia catechu
Acacia cincinnata
Acacia crassicarpa
Acacia elatior
Acacia erioloba
Acacia etbaica
Acacia ferruginea
Acacia glauca
Acacia holosericea
Acacia karroo*
Acacia koa
Acacia laeta
Acacia lahai
Acacia leptocarpa
Acacia leucophloea
Acacia mangium
Acacia mearnsii*
Acacia melanoxylon
Acacia mellifera
Acacia nilotica subsp nilotica
Acacia pachycarpa
Acacia pennatula
Acacia polyacantha ssp. polyacantha
Acacia saligna
Acacia senegal
Acacia seyal
Acacia sieberiana
Acacia tortilis
Acacia xanthophloea
Acrocarpus fraxinifolius
Adansonia digitata
Adenanthera pavonina
Aegle marmelos
Afzelia africana
Afzelia quanzensis
Agathis macrophylla
Agathis philippinensis
Ailanthus altissima
Ailanthus excelsa
Ailanthus triphysa
Albizia adianthifolia
Albizia amara
Albizia anthelmintica
Albizia chinensis
Albizia coriaria
Albizia ferruginea
Albizia gummifera
Albizia julibrissin
Albizia lebbeck
Albizia odoratissima
Albizia procera
Albizia saman
Albizia versicolor
Albizia zygia
Aleurites moluccana
Allanblackia floribunda
Allanblackia stuhlmannii
Allanblackia ulugurensis
Alnus acuminata
Alnus cordata
Alnus japonica
Alnus nepalensis
Alnus rubra
Alphitonia zizyphoides
Alstonia boonei
Alstonia congensis
Alstonia scholaris
Altingia excelsa
Anacardium occidentale
Andira inermis
Annona cherimola
Annona muricata
Annona reticulata
Annona senegalensis
Annona squamosa
Anogeissus latifolia
Anthocephalus cadamba
Antiaris toxicaria
Antidesma bunius
Araucaria bidwillii
Araucaria cunninghamii
Arbutus unedo
Areca catechu
Arenga pinnata
Argania spinosa
Artemisia annua
Artocarpus altilis
Artocarpus camansi
Artocarpus heterophyllus
Artocarpus integer
Artocarpus lakoocha
Artocarpus mariannensis
Asimina triloba
Ateleia herbert-smithii
Aucomea klaineana
Averrhoa bilimbi
Averrhoa carambola
Azadirachta excelsa
Azadirachta indica
Azanza garckeana
Related Links

Local names:
Chinese (xi fei li,wen li), English (Zanzibar oil vine,queen's nut,oyster nut), French (koueme,chataigne de l'Inhambane,bane), German (talekurbis), Portuguese (sabina,castanha de l'Inhambane), Spanish (kueme), Swahili (mkweme,kweme)

Telfairia pedata is a liane reaching a height of up to 30 m when using tall trees as support. Stem herbaceous, ribbed, glabrous, tendrilled and becoming woody with age.

Leaves petiolate, 5-7 foliolate; median leaflet broadly lanceolate or elliptic, acuminate, acute narrowed into the petiole, obscurely sinuate-toothed, glabrous or with sparse scattered hairs especially on the main nerves; lateral leaflets slightly broader and occasionally lobed on the outer side at the base; petiolules up to 6.5 cm long; petiole glabrous, slightly hairy, 9-10 cm long.

Male flowers in racemes 6-23 cm; bracts 0.5-1.0 cm long and broad, pubescent, adnate to the pedicels below, expanded and toothed above; pedicels 5-30 mm long; receptacle-tube campanulate, pubescent outside 5mm long; lobes triangular-acuminate, pubescent and coarsely toothed, 1.6 cm long, petals obovate, 2 cm long, pinkish-purple and green striped basally; stamens 3-5. Female flowers with stalks 6.5-14 cm long; ovary green with an expanded base collar. 2.5 cm across, 10-12 ribbed, pubescent; receptacle-tube very short, petals larger than in male flowers.

Fruit green, ellipsoid with a lobed expanded base, bluntly 10-ribbed 45-60 cm long and 20 cm in diameter, weighing up to 15 kgs and dehiscent apically, containing between 70-150 seeds/fruit.

Seeds 3 cm in diameter, yellow or brown in colour, flat and nearly circular and covered with a network of fibrous material.

The generic epithet Telfairia commemorates Charles Telfair, 1778-1833, an Irish surgeon, naturalist, botanist and plant collector who sent seeds to Kew from Mauritian specimens. The specific name is derived from pedate (palmate) and means with lateral lobes divided. All 3 species of the genus are indigenous to Africa. T. pedata seems to be rapidly disappearing in Tanzania.

Ecology

T. pedata is frequently found in lowland rain forest and riverine forest.

Native range
Mozambique, Tanzania, Zanzibar

Tree management

Usually trellised until it reaches the branches of the supporting  tree, it produces very large, long, flat seeds which taste similar to almonds when roasted. The plant is a fast grower, hardy and deep rooting, within six months after planting mkweme can attain a length of up to 7 m. Commercial plantations have been successful using trellises, which must usually be strong and durable to support the massive growth and weight of the vines. The plants are spaced 15 m apart and the lines 3-4 m, ensuring yields between 3-7 tonnes per hectare. The seeds are ripe when the fruit splits.

Seeds germinate in 1-2 weeks.

T. pedata is frequently found in lowland rain forest and riverine forest.

In order to increase fecundity, vegetative propagation is necessary, to avoid an overpopulation of male plants as is the case naturally.

  The seed is eaten raw or cooked and is rich in extractable oil (61%). Nuts are especially mentioned as source of food for women during the lactating period.

After oil extraction the residue makes a valuable cake for livestock feeding.

Lipids:  The seed oil is extractable and can be used for a number of household purposes and cosmetics.

Ornamental:  T. pedata is an evergreen liane with beautiful foliage.

Intercropping:  The vine is part of a rich agroforestry system in the coffee-banana regions of Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro.