Ethno-botanical and morphological characterisation of cocoyams (Colocasia esculenta L. Schott and Xanthosoma sagittifolum L. Schott) germplasm in Malawi

Cocoyam accessions of Malawi were characterised using ethnobotany and morphological characters. Thirty above ground qualitative characters were evaluated. The cultivars were identified mainly based on the predominant leaf base and petiole attachment. The study revealed farmers’ preferences of cocoyam varieties of interest to them. These included uses of plant parts for food, livestock feed, medicine, ornamental and adaptation to different agro-ecologies. The study further revealed significant amount of cocoyam diversity in Malawi. Farmers maintaining this diversity also hold rich ethno-botanical and ecological knowledge of the cocoyam cultivars that they are conserving. A thorough collection country wide and a complete agro-morphological evaluation study are recommended.
Des accessions de cocoyam du Malawi ont été caractérisées en utilisant l’ethno-botanique et les caractères morphologiques. Trente caractères qualitatifs sur la surface du sol ont été évalués. Les cultivars ont été identifiés, étant principalement basés sur l’attachement prédominant de base et de pétiole de la feuille. L’étude a indiqué les préférences des fermiers sur les variétés d’intérêt de cocoyam pour eux. Celles-ci comprennent les utilisations des parties de la plante pour se nourrir, nourir le bétail, se soigner, orner et aussi s’adapter aux différentes agroécologies. En plus, l’étude a indiqué une quantité significative de la diversité de cocoyam au Malawi. Les fermiers, maintenant cette diversité, tiennent également la connaissance ethnobotanique et écologique riche des cultivars de cocoyam qu’ils conservent. Une collecte minutieuse des données dans tout le pays et une étude d’évaluation agro-morphologique complète sont recommandées.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
Southern Africa
RUFORUM Conferences and Workshops
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
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Printed resource


"The 2010 RUFORUM Biennial Conference was the second in the series. The main objective of the Biennial conferences is to provide a platform for agricultural research for development stakeholders in Africa and beyond to actively exchange findings and experiences, while at the same time learning lessons towards improving performance of the agricultural sector and ultimately people’s livelihoods. The biennial conference is RUFORUM’s most comprehensive meeting for the diversity of stakeholers in agriculture. It is especially dedicated to graduate students and their supervisors, grantees in RUFORUM member universities and alumni. It is a platform for peer review, quality control, mentorship, networking and shared learning. This record contains an extended abstract accepted under the theme of agronomy".