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Clappertonia ficifolia - (Willd.) Decne.

Common Name Bolo Bolo
Family Malvaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Swampy grassland, marshy places, stream-banks, valleys, fallow rice fields; forest fringes, thickets on margins of damp depressions; at elevations of 1,100 - 1,200 metres[328 ].
Range Tropical Africa - Senegal to Sudan, south to Angola and Mozambique.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Full sun
Clappertonia ficifolia Bolo Bolo

Clappertonia ficifolia Bolo Bolo
wikimedia.org Malcolm Manners from Lakeland FL, USA


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Clappertonia ficifolia is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2.5 m (8ft) by 1.5 m (5ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Honkenya ficifolia Willd.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

In traditional medicine in DR Congo the leaves are used as a cure for liver malfunction.

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
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Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

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Other Uses

The stems are a source of a valuable fibre that resembles jute (Corchorus spp.)[46 ]. The fibre is used for making rope, twine, cordage and mats, nets, hammocks, fish traps and paper pulp [317 ]. Clappertonia ficifolia is one of the fibre-producing species within the mandate of the International Jute Study Group (formerly the International Jute Organization) together with jute (Corchorus spp.), kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.), roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) and Urena lobata L. Although most research attention is directed to Corchorus olitorius L., the prospects for natural fibres are such that attention should be given to Clappertonia spp. as well. Widely planted in gardens as an ornamental.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber  Management: Coppice  Regional Crop

Clappertonia ficifolia occurs from sea-level up to 1200 m altitude in swamps, riverine and swampy forest, forest fringes and thickets. In fallow land it can become dominant or even form an almost pure, dense stand and these populations are often exploited for fibre production. Clappertonia ficifolia is widespread and behaves as a weed in fallows. Hence, there do not seem to be threats of genetic erosion.

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • Management: Coppice  Cut to the ground repeatedly - resprouting vigorously. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Propagation is possible by either root cuttings or seeds. Experiments in Nigeria just after the Second World War showed that an excellent fibre could be obtained when the stems of flowering plants were retted for about 28 days.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here


Africa, Burkina Faso, Central Africa, Central African Republic, CAR, East Africa, Guinea, Guin?e, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mozambique, Pacific, Sierra Leone, West Africa. Introduced and grown as an ornamental in many tropical gardens, for instance in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Borneo, New Guinea, Panama and the southern United States.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

In fallow land it can become dominant or even form an almost pure, dense stand and these populations are often exploited for fibre production.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Willd.) Decne.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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