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Solanecio biafrae - (Oliv. & Hiern) C.Jeffrey

Common Name Sierra Leone Bologi
Family Asteraceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats An understorey climber in the rainforest, especially in secondary jungle, roadsides, waste places and disturbed land of hilly country[299 , 332 ].
Range Western Africa - Guinea to Uganda, south to Gabon, DR Congo.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Solanecio biafrae Sierra Leone Bologi

Solanecio biafrae Sierra Leone Bologi


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Sierra Leone Bologi, Solanecio biafrae, is a tropical climbing herb with succulent leaves, long leaf stalks, and creamy white flowers in rounded clusters. It is not tolerant to drought and grows up to 3 m long. A commercially cultivated vegetable in Western Africa, the leaves and young stems are cooked and eaten. Leaf infusion, on the other hand, is consumed as a drink. The leaves are also used as a substitute for tea. Further, the plant has medicinal properties against cough, heart problems, wounds, sore eyes, rheumatic pain, edemas, and prurigenic allergies. It can be grown from seeds or cuttings.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Solanecio biafrae is a PERENNIAL CLIMBER growing to 2 m (6ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Crassocephalum biafrae S.Moore Senecio biafrae Oliv. & Hiern

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Shoots  Stem
Edible Uses: Drink

Leaves and young stems - cooked and used as a spinach[300 , 332 ]. Succulent[332 ]. They are usually cooked with pepper, tomato and onions - in such dishes there is no need for meat or fish because of the excellent properties of the vegetable[299 ]. The leaves are mucilaginous and sometimes they are first steamed in boiling water and then squeezed to remove the mucilage from the leaves. This squeezing is followed by 2 - 3 rinses with cold water to remove the mucilage as completely as possible[299 ]. A leaf-infusion is taken as a drink[299 , 332 ].

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.
Antirheumatic  Antitussive  Appetizer  Ophthalmic  Tonic

The plant has a reputation as a cough-cure, for heart-troubles, and to be aperitive and tonic, and for these uses it is eaten as a vegetable[332 ]. The plant is pulped into a paste for application to the breasts as a galactogene[299 , 332 ]. The leaves, or a leaf extract, is used as a wound dressing and to stop bleeding; a leaf extract is used to treat sore eyes[299 , 332 ]. The sap is taken by draught for treating coughs in children[332 ]. The sap is also rubbed on the body to relieve rheumatic pain, prurigenic allergies and localized oedemas A preparation is taken by the Igbo of S Nigeria for ?hot belly? (Indigestion?)[332 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: The plant continues to grow in the dry season when planted under the moist conditions of cacao plantations[299 ]. Plants quickly form a dense, weed-excluding canopy under the trees[299 ]. Other Uses None known

Special Uses

Food Forest  Ground Cover

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the moist, lowland tropics, found at elevations from sea level to around 1,300 metres[299 ]. It is found in areas where the average annual rainfall is about 1,500mm, often with a distinct dry season[299 ]. It strongly responds to water stress by developing shrivelled stems and yellowing of the leaves, and cannot survive under dry conditions[299 ]. Grows best in a well-drained, fertile soil rich in organic matter[300 ]. Prefers a position in light shade[300 ]. Crops are produced about 70 days after planting and continue for 1 year or more[300 ]. Plants can be harvested all year round if the flowering stems are removed[299 ]. Yields of 15 kilos per plant per annum are obtained[300 ]. The stems are very tender and break easily, even when handled with care[299 ]. Flowering shoots are removed in order to maximise leaf production[300 ]. There are several cultivars of superior quality[332 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - viability tends to be very poor, generally less than 2%. It should be sown in pervious humid soil under light shade. Germination takes several days[299 ]. Spontaneous seedlings are sometimes collected for transplanting[299 ]. Semi-ripe cuttings 10 - 15cm long with 4 - 6 nodes are used. It is recommended to remove the leaves and tops before planting[299 ]. Cuttings are planted straight into their permanent positions in moist well-drained soil rich in organic matter and always under a tree or shrub for shade and support[299 ]. Cuttings of mature shoots up to 25cm long[300 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Ota eke, Worowo, Yankonfeh.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Benin, Cameroon, Central Africa, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, East Africa, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinée, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda, West Africa.

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.

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


(Oliv. & Hiern) C.Jeffrey

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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