Cleome gynandra (Cat whiskers, Spider-wisp, African
Oorpeultjie, Snotterbelletjie [Afrikaans]; Morotho [Northern
Sotho]; Muruthu [Venda]; Bangara, Nyevhe, Rudhe, Runi, Tsuna [Shona]; Ulude
> eukaryotes >
Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants)
> Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants)
> Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering
plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids >
Eurosid II > Order: Brassicales
> Family: Cleomaceae > Genus:
Native to Africa but is now widespread in tropical and
subtropical regions of the World. Within southern Africa it occurs in South
Africa (Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape,
North West), Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. It is a
nutritious green leafy vegetable and is harvested from wild populations and is
also cultivated for food. In Setswana and Sesotho
languages, the aerial parts of plants that are eaten as green leafy
vegetables are referred to as morogo and Cleome gynandra is one of these.
Van der Walt et al. (2009) found that there were
high levels of calcium and magnesium in Cleome gynandra, higher in
fact than the levels recorded from
and Swiss chard whereas Iron and Zinc levels
were similar to, and selenium levels were lower than, those in the latter two
vegetables. Carotenoids levels are reasonably high and similar to those found in
spinach. Carotenoids are transformed into vitamin A in the body and hence are
nutritionally important. Polyphenols concentrations found in Cleome
gynandra are similar to those in commercially grown vegetables. The latter
substances are important antioxidants and help to prevent thickening of the
Hence, Cleome gynandra is a nutritious vegetable and is especially valuable to resource poor
households in rural and peri-urban areas in southern Africa.
Van der Walt et al. (2006) show that toxic
Fusarium fungi are more prevalent on Cleome gynandra (and other
vegetables) that are growing near home-grown
maize. There is a problem with maize harbouring high levels of Fusarium
that can spread to other crops.
van der Walt, A.M., Loots, D.T., Ibrahim, M.I.M. and
Bezuidenhout, C.C. 2009. Minerals, trace elements and antioxidant
phytochemicals in wild African dark-green leafy vegetables (morogo).
South African Journal of Science 105: 444-448.
van der Walt, A.M., van der Linde, E., Alberts, M.,
Madjadji, P, Jivan, S.D. and Bezuidenhout, C.C. 2006. Fumonisin-producing
Fusarium strains and fumonisins in traditional African vegetables (morogo).
South African Journal of Science 102: 151-155.