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Genus: Sesamum (sesame genus)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Asterids > Euasterid I > Order: Lamiales > Family: Pedaliaceae

About 15 species, native to Africa through to Europe through to India and Sri Lanka. There are 11 species native to southern Africa.

Species in southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Sesamum abbreviatum


Sesamum alatum

See Flora of Zimbabwe.


Sesamum angolense


Sesamum calycinum

See Flora of Zimbabwe, where it is split into S. c. baumii and S. c. pseudoangolense.


Sesamum capense


Sesamum marlothii


Sesamum orientale

[= Sesamum indicum]

Believed to have been domesticated in India but by 600 BC it was being cultivated in the Middle East and came to be an important constituent in Middle Eastern foods (e.g. tahini and halvah). The seeds are eaten. They have a high oil content (40-60%) and are used to produce sesame oil. Sesame is cultivated on a small scale in southern Africa and also grows wild (naturalised); additionally, the wild plant it originates from is native to the region.


Sesamum pedalioides


Sesamum rigidum


Sesamum schinzianum


Sesamum triphyllum

See Flora of Zimbabwe.


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