Plectranthus rotundifolius or Solenostemon rotundifolius, commonly known as native or country potato in Africa and called "Chinese potato" in India is a perennial herbaceous plant of the mint family (Lamiaceae) native to tropical Africa. It is cultivated for its edible tubers primarily in West Africa, as well as more recently in parts of Asia, especially India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
P. rotundifolius is closely related to the coleus plants widely cultivated as ornamentals and is often classified as a member of the genus Solenostemon rather than Plectranthus. It was formerly placed in the now-defunct genus Coleus, most of whose members have now been re-assigned to the genus Solenostemon.
Use and cultivation
The egg-shaped tubers of the native potato appear very similar to the unrelated true potato, though they are smaller than modern commercial varieties. They are typically boiled but may also be roasted, baked or fried. Their flavor is bland but sweeter than P. esculentus.
P. rotundifolius is one of three Plectranthus species native to Africa grown for their edible tubers and using the same vernacular names. The others, P. esculentus and P. edulis, native to southern Africa and Ethiopia respectively, have not spread beyond Africa.
|Vernacular names of Plectranthus rotundifolius|
|English||Chinese, country, Coleus, Frafra, Hausa, native, Sudan, or Zulu potato|
|French||pomme de terre de Madagascar, du Soudan ou d'Afrique
coléus à tubercules
|Dioula, Minianka||fabirama, fabourama|
|Frafra (Gurenne)||pesa, pessa|
|fa-birama. fabirama (fabourama)
usu ni gé (oussou-ni-gué)
usu ni fin (oussou-ni-fing)
|Kannada||ಸಂಬ್ರಾಲಿ saṃbrāli (sambrali)|
|Konkani||कूक kūka (kooka)|
|Malayalam||കൂർക്ക kūrkka (koorka, koorkka)|
|Tamil||சிறு கிழங்கு ciṟu kiḻaṅku (siru kizhangu)|
|Indonesian||kentang hitam, Jawa, or kleci|
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