Telfairia occidentalis

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This article is about an African plant, known as the Ugu, among other names.
Fluted gourd
Telfairia occidentalis.jpg
Telfairia occidentalis, in an illustration from 1877
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Telfairia
Species: T. occidentalis
Binomial name
Telfairia occidentalis
Hook.f.

Telfairia occidentalis is a tropical vine grown in West Africa as a leaf vegetable and for its edible seeds. Common names for the plant include Fluted gourd, Fluted pumpkin, and Ugu. Telfairia occidentalis is a member of the curcurbitaceae family and is indigenous to southern Nigera.[1] The fluted gourd grows in many nations of West Africa but is mainly cultivated in Nigeria, used primarily in soups and herbal medicines.[2] Although the fruit is inedible, the seeds produced by the gourd are high protein and fat, and can therefore contribute to a well-balanced diet. The plant is a drought-tolerant, dioecious perennial that is usually grown trellised.

Telfaira occidentalis is traditionally used by an estimated 30 to 35 million people Indigenous people in Nigeria, including the Efik, Ibibio, and Urhobo;[3] However, it was predominantly used by the Igbo tribe, who continue to cultivate the gourd for food sources and traditional medicines.[4] A recurring subject in the Igbo’s folklore, the fluted gourd is noted to have healing properties and was used as a blood tonic, to be administered to the weak or ill.[5] It is endemic to southern Nigera, and was an asset to international food trades of the Igbo tribe Akoroda.[6]

Structure/psychology[edit]

The fluted gourd fruit is quite large; one study documenting a range of 16-105 centimeters in length, and an average of 9 centimetres in diameter.[7] The same study found the seed count in larger gourds to reach upwards of 196 per fruit, typically measuring between 3.4 and 4.9 centimeters in length.[8] In both the pistillate and staminate varieties, Telfairia occidentalis flowers grow in sets of five, with creamy-white and dark red petals, contrasting with the light green colour of the fruit when young, and yellow when ripe.[9] Dioecious flowering is most common in the fluted gourd, with very few documented cases of monoecious flowering

Nutritional content[edit]

Considered an “oil seed”, the fluted gourd is high in oil (30%).[10] Shoots of Telfairia occidentalis contain high levels of potassium and iron, while seeds are composed of 27% crude proteins and 53% fats.[11] A study conducted by the Federal Institute of Technology Akure in West Africa that examined the chemical properties of the fluted gourd, concluded that the leaves contain a high amount of antioxidants, hepatoprotective and antimicrobial properties.[12]

The young shoots and leaves of the female plant are the main ingredients of a Nigerian soup, Ofe Egwusi. The large (up to 5 cm), dark-red seed is rich in fat and protein and can be eaten whole, ground into powder for another kind of soup, or made into a fermented porridge.

Growing Conditions/Methods[edit]

Telfairia occidentalis is typically grown vertically on trestle-like structures; however, it can be allowed to spread flat on a field.[13] A beneficial outcome of growing the gourd flat is the suppression of weeds, especially when intercropped with a tall, upright plant such as maize. The growing period begins in April or May when seeds are planted;[14] the first leaves and shoots can be harvested after a month and can be collected every 2–4 weeks thereafter.[15] Seeds are planted directly in the soil, typically in groups of three to increase output in a case of a failed germination.[16] Fruit is typically harvested between October and December.[17] The seeds are subsequently collected and dried; a portion of them are consumed, while the remainder are stored for the following planting season. Although dependent upon soil type, the fluted gourd is able to ratoon and subsequently produce many flushes of fruit over long periods.[18] It is able to ratoon with the highest degree of success in well-drained soils.[19] It is propagated using the seeds. Its seed is housed in another greater covering or hard shell which protects it from harm. It survives drought and can retain its life in the root even after many years. It is a creeping plant and grows well if staked with bamboo sticks.

Storage[edit]

Although the seeds of Telfairia occidentalis store well, precautions must be taken when storing any portion of the plant; particularly if the gourd is to be stored whole. This is not a typical storage method, as the fluted gourd pod (the fruit itself) is highly perishable, and can only be stored up to 4 weeks.[20] If the gourd is left intact and proper storage and shipping are not practiced, pod rot can manifest, even from small lesions, and cause serious damage to the entire fruit; rendering it unusable.[21] Furthermore, care must be taken when storing the leaves of Telfairia occidentalis, which rapidly lose nutritional and water content when stored improperly.[22] These loses can be reduced by storing harvested leaves in sealed, polyethylene bags, as well as at lower temperatures (2-4˚C).[23]

Pests/pathogens[edit]

A major concern of buyers and sellers of fluted gourd is pod rot. Infection occurs most frequently during transport, although it can also arise before the plant is harvested, starting as a small lesion that creates an avenue for pathogens to penetrate the fruit.[24] It is most common for the affected area to appear brown in colour, indicating a contamination of R.Stolonifer or Erwina. However, the infected area may also appear black (indicating the presence of A. Niger) or grey (B. theobromae).[25] Other symptoms associated with the presence of these pathogens include; softening of the pod tissue accompanied by a pungent odour, or watery fluid in the fruit.[26] To decrease instances of pod rot, damage to fruit during harvest and transport should be avoided Emebiri L. and Nwufo, M.,. "Pod Rots of Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia Occidentalis Hook. F.) in Imo State, Nigeria." International Biodeterioration (26)1. (1990): 63-68. .

Uses[edit]

The edible seeds of Telfairia occidentalis can be boiled and eaten whole, or fermented and added to “ogili.”.[27] The fluted gourd has been traditionally utilized by Indigenous tribes as a blood tonic, likely due to its high protein content.[28] Flour produced by the seeds can be used for high-protein breads, although more research is needed to fulfill this potential food source.[29] Furthermore, the shoots and leaves can be consumed as vegetables.[30]

Practical Information[edit]

The roots of Telfairia occidentalis are locally known to be a potent poison to humans and should therefore not be consumed.[31] However, the seeds of the fluted gourd are very high in oils, and have potential to become a staple, high-protein oil food source in Nigera.[32] One study conducted to investigate levels of protein pre and post-germination, found that germination significantly increased albumin and globulin protein factors, which has been shown to increase levels of lysine in a plant.[33] This is useful knowledge as the fluted gourd has reportedly low levels of lysine.[34] Furthermore, male plants mature on average 11 days before females, and continue to produce flowers after female plants stop producing flowers.[35] The fruit of the plant is large, and can weigh up to 13 kilograms (29 lb), and is inedible.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Akoroda, M. O. "Ethnobotany of Telfairia occidentalis (Curcurbitacae) among Igbos of Nigera." Economic Botany (1990): 29-39. Jstor.
  2. ^ Nwanna, Esther Emem, et al. "Antioxidant and Hepatoprotective Properties of Telfairia occidentalis Leaf (Fluted Pumpkin)." Thesis and Dissertations (Biochemistry) (2008): n. pag. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. <http://dspace.futa.edu.ng:8080/jspui/handle/123456789/587>
  3. ^ Akoroda, M. O. "Ethnobotany of Telfairia occidentalis (Curcurbitacae) among Igbos of Nigera." Economic Botany (1990): 29-39. Jstor. <http://www.jstor.org.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/stable/4255209?seq=1>.
  4. ^ Okoli, Bosa E., and C. M. Mgbeogu. "Fluted Pumpkin, Telfairia occidentalis: West African Vegetable Crop." School of Biological Sciences, University of Port-Harcourt 37.2 (1983): 145-49. Springer.
  5. ^ Akoroda, M. O. "Ethnobotany of Telfairia occidentalis (Curcurbitacae) among Igbos of Nigera." Economic Botany (1990): 29-39. Jstor. <http://www.jstor.org.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/stable/4255209?seq=1>.
  6. ^ Akoroda, M. O. "Ethnobotany of Telfairia occidentalis (Curcurbitacae) among Igbos of Nigera." Economic Botany (1990): 29-39. Jstor. <http://www.jstor.org.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/stable/4255209?seq=1>.
  7. ^ Okoli, Bosa E., and C. M. Mgbeogu. "Fluted Pumpkin, Telfairia occidentalis: West African Vegetable Crop." School of Biological Sciences, University of Port-Harcourt 37.2 (1983): 145-49. Springer.
  8. ^ Okoli, Bosa E., and C. M. Mgbeogu. "Fluted Pumpkin, Telfairia occidentalis: West African Vegetable Crop." School of Biological Sciences, University of Port-Harcourt 37.2 (1983): 145-49. Springer.
  9. ^ Okoli, Bosa E., and C. M. Mgbeogu. "Fluted Pumpkin, Telfairia occidentalis: West African Vegetable Crop." School of Biological Sciences, University of Port-Harcourt 37.2 (1983): 145-49. Springer.
  10. ^ Akoroda, M. O. "Ethnobotany of Telfairia occidentalis (Curcurbitacae) among Igbos of Nigera." Economic Botany (1990): 29-39. Jstor. <http://www.jstor.org.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/stable/4255209?seq=1>.
  11. ^ Aiyelaagbe, I.O.O, and A.A Kintomo. "Nitrogen Response of Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis Hook. F) Grown Sole or Intercropped with Banana." Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 64 (2002): 231-35.
  12. ^ Nwanna, Esther Emem, et al. "Antioxidant and Hepatoprotective Properties of Telfairia occidentalis Leaf (Fluted Pumpkin)." Thesis and Dissertations (Biochemistry) (2008): n. pag. <http://dspace.futa.edu.ng:8080/jspui/handle/123456789/587>
  13. ^ Okoli, Bosa E., and C. M. Mgbeogu. "Fluted Pumpkin, Telfairia occidentalis: West African Vegetable Crop." School of Biological Sciences, University of Port-Harcourt 37.2 (1983): 145-49. Springer.
  14. ^ Emebiri L. and Nwufo, M.,. "Pod Rots of Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia Occidentalis Hook. F.) in Imo State, Nigeria." International Biodeterioration (26)1. (1990): 63-68.
  15. ^ Okoli, Bosa E., and C. M. Mgbeogu. "Fluted Pumpkin, Telfairia occidentalis: West African Vegetable Crop." School of Biological Sciences, University of Port-Harcourt 37.2 (1983): 145-49. Springer.
  16. ^ Akoroda, M. O. "Ethnobotany of Telfairia occidentalis (Curcurbitacae) among Igbos of Nigera." Economic Botany (1990): 29-39. Jstor. <http://www.jstor.org.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/stable/4255209?seq=1>.
  17. ^ Emebiri L. and Nwufo, M.,. "Pod Rots of Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia Occidentalis Hook. F.) in Imo State, Nigeria." International Biodeterioration (26)1. (1990): 63-68.
  18. ^ Aiyelaagbe, I.O.O, and A.A Kintomo. "Nitrogen Response of Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis Hook. F) Grown Sole or Intercropped with Banana." Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 64 (2002): 231-35.
  19. ^ Akoroda, M. O. "Ethnobotany of Telfairia occidentalis (Curcurbitacae) among Igbos of Nigera." Economic Botany (1990): 29-39. Jstor. <http://www.jstor.org.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/stable/4255209?seq=1>.
  20. ^ Emebiri L. and Nwufo, M.,. "Pod Rots of Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia Occidentalis Hook. F.) in Imo State, Nigeria." International Biodeterioration (26)1. (1990): 63-68.
  21. ^ Emebiri L. and Nwufo, M.,. "Pod Rots of Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia Occidentalis Hook. F.) in Imo State, Nigeria." International Biodeterioration (26)1. (1990): 63-68.
  22. ^ Nwufo, M. I. "Effects of Water Stress on the Post-harvest Quality of Two Leafy Vegetables, (Telfairia occidentalis) and - Storage Pterocarpus Soyauxii during Storage." J Sci Food Agric 64 (1994): 265-69.
  23. ^ Nwufo, M. I. "Effects of Water Stress on the Post-harvest Quality of Two Leafy Vegetables, Telfairia occidentalis and - Storage Pterocarpus Soyauxii during Storage." J Sci Food Agric 64 (1994): 265-69.
  24. ^ Emebiri L. and Nwufo, M.,. "Pod Rots of Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia Occidentalis Hook. F.) in Imo State, Nigeria." International Biodeterioration (26)1. (1990): 63-68.
  25. ^ Emebiri L. and Nwufo, M.,. "Pod Rots of Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia Occidentalis Hook. F.) in Imo State, Nigeria." International Biodeterioration (26)1. (1990): 63-68.
  26. ^ Emebiri L. and Nwufo, M.,. "Pod Rots of Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia Occidentalis Hook. F.) in Imo State, Nigeria." International Biodeterioration (26)1. (1990): 63-68.
  27. ^ Badifu, Gabriel I.O. "Food Potentials of Some Unconventional Oilseeds Grown in Nigeria - a Brief Review." Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 43.3 (1993): 211-24
  28. ^ Akoroda, M. O. "Ethnobotany of Telfairia occidentalis (Curcurbitacae) among Igbos of Nigera." Economic Botany (1990): 29-39. Jstor. <http://www.jstor.org.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/stable/4255209?seq=1>.
  29. ^ Giami, Sunday Y. "Effect of Germination on Bread-Making Properties of Wheat-Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis) Seed Four Blends." Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 58 (2003): 1-9.
  30. ^ Akoroda, M. O. "Ethnobotany of Telfairia occidentalis (Curcurbitacae) among Igbos of Nigera." Economic Botany (1990): 29-39. Jstor. <http://www.jstor.org.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/stable/4255209?seq=1>.
  31. ^ Akoroda, M. O. "Ethnobotany of Telfairia occidentalis (Curcurbitacae) among Igbos of Nigera." Economic Botany (1990): 29-39. Jstor. <http://www.jstor.org.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/stable/4255209?seq=1>.
  32. ^ "Nutritional Evaluation of Germinated Futed Pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis Hook) Seeds." Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 58 (2003): 1-9.
  33. ^ "Nutritional Evaluation of Germinated Futed Pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis Hook) Seeds." Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 58 (2003): 1-9.
  34. ^ "Nutritional Evaluation of Germinated Futed Pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis Hook) Seeds." Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 58 (2003): 1-9.
  35. ^ Akoroda, M. O. "Ethnobotany of Telfairia occidentalis (Curcurbitacae) among Igbos of Nigera." Economic Botany (1990): 29-39. Jstor. <http://www.jstor.org.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/stable/4255209?seq=1>.

External links[edit]