Plectranthus rotundifolius

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Plectranthus rotundifolius
Koorka 0124.jpg
Plectranthus rotundifolius DSCN0612.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Plectranthus
P. rotundifolius
Binomial name
Plectranthus rotundifolius
  • Calchas parviflorus (Benth.) P.V.Heath
  • Coleus dysentericus Baker
  • Coleus pallidiflorus A.Chev.
  • Coleus parviflorus Benth.
  • Coleus rehmannii Briq.
  • Coleus rotundifolius (Poir.) A.Chev. & Perrot
  • Coleus rugosus Benth.
  • Coleus salagensis Gürke
  • Coleus ternatus (Sims) A.Chev.
  • Coleus tuberosus (Blume) Benth.
  • Germanea rotundifolia Poir.
  • Majana tuberosa (Blume) Kuntze
  • Nepeta madagascariensis Lam.
  • Plectranthus coppinii Cornu
  • Plectranthus coppinii Heckel
  • Plectranthus ternatus Sims
  • Plectranthus tuberosus Blume
  • Solenostemon rotundifolius (Poir.) J.K.Morton
P. rotundifolius flowers.
P. rotundifolius tubers, with ruler.

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.[2]

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 reassigned to the genus Solenostemon.

Use and cultivation[edit]

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.[2]

Native potato is overwhelmingly a subsistence crop, though flour milling is reported in Burkina Faso[2]

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
Region Language Term
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
Chad ngaboyo
Dioula, Minianka fabirama, fabourama
Frafra (Gurenne) pesa, pessa
Hausa tumuku
fa-birama. fabirama (fabourama)
usu ni gé (oussou-ni-gué)
usu ni fin (oussou-ni-fing)
Mossi (Mooré) peinssa
South Asia
Kannada ಸಂಬ್ರಾಲಿ saṃbrāli (sambrali)
Konkani कूक kūka (kooka)
Malayalam കൂർക്ക kūrkka (koorka, koorkka)
Sinhala ඉන්නල innala
Tamil சிறு கிழங்கு ciṟu kiḻaṅku (siru kizhangu)
South East
Indonesian kentang hitam, Jawa, or kleci
Javanese kentang ireng
Malay ubi keling, ubi kemili


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b c National Research Council (2006). Lost crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. pp. 269–285. ISBN 0-309-66582-5.