Maerua crassifolia is a species of plant in the Capparaceae family. It is native to Africa, tropical Arabia, and Israel, but is disappearing from Egypt. Foliage from this plant is used as fodder for animals, especially camels, during the dry season in parts of Africa.
The plant grows commonly in Yemen, where it is called Meru. In the 18th century the plant's Arabic name Meru was used as the source for the genus name Maerua. The 18th-century taxonomist was Peter Forskal, who visited Yemen in the 1760s.
It is used as a common nutrition source in central Africa, where it is called jiga and made into soups and other dishes. Maerua crassifolia was considered sacred to the ancient Egyptians.
- Botanical Information
- Niger Famine
- Egyptian Myths
- Maerua crassifolia in West African plants – A Photo Guide.
- Maerua crassifolia in Flora of the Arabian Peninsula and Socotra, Volume 1, year 1996, page 366, by A.G. Miller and T.A. Cope. Also Maerua in Flora Aegyptiaco-Arabica, by Peter Forskal, year 1775, page 104 (in Latin).
- Cook, J.A. et al. (1998). Nutrient content of two indigenous plant foods of the Western Sahel: Balanites aegyptiaca and Maerua crassifolia. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 11:3 221-30.
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