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Author Topic: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)  (Read 1003 times)

LivingParadise

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Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« on: April 01, 2017, 11:05:35 AM »
Well, I had written a thread about this in the old forum, but it appears that forum has been deleted so I can't copy it over.

So to start off with, this is a good tropical potato, tasting very much like standard white or yellow potato, and growing pretty easily. The top greens and flowers are also edible, but as the plant is related to mint, they have a strong flavor and may not be best suited to large quantity eating like a vegetable. More like an herb. Without much help and in poor rocky soil, my experience so far is that they grow very tiny. I hope that the tubers I did leave in the ground will grow new plants in the next season. But so far, they have not sprouted in the dry season, even with supplemental water.

If you put effort into it, you'll probably have more success. This should give some idea of how to do it, and benefits:
http://www.bioversityinternational.org/fileadmin/PGR/article-issue_130-art_65-lang_en.html


This is a great plant for hot climate food security.

stuartdaly88

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Re: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2017, 06:12:57 AM »
This is indigenous to my country but completly unavailable to buy anywhere.....
Very disapointing for me:(
I forget what it was called again but there is another indigenous "potato" that I read about in Lost crops of Africa. Equally as impossible to find for me though :'(

Really breaks my heart that there are so many indigenous edibles are impossible to find. Iv contacted various botanical gardens and indigenous sellers with little luck.
Actually if I even get an answer back im surprised as these places dont seem that interested in my qust ha ha
Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

stuartdaly88

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Re: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2017, 06:19:41 AM »
Found the name of the other native species I cant get a hold of but want desperatly!

Solenostemon rotundifolius
Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

LivingParadise

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Re: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2017, 10:45:23 AM »
Thanks, I looked up Solenostemon rotundifolius (a.k.a. Plectranthus Rotundifolius), also referred to as Chinese potato or Hausa potato, and found that it has some very strong medicinal properties.

I also found this video of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8EKX8CDOFs
Apparently the person who shot it is to be found here: http://www.ourbeautifulgarden.com/
Can't tell though where they reside - if near to you, maybe they would have an idea of how you can get ahold of it.

I wonder if contacts in a West African nation might be able to help you. I do not know about rules regarding bringing plants across borders there, but perhaps someone at a university in another nation would share your passion for preserving indigenous African crops and have access to some you haven't been able to locate in South Africa.

shaneatwell

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Re: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2017, 08:59:07 PM »
I just recently put my P. esculentas in the ground. Surprised you can't find it stuart, i got two different plants off amazon i believe. If I ever get seeds, I'll send some your way.
Shane

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Re: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2017, 08:44:47 AM »
I have many P. rotundifolius I can trade or sell. If anyone is interested. Super easy to grow and the potatoes are very good as stated above. Can do cuttings or even rooted plant plugs from trays.

DG
Trying to grow it all!

stuartdaly88

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Re: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2017, 03:40:30 AM »
I just recently put my P. esculentas in the ground. Surprised you can't find it stuart, i got two different plants off amazon i believe. If I ever get seeds, I'll send some your way.
Thanks Shane!!
Yeah you gu
y
s
have access to many things I cant seem to find even though they are actually indigenous here!
Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

LivingParadise

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Re: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2017, 07:42:36 PM »
Had a huge surprise today. I had pulled one of the tiny Livingstones a number of months ago, and left it on my counter. It's so small, I forgot about it. I went to try to cut it up finally today to eat it (just for fun, since it's not even really an inch long), and it had sprouted a tiny stalk of leaves! YAY.

So excited, because although I have not searched the yard thoroughly, I am not too optimistic right now that any of the spuds I left in the ground survived to make new plants. We are just edging out of the dry season, so I hope to be pleasantly surprised. But if not, it turns out that a good way to get these started may simply be to leave them sitting in a slightly warm area indoors with no care whatsoever, and they may start all on their own! I had assumed it would take plenty of rich soil and watering and some sun... but apparently not. But having said that, I don't see any sign that the 20 or more that I left in various locations in the ground and in pots have done absolutely anything as of now. But hope is not dead!

shaneatwell

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Re: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2017, 10:19:03 PM »
The bigger of my two plantings.


Shane

stuartdaly88

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Re: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2017, 01:21:54 AM »
Shane that pic reminded me there are a few ornamental species available at nurseries(just not esculentus !)

Anyone know if there are any other Plectranthus species of edible worth?

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Caesar

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Re: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2017, 08:29:27 AM »
P. esculentus, P. edulis and P. rotundifolius are the Potato Mints (I'm looking for all three). P. amboinicus is Cuban Oregano (I can personally vouch for it being a close match, flavor-wise); it propagates readily from cuttings (I think they all do?). That's the extent of my knowledge.

greenman62

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Re: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2017, 09:36:29 AM »
i just got this from an ebay seller
(named "Uncle Chan", ive bought from him several times, lots of interesting seeds...)

i recieved 2 large spuds with root attached that looked viable. (not dried out)

i put the whole spuds in the ground abut a week ago
havent seen them pop up yet, but im guessing it will take more time.


   Plectranthus rotundifolius (Hausa POTATO)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/UNCLE-CHAN-3-oz-Hausa-POTATO-Country-potato-SWEET-AROMA-COOKING-YAM-RARE-EDIBL-/152413165493?hash=item237c8857b5:g:LMsAAOSwt5hYZLW-


Caesar

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Re: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2017, 11:38:39 AM »
Anyone else here have P. esculentus? And have y'all noticed strong differences in foliage to P. rotundifolius? I know the tubers are different, not sure about the foliage.

I got my hands on P. rotundifolius, and it's growing quite nicely. It seems to be the most readily available of the three. I'm still on the lookout for P. esculentus, and P. edulis seems almost impossible to find.

LivingParadise

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Re: Livingstone Potato (Plectranthus esculentus)
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2017, 03:30:53 PM »
An update, my Livingstone potatoes have in fact come back for the first time. I actually didn't recognize them, because I saw this strange plant coming up in various places where I normally grow vegetables, and I didn't remember ever seeing something like it before. I wondered if it was a weed, but if it was it was a strange one. It was not one of the things I had planted recently. But I tasted the leaves to see if there were edible, and really liked it - kind of a peppery taste that would be great in a salad... As it turns out, I must have planted a tiny potato here and there around the yard and forgotten. I then found the mini leftover potato I had planted just a few months ago to be sprouting a ton of leaves, and realized the connection with the plant I found elsewhere. Went down to where I had planted the original patch, and sure enough, I had not even noticed but there were a ton of leaves and even a flower spike! Apparently they need heat and humidity, and plenty of water. It's still pretty dry here, but finally a little more rain.

So I still don't have enough to spare (will be eating all of this the second I can do so without killing the crop), but this seems like a decent bet for survival, that if anyone gets their hands on some and has the time to really grow a lot of them, it might make an easy plant to distribute elsewhere. Given my conditions here, this was so far an easier plant to get to return in its second year after planting than most others have been. So far, the Yacon which were right next to these, have not returned at all. Nor the torch gingers yet, which is really depressing, because they were my favorite. But if I have to have this pepper taste in everything, I guess I'll get used to it. I'd rather eat food from my yard, than have to go to a store, even though all my favorite things are harder to grow, particularly with the lack of steady rain here, and then the inundation of salt water periodically. Really wish the salad hibiscus would come back up too, because they were delicious!

I'm not a big potato person, but it would be great if I could get a really big crop of P. esculentus growing someday! It's pretty to look at, and could be a great stable food source where other crops may fail. Long periods of drought apparently do not kill it off either, although it appears to be dormant for a while until it gets more water.

 

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