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This resource of wild edible plants in Uganda was contributed by Sara Sytsma. She shared: 

 I ask people in the villages to teach me about different plants they eat. I started on a "book" with the information I could collect so far. Some Ugandan agricultural development staff have helped me too.

If you have additions to the book, please let us know by sharing them on the wild foods conversation.

For each plant category, plants are listed in alphabetical order by Ateso name. Other names are also given. Then there is a description of its growth habit, an explanation of its uses, and instructions for preparing for consumption. 


  • Under each category, list the plants in alphabetical order by Ateso name
    • list other names (common, Latin)
  • Give a description of its growth habit
  • Picture/drawing of the plant in different life stages - flowering, fruiting
    • signs of fruit maturity or of any other part being ready to eat
  • Explain uses - what parts of the plant, at what stage of growth, what time of year, edible/medicinal
  • Provide some instructions for preparing it


Ecomai (Balanites aegyptiaca, desert date) 

  • Indigenous
  • fruit is edible.  It turns yellow when ripe, but has an inedible, hard seed in the middle.
  • To eat the leaves: boil the leaves three times, discarding water after each time, then pound them and mix with g-nut paste

Edu (Vitellaria paradoxa - formerly Butyrospermum parkii, Shea) 

  • Indigenous
  • can eat the fruit raw (it is tastier than avocado), nuts (seed) are used for oil - you can fry food with the oil and also use it to keep babies' skin smooth.  It adds flavor to foods like cowpeas and mung beans.  You know the fruit is ready to eat when it falls from the tree and it feels soft.  The seed is ready at the same time.  You have to dry it in the sun until it gets hard - de-hull and dry again slightly and then fry mixed with gravel or sand.  Cool, then pound.  Boil in water again and then skim the oil off that moves to the surface.  Medicinal use - put the oil on a wound to help it drain

Edukudukut (Borassus aethiopum, borassus palm) 

  • Indigenous
  • fruit - is mature when it turns from green to orange and is ready when it falls from the tree.  Knock it on a hard surface until it breaks open. You chew on the orange part, spit out the fiber, and discard the seed.

Eidibala (Morus indica, Morus alba, Mulberry) 

  • Exotic
  • fruit is edible raw when it is dark purple or black


  • this is a very large tree - fruits March-May, small fruits are edible when they turn from green to purple/black

Ekarukei/Ewelu (Vitex doniana, black plum) 

  • Indigenous
  • fruits are edible when color changes from green to black - April-June

Ekumi (Diospyros mespiliformis, jackalberry, African ebony) 

  • edible fruit when it is yellow/tan mixed with brown - mainly in Karamoja, has very small, round seeds

Ekwalakwalet/Eturugugu/Etutukurut (Strychnos innocua, Strychnos spinosa, elephant orange, spiny monkey ball, kaffir orange) 

  • Indigenous
  • fruit is round, almost the size of a fist, grows in clusters, opposite each other.  Mature when they change from green to yellow.  Pericarp is woody, so knock it on a hard surface so it opens and then consume the soft testa inside around the seeds.  Stems are used for brushing teeth.  Seeds are very poisonous

Elamai (Ximenia americana, yellow plum, sea lemon)

  • fruits are round, small, grow in clusters.  They are mature when they are yellow/brown.  The pericarp is very thin and papery - peel it off before consuming the fruits.  Just suck on it until you have enjoyed the sour taste, then spit it out (don't swallow)

Epeduru (Tamarindus indica - tamarind) 

  • Indigenous
  • fruit (called apedur), young leaves (called adudur).  Boil young leaves and use the water squeezed from the leaves mixed with regular water to help boil things like acok flour to mingle it and help it stick together better and make it hard.  You can eat the fruits raw and also when they are ripe.  Fruit is ready when the shell is hard and easily peels off of the fruit.  You can boil the ripe or unripe fruits (removing shell) and remove pulp mixed with water and mix with millet flour for porridge.  


  • fruit

Eusuk (Zanthoxylum chalybeum

  • seeds, leaves, bark
  • tea from seeds used to treat fever, cough, measles


  • eat fruits

(Moringa oleifera, Moringa)

  • Exotic
  • You can eat the leaves as a vegetable.  The ripe seeds can be used to purify dirty water.  Crush the seeds and put them into dirty/cloudy water.  They will cause large particles in the water to settle to the bottom so you can pour off clean water from on top.

(Moringa stenopetala, Moringa)

  • Indigenous
  • you can do anything with this one that you can with moringa oleifera

(Bauhinia petersiana, White bauhinia)

  • Indigenous
  • seeds used to be used as a coffee substitute


Aimuria/Adokokolia (Carissa edulis, Carissa spinarum, blackberry, carissa) 

  • Indigenous
  • Shrub/small tree. 
  • you can eat the fruits raw at any stage (they turn from green to red to purple to black), but they are ripe when they turn dark purple - almost black

Ebwolo/Edwolo (Annona senegalensis, wild soursop, wild custard apple) 

  • Indigenous
  • Shrub/small tree
  • consume the fruit when ripe (it turns from army green to yellow when it is ripe) - remove the peel and eat the testa around the seed - grows on a small tree, ripe between April and June

Emwogo (Manihot esculenta, cassava)

  • leaves, roots

Epapali (Carica papaya, popo, papaya) 

  • Exotic
  • boil the young leaves - some people paste or fry it, boil the unripe fruit, also can eat ripe fruit

Eparis (Grewia mollis

  • shrub/small tree

Herbaceous plants:

Abatot (Dioscorea sp., yams)

  • This grows as a vine and you eat the roots


  • related to amaranth - eat the leaves and even the seeds sometimes.  Boil, fry, or paste the leaves.  Don't pour off the water when you boil - if there is extra, you can remove it to make the paste sauce, then put it back


  • Small plant, fruits grow very close to the ground, even underground.  They turn from green to red when they are mature and they are somewhat flat.  You break it open to eat and there are many tiny seeds inside.  You chew the seeds and the fruit and either swallow it all or try to spit out the seeds.  The fruits look similar to those of passion fruit

Acok (Ipomea batatas, sweet potato) 

  • leaves are uncommonly consumed

Akobokobo/Akolil (Cucurmis melo, muskmelon)

  • fruits are eaten when mature.  When yellow, they are cut open and dried in the sun until the outer coat wrinkles up.  When you eat it, you boil the dried fruit with some soda ash and paste it


  • boil the leaves

Akwata (Amaranthus sp., amaranth) 

  • This plant has spines when it is mature.  Leaves are eaten when young and tender.  When the leaves are large, they can be chopped small and eaten (boiled, fried, pasted).  When it is mature, dry stems, burn them, gather ash for making local salt.  Filter water through the ash and then use the salt for preparing different beans, cowpeas, etc.  You can even drink the filtrate for kidney pain.  You can also use the ash as a disinfectant for castrating pigs and so forth.  Also for cleaning wounds.

Amayun (Colocasia esculenta, taro) 

  • Grow in water-logged areas in the swamps.  You eat the corm (underground stem) - peel and boil with salt

Atigo (Corchorus olitorius, jute)

Ebisali (Curcuma longa, turmeric) 

  • when mature, you use the rhizomes.  They are dried slightly, peel (or boil a bit before peeling), then pounded.  Once it is pounded, you spread it out in the sun until it is dry.  Then you can grind it by machine or with a bottle or something into fine powder.  Used to color and improve the taste in curry powder, beans, chicken, pretty much anything

Ebalo (Hyptis spicigera, marubio) 

  • roast and pound seeds (which are actually fruits)

Eboga/Ekilion (Amaranthus graecizans and dubius, dodo, amaranth) 

  • leaves

Eboo (Vigna unguiculata, cowpeas) 

  • leaves prepared the same as eedo, but does not need to be pasted - can be cooked with tomatoes or fried.  The seeds are called imaido - when dry, you can use soda ash when you boil it.  You can add some etigo while boiling it.

Ecadoi (Gyanandra gynanomlo or gynandropsis, cleome, spider flower) 

  • young leaves are harvested, sliced very thin.  Then, you boil with about 3/4 ecadoi and 1/4 emoros even overnight.  Eat it pasted.  Before you paste it, you can save it for a few days and it will not go bad.  You can even fry it without the emoros

Ecototo (Asystasia schimperi)

  • leaves


  • leaves

Eedo/Elekmari/Eodo (Cassia obtusifolia, Sicklepod) 

  • prepare only young leaves with g-nuts


Emaido (Arachis hypogaea, peanut, ground nut) 

  • leaves can be prepared the same as eedo, seed

Emelerait (Sesamum angustifolium, Ceratotheca sesamoides, wild simsim) 

  • leaves can be boiled alone and pasted.  Add a small amount to eboo or imare


Emopim (Ocimum sp.)

  • use leaves for seasoning, looks like basil.  Dried leaves burned and smoke chases mosquitoes away

Emoros (Cissus adenocaulis/Cyphostemma adenocaule?, Mwengele (Sw))

  • it is a spreading, low-growing plant, the leaves are used in many other dishes such as with ecadoi, ekabit, or eodo
  • it also has many uses in traditional medicine

Emulalu (Capsicum frutescens, green pepper) 

  • boil leaves, has mild peppers


  • Men like to eat roots raw to increase their sexual potency

Enyait (Cymbopogon sp., lemon grass) 

  • There are many different species of this, but all have a pleasant taste when the leaves are boiled as tea


  • leaves can be cooked and eaten

Essujjo/esuju (Cucurbita maxima, pumpkin) 

  • edible young leaves boiled, then fried or pasted (the name for the pumpkin itself is Imunyuru/Asusa?)

Etaget (Musa sp., banana)

  • many varieties of banana (Adeke, Akurono, Amefu - is introduced)

Etangoli (ground cherry?) 

  • spreading growth habit at ground level, fruits are eaten.  The fruit is wrapped in a papery husk and has very small seeds inside like a tomato

Etigo/Alilot (Corchorus sp., Jute) 

  • can be prepared alone, boiled and pasted, but also added to other leaves like eboo
  • There are a variety of different species of plants that are called etigo.  Some are available only during the dry season and others are preferred during the rainy season.  Some people even call emelerait by the name etigo.


Ikorom (water lily)

Malakwang/Emalakany (Hibiscus cannabinus, kenaf?) 

  • boil the leaves and pour off the water once or twice to remove some of the sourness, then paste with ground nuts