African Culture is World Heritage

African Proverb

African Proverb
Distance diminishes the elephant

Rare Wild Vegetables African Orchids

Rare Wild Vegetables African Orchids

Rare Wild Vegetables

Rare wild vegetables, African Orchid roots or tubers are called Kinaka in Tanzania and Chikanda in Zambia are used as wild vegetables and run the risk of local extinction due to overharvesting.



Chikanda was a rare wild vegetable and traditional orchid food recipe of the Bemba people of Zambia. The Bemba people did not pose a threat to ground orchid plant however, outsiders harvesting the rare wild vegetables of orchid roots has become big business causing big problems. Orchid roots are brown or white tubers of orchids which are the size of small potatoes found underground.





Rare Wild Vegetables African Orchids




Orchid roots or tubers photo


The Nyika Plateau of eastern Zambia and northern Malawi and the Kitulo Plateau on the southern highlands of Tanzania are progressively becoming more threatened by over-exploitation of terrestrial or ground orchids. Orchid roots are very popular and sold in markets fresh, dried, as snacks or ready-made Chikanda dish.

Orchid roots or tubers, Kinaka in Tanzania or Chikanda in Zambia, are used as wild vegetables and may run the risk of local extinction due to overharvesting. Chikanda or African Polony (boloney) is not a meat dish but a vegetarian loaf made of boiled orchid roots, groundnuts and spices.

Terrestrial or ground orchid roots used for chikanda are orchids that grow in the ground opposed the tree growing variety. They grow wild in subtropical and tropical areas of Africa. Orchid roots are brown or white tubers of orchids which are the size of small potatoes found underground.

Ground Orchid by jjunyent
Chikanda is a traditional rural Zambian dish however in recent years the demand for orchid roots in portions of neighboring countries Tanzania, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola has made harvesting orchid roots big business.

Orchid roots are very popular and sold in markets fresh, dried, as snacks or ready-made Chikanda dish. As a result terrestrial orchid populations are becoming depleted rapidly. Chikanda was formerly a traditional Bemba’s of Zambia dish and did not pose a threat to ground orchid populations.

The Nyika Plateau of eastern Zambia and northern Malawi is world renowned for its abundant orchid plants. Tanzania’s Serengeti of Flowers or Kitulo Plateau on the southern highlands of Tanzania is also well-known for its plentiful fields of orchids. The regions are progressively becoming more threatened by cultivation and over-exploitation of ground orchids.

Many orchids are unique to the Nyika Plateau and Kitulo Plateau and are found no place else in the world. The consumer driven environmentally unsustainable trade in ground orchid tubers threatens to wipe-out wild species of orchids. Extinctions are nothing new for Africa and the world, but orchid species are now dying out at an alarming rate.

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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My mother is a historian of African culture and history and her influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

Chic African Culture

Elegant but earthy The African Gourmet and Chic African Culture highlights African culture, food recipes, modern and ancient history.

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