Huernia R.Br., 1810.
Typus: H. campanulata (Masson) Haw. = H. barbata (Masson) Haw
* Decodontia Haw., Syn. Pl. Succ. 28. 1812.
* Brown, R. 1810. On Asclepiad. 11.
The genus Huernia (family Asclepiadaceae consists of some (30-)60 species of stem succulents from Eastern and Southern Africa. The flowers are five-lobed, usually somewhat more funnel- or bell-shaped than in the closely related genus Stapelia, and often striped vividly in contrasting colours or tones, some glossy, others matt and wrinkled depending on the species concerned. To pollinate, the flowers attract flies by emitting a scent similar to that of carrion. The genus is considered close to the genera Stapelia and Hoodia. The name is in honour of Justin Heurnius (1587–1652) a Dutch missionary who is reputed to have been the first collector of South African Cape plants. His name was actually mis-spelt by the collector.
Various species of Huernia are considered famine food by the inhabitants of Konso special woreda in southern Ethiopia. The local inhabitants, who call the native species of this genus baqibaqa indiscriminately, eat it with prepared balls of sorghum; they note that baqibaqa tastes relatively good and has no unpleasant side-effects when boiled and consumed. As a result, it is encouraged by the local farmers to grow on stone walls forming the terraces, where it does not compete with other crops.
* Huernia barbata
1. ^ Yves Guinand and Dechassa Lemessa, "Wild-Food Plants in Southern Ethiopia: Reflections on the role of 'famine-foods' at a time of drought" UN-OCHA Report, March 2000 (accessed 15 January 2009)
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