DEVELOPMENTAL ANATOMY OF TUBERS OF ANCHOTÉ: A POTENTIAL DRYLAND TUBER CROP
In Ethiopia, the cultivation of anchoté is sporadic but is widespread in the western and south western Provinces of Wollega, Kaffa, Sidamo, and Illubabor (figure 9), where other tuberous species of Colocasia, Dioscorea and Musa are also extensively cultivated. In these Provinces, anchoté is cultivated at elevations varying from 1,300 m to 2,800 m where the rainfall ranges from 762 mm to 1,016 mm; it also occurs in the wild state in more arid regions.
A farmer usually plants 400–600 square metres of anchoté, mainly for home consumption. It is established in April and May from seeds sown 15–20 cm apart, the tubers are ready for harvesting after four months. Tubers for domestic consumption are dug out daily and surplus tubers are allowed to stay in the ground for several months. As they mature, tubers become larger, more stringy, and more difficult to cook. The above-ground portion of the plant is allowed to grow unstaked if the tuber is to be harvested in less than a year, but if a "gubbo" crop of one-year-old tubers is desired or if the plant is to be used for seed production, then a trellis is provided on which the vine is supported.
In simple preparations of anchoté, the tuber is lifted, washed, boiled, peeled, cut into small pieces and mixed with ground pepper and salt. More elaborate preparations involve the addition of many spices and liberal amounts of butter. The spiced and buttered pieces are pounded and may be eaten alone or with "injera", a local leavened bread made from a native grain, Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter.
An analysis is given in Table 1. Anchoté, according to this analysis, is a good source of protein, carbohydrate, calcium and iron. The unusually high level of calcium may be due to alkaline soil conditions.
Species of Coccinia which have been reported to produce perennial tuberous organs underground in the arid tropics and various subtropical regions of the world include the following: C. indica, C. engleri (Zimmermann, 1922), C. jatrophacolla, C. renmannii, and C. sessiofolia (Praksh, 1953; Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962). Other cucurbits with tuberous roots include: Citrullus naudinianua (Whiting, 1968), Trichosanthes cucumberoides, T. japonica, T. mulliloba