Sesamum orientale

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Sesamum orientale (sesame) is a plant in the Pedaliaceae family that is widely cultivated in the tropics, especially in Asia.[1]

Cultivation in Kenya

In Kenya, sesame, referred to using the Swahili word simsim, is grown on a small scale in Coast, Western, and Nyanza provinces. There is also wild sesame grown in southern Turkana, West Pokot and northern Kenya in open grassland, bushed grassland, roadsides and disturbed areas up to 1500 m above sea level. It requires 400 mm to 1200 mm rainfall per year.

"Uses: Food: Simsim [sesame] is grown for its oil-rich seeds. Seeds are baked into a cake or fried and rolled into balls; commonly seen in markets in western parts of Kenya. Sweet seeds are often fried with those of the Bambarra groundnut (Luhya) and served to visitors on special occasions. Cooking oil is also extracted from the seeds. Leaves are eaten as a vegetable (Digo). Seeds mixed with grain flour and used in baking cakes (Durama). Seeds often sprinkled on bread and cakes. Among the Mijikenda, seeds are fried and then pounded in a morter to a thick soft oily paste. This is served as the mboga with ugali."[1]
"Management: Sesame may be sown in lines or by broadcasting. Seeds are small and usually mixed with lose soil for more even sowing. It may be intercropped with other crops such as maize. As soon as the lower capsules start to dry (lower ones mature earlier), the plant may be cut or uprooted and dried for about one week, normally while suspended upside down. They are then threshed to release the seeds which fall on a sheet spread below, a mat (mkeka) or a large shallow doum-palm basket (tuguu). Seeds are then winnowed before storing. In small gardens, individual capsules may be picked as they mature."[1]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Patrick M. Maundu, Grace W. Ngugi, and Christine H.S. Kabuye, Traditional Food Plants of Kenya, Kenya Resource Centre for Indigenous Knowledge, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya, 1999, p. 209.

External Resources

External Articles