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Waterblommetjie (Aponogeton distachyos, aponogetonaceae), a recently domesticated aquatic Food Crop in Cape South Africa with unusual origins

Waterblommetjie (Aponogeton Distachyos, Aponogetonaceae) Una Cosecha AcuáTica Recientamente Domisticado En Sudafrica Con Origenes No Comun


The inflorescence of Aponogeton distachyos, an endemic Cape South African aquatic herb, known as waterblommetjie, has been a traditional wild-gathered vegetable. This plant has been brought into cultivation as a food crop during the past twenty years. The reasons for its domestication were the loss and decline in wild populations because of herbicide runoff from agriculture, urban expansion that reduced the plant’s habitat, and overcollection. Domestication also began because a pop song, celebrating this vegetable as an Afrikaans cultural symbol, started a food fad that greatly increased demand. Waterblommetjie cultivation, widespread marketing, and the general popularity of this unique food continues in the Mandela Era of South Africa.


La inflorecencia de Aponogeton distachyos, una hierba ácuatica endémica al Cabo de Buena Esperanza, Africa, conocido como waterblommetjie, ha sido una vegetal silvestere tradicional. La planta se ha adoptada para 1a cultivatión dentro los últimos veinte años. Las razones por domesticarla fueron 1a perdida y el declino de las poblaciones silvestres por cause del escurrimiento de los herbicidas de áreas agríciolas, 1a expansión urbana 1a qual redujo el área de hábitat del la planta, y su cosecha excesiva. Además, su domesticatión empezó porque una canción popular 1a cual celebró esta verdura como un símbolo cultural africaans empezó una moda en 1a comid 1a cual aumentó mucho la demanda. La cultivateón de waterblommetjie, el mercado extendido, y la popularidad general de esta única comida continuan durante la era de Mandela en Sudáfrica.

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Correspondence to Robert W. Pemberton.

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Pemberton, R.W. Waterblommetjie (Aponogeton distachyos, aponogetonaceae), a recently domesticated aquatic Food Crop in Cape South Africa with unusual origins. Econ Bot 54, 144–149 (2000).

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Key Words

  • Aponogeton distachyos
  • aquatic plant
  • Cape South Africa
  • crop origins
  • foodsymbol
  • popular culture
  • waterblommetjie
  • wild-gathered vegetable