By S.Olanrewaju Disu
This vegetable is very popular among the ethnic peoples of southern and south-eastern Nigeria resident in Lagos Metropolitan Area. The Efik and Ibibio peoples call it 'afang' while the Igbo's call it "okazi". It is botanically known as "Gnetum africanum, Family Gnetaceae"
This vegetable is a rain forest liane of South-Eastern Nigeria. The plant is not cultivated;the leaves are collected as forest products. Wherever it occurs, the "afang" vegetable is valued as a tasty vegetable, usually eaten finely shredded for addition to soup or made up into condiments, or even taken raw.
In Lagos Area market especially the Oyingbo market and markets in and around Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area of the State where people from the South -Eastern parts of Nigeria are in the predominance presence. The Afang vegetable is a common article of market trade. This vegetable is eaten as a greatly appreciated pot-herb and is also cooked with the water leaf.
Traditionally, the "Afang" vegetable is taken as a medicine for enlarged spleen, for sore throat and as a purgative medicine.
Photo' The "Afang" vegetable on sale at the Oyingbo Market and being shredded, preparatory to cooking