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Edible uses


The seed is eaten fried, used as a condiment or dried then ground into a powder and mixed with flour etc to make sweet cakes[1][2][3][4]. Average seed yields in India range from 100 - 200 kg/ha when grown with ragi, and 300 - 400 kg/ha when grown in pure stands[5]. In Kenya, monocultural yields average 600 kg/ha[5]. Seed yields of 1,000 to 1,200 kg/ha have been obtained on fertile Himalayan soils[5]. Oil yields range about 235 kg/ha[5]. The seeds yield about 30% of a clear, excellent, slow-drying edible oil[5]. It is used as a substitute for olive oil, can be mixed with linseed oil, and is used as an adulterant for rape oil, sesame oil etc[5]. The oil is used in cooking as a ghee substitute and can be used in salad dressings etc[4][5]. A pleasant nutty taste[6].

Unknown part

Material uses

A drying oil is obtained from the seed[7][8][9][2][10]. It is used for burning, in making soap, paints etc[11][12][5]. The plant can be used as a green manure[13]. It is usually dug in when the plants are about to come into flower[5].

Unknown part


Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The oil from the seeds is used in the treatment of rheumatism[14][15][5]. It is also applied to treat burns[16]. A paste of the seeds is applied as a poultice in the treatment of scabies[16].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Green manure


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Make sure the soil does not dry out because this would delay germination. In warm weather, germination should take place within 3 - 4 days of sowing the seed. When sowing larger areas, the seed may be broadcast at rate of 10 kg/ha or sown in rows 40 to 50 cm apart at rate of 5 kg/ha[5].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Guizotia abyssinica. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any rich soil[7]. The plant is adapted to a wide range of soils, from sandy to heavy, growth being poor on light sandy or gravelly soils[5]. Niger is often cultivated on very poor acid soils, on hilly slopes, where fertility is low due to leaching and washing away of the plant nutrients by erosion[5]. Niger seed is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 66 to 179cm, an annual temperature range of 13.6 to 27.5°C and a pH in the range of 5.5 to 7.5[5].

Niger is often cultivated, especially in Africa, as an oil seed crop[8][2][17][5], it has also been cultivated in Germany[13]. The flowers are very attractive to bees[5].

Several factors lend credence to fears that niger might become a pest if introduced into warm temperate areas - grazing animals do not relish it, the plant tolerates poor soil and drought, it has few serious pests or diseases especially outside its native range, the seeds store for a year or more without deterioration, and the seeds mature 3 - 4.5 months after planting[5]. Arguing against its weed potential are the facts that it is a short day plant and therefore does not flower or set seed until daylight hours average 13 hours or less, it is self-sterile, and requires bees for pollination[5].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Guizotia abyssinica. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Guizotia abyssinica.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Guizotia abyssinica
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type

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    1. ? 1.01.1 Sholto-Douglas. J. Alternative Foods. ()
    2. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    4. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    5. ? Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (1983-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Brouk. B. Plants Consumed by Man. Academic Press ISBN 0-12-136450-x (1975-00-00)
    7. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    8. ? Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    9. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
    12. ? 12.012.1 Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M. Fruits of the Earth. ()
    13. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Medicinal Plants of Nepal Dept. of Medicinal Plants. Nepal. (1993-00-00)
    16. ? Manandhar. N. P. Plants and People of Nepal Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-527-6 (2002-00-00)
    17. ? Polunin. O. and Stainton. A. Flowers of the Himalayas. Oxford Universtiy Press (1984-00-00)
    18. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)

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