Utilizing the genome of the vegetable species Cleome gynandra for the development of improved cultivars for the West and East African markets

Improved varieties of spider plant for Africa

Spider plant is a leafy vegetable harvested in the wild or cultivated throughout Africa. Raising awareness of its nutritional and health benefits results in higher demand. This project will bring together researchers, farmers and consumers in order to develop nutritious, drought-tolerant and high-yielding varieties of spider plant for improved food security.

Image: Hortitechs Development

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Project leader: Edgar Deguenon (The NGO Hortitechs Development )

Consortium partners: Enoch Achigan-dako (University of Abomey-Calavi, Faculty of Agronomic Sciences (FSA)), Patrick Maundu (The KENRIK, Centre for Biodiversity ), Eric Schranz (Wageningen University. The Biosystemetics Group), Allen Deynze, van  (The African Orphan Crops Consortium and African Plant Breeding Academy)



Spider plant (Cleome gynandra) is an important and nutritious leafy vegetable for rural people in West and East Africa as well as South Asia, especially at the beginning of the rainy season when little other vegetables are available. Pilot projects have shown that it has great potential for further development into a commercially important vegetable. The variation in the crop is considerable, as expressed in differences in bitterness, anthocyanin content and nutritional value. As a C4 plant, it uses water efficiently and consequently shows drought resistance. The genome has recently been sequenced and the African Orphan Crops Consortium will sequence 100 additional varieties as part of this proposal. Our proposed project will focus on: collecting and analysing germplasm for testing variation in nutritional characteristics, productivity and drought, as a basis for the re-sequencing effort. The results will be used in breeding programmes to develop planting material for a crop with improved nutritious value and optimal adaptation to a warmer and drier climate.


Publication meant for a broad audience


Project number

W 08.270.305

Main applicant

E.M. Deguenon

Affiliated with

Hortitechs Development

Team members

E.G. Achigan-Dako, A. Agbodossindji, F. Becker, J. Blalogoe, E.M. Deguenon, A. van Deynze, C. Houdegbe, R. Kagai Adeka, P. Maundu, Prof. dr. M.E. Schranz, O. Sogbohossou


05/01/2015 to 05/04/2018

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