NUAPP members published in a special issue series of the Journal of Medicinally Active Plants focused on African Indigenous Vegetables.
Spider plant (Cleome gynandra), an herbaceous annual commonly used as a leaf vegetable across Sub-Saharan Africa is valuable as a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and protein. However, little work has been done to improve vegetative yield despite its nutritional value. Spider plant is considered a facultative long-day plant, and this study sought to screen for plants that do not flower during a long photoperiod, to improve vegetative yield. A total of 4536 spider plants from nine different advanced lines were evaluated in a greenhouse under 14-hour day/24 hr cycle daily for six months. From this initial screening, seeds were collected from isolated inflorescences of seven individuals selected for early flowering, six for intermediate flowering, and four for delayed flowering. These seeds were used to evaluate flowering cycles at the AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, Eastern and Southern Africa research station, located in Arusha, Tanzania. Results indicated that among the selections compared, cultivar SP7-1 expressed significantly longer vegetative duration than SP1-1. Results from this study showed that flowering response in specific spider plant accessions was heritable and that slow bolting is a legitimate breeding objective to improve vegetative yield.