Aframomum corrorima (Jansen, 1981)

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Spices and condiments in Ethiopia
Jansen, Spices and medicinal plants in Ethiopia
Aframomum corrorima (Jansen, 1981)
Anethum foeniculum


2.1 Aframomum corrorima (Braun) Jansen (comb. nov.)

Aframomum: composed from Africa and Amomum. Amomum perhaps derived from the Arabie 'hamma' which means: 'hot, warm', probably hinting at the pungency of the seeds. corrorima: the local Ethiopian Gallinia name for this species, more often spelt 'korarima'.

Jansen, P. C. M., Spices, condiments and medicinal plants in Ethiopia: p. 10 (1981). Type: from Ethiopia: 'Kommt durch den Handel nur von Gallaländern'. Two fruits collected by W. Schimper, s.n., without date and locality (P, in fruit collection, Box F511, lecto.!).



  • Amomum corrorima Braun, Flora, Bd 31(6): p. 95-96 (1848), (basionym).
  • Amomum korarima Pereira, Mat. Med. ed. 3, 2(1): p. 1136-1137 (1850), (lectotype: Beke s.n., BM).
  • Aframomum korarima (Pereira) K. Schum. ex Engler, Pflanzenw. Afr. 2: p. 386 (1908), (lectotype: Beke s.n., BM).


  • 1847: Pereira, On the cardamoms of Abyssinia, Pharm. Journ. 6: p. 466-469. (tax.)
  • 1848: Braun, Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Abyssinischen Culturpflanzen, Flora 31(6): p. 95-96. (tax.)
  • 1850: Pereira, Mat. Med. ed. 3, 2(1): p. 1136-1137. (tax. +use)
  • 1874: Flückiger & Hanbury, Pharmacographia: p. 589. (use)
  • 1893: Schumann, Zingiberaceae africanae, Bot. Jahrb. 15: p. 418. (tax.)
  • 1894: Misc. notes, Kew Bull .: p. 400. (tax.) 1895: Engler, Pflanzenw. Ost-Afrikas & Nachbargebiete, B. Nutzpflanzen: p. 264. (tax. + use)
  • 1898: Baker, in: Flora trop. Afr. 7: p. 311. (tax.)
  • 1904: Schumann, in: Das Pflanzenreich 4, 46, H. 20: p. 32, 221. (tax.)
  • 1909: Baccarini, La patria d'origine delle piante coltivate in Eritrea, Agricolt. Colon. 3(4): p. 296. (use)
  • 1913: Kostlan , Die Landwirtschaft in Abessinien 1, Beih. Tropenpflanzer 14: p. 232. (agric.)
  • 1938: Pajella, Contributo allo studio dell'economia agraria nel territorio dei Galla e Sidama, Agricolt. Colon. 32(4): p. 183. (agric.)
  • 1950: Baldrati, Trattato delle coltivazioni tropicali e sub-tropicali: p. 179. (agric.)
  • 1957: Ferrara, Tecnologia delle spezie, Rivista Agric. subtrop. & trop.: p. 399-400. (agric.)
  • 1960: Lemordant, Les plantes éthiopiennes: p. 33. (use)
  • 1962: Asrat, Report on the spices at the market in the town of Harar, unpublished JECAMA report, Alemaya: p. 4. (use)
  • 1963: Siegenthaler, Useful plants of Ethiopia, Exp. Stn. Bull. 14: p. 14, 22-23. (use)
  • 1964: Berger, Neue Erkenntnisse auf dem Gebiet der Kardamomenforschung, Gordian 64: p. 960-961. (use)
  • 1969: Cufodontis, Syst. Bearb. S. Äthiop. ges. Pfl. 7, Senck. biol. 50: p. 249, t. 9. (tax.)
  • 1970: Lawrence, Terpene in two Amomum species, Phytochemistry 9: p. 665. (chem.)
  • 1972: Burtt, General introduction to papers on Zingiberaceae, Notes R. B. G. Edinb. 31: p. 155-165. (tax.)
  • 1972: Cufodontis, Enumeratio, Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. 42(3) suppl.: p. 1594. (tax.)
  • 1975: Lock & Hall, Taxonomie studies in the genus Aframomum, Boissiera 24: p. 225-231. (tax.)
  • 1976: Lock , Notes on sorne East African species of Aframomum, Kew Bull. 31: p. 263-271. (tax.)
  • 1977: Lock et al. , The cultivation of Melegueta pepper in Ghana, Econ. Bot. 3 r: p. 321-330. (agric.)
  • 1978: Lock, Notes on the genus Aframomum 1. The species related to A. polyanthum (K. Schum.) K. Schum., Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. 48: p. 129-134. (tax.)
  • 1978: Lock, Notes on the genus Aframomum 2. The Ethiopian species, Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. 48: p. 387-391. (tax.)

Local names

  • korarima, kurarima, kwererima, kewreriam (Amarinia);
  • corrorima, korarima, oghio (Gallinia);
  • orsha (Ghimira);
  • ofio, otiyo (Kaffinia);
  • heil, habhal-habashi (Arabie)

Trade names

  • korarima cardamom, false cardamom, Guragi spice (English);
  • korarima, cardamome d'Ethiopie, poivre d'Ethiopie (French);
  • Korarima, Abyssinischen Kardamon (German).


Geographic distribution

Korarima is known only from Ethiopia, where it grows in the forests of the provinces of Kefa , Sidamo, Illubabor and Wollega (Cufodontis, 1972; Herb. Fr, K, WAG). One specimen (J. G. Meyers 10612, present at K!) , collected in Khor Aba, Aloma Plateau, Sudan (7-3-1939) and identified as korarima by J. M. Lock, might prove that korarima has a wider distribution but more evidence is needed. It is the only known specimen not collected in Ethiopia. The statement in Kew Bulletin (1894, p. 400) that the species is indigenous to the whole mountainous region of Eastern Africa has never been confirmed by botanical collections. Cultivation of the plants has been reported not only from a round the centres where the plant grows in the wild , but also from around Lake Tana (Baldrati, 1950), Eritrea (Baccarini, 1909) and Gelemso. The statement of Baccarini (1909) that the korarima cultivated in Eritrea originated in the Arabian Peninsula is probably not true, unless it was korarima first exported by Ethiopia.


A perennial aromatic (especially the crushed leaves) herb, usually with strong fibrous subterranean scaly rhizomes and with leafy stems ca 1-2 m high.

  • Rhizomes subterete, up to 1 cm diam., brown to red-brown, smooth (in dried specimens usually wrinkled), glabrous; scales brown, thin, subovate, up to 6 x 4 cm, with prominent parallel veins outside, usually slightly puberulous near the apex and with white scarious ciliate margins, deciduous, the scars visible as lighter coloured rings. Roots borne on the rhizomes, often perforating the scales, subterete, up to 4 mm diam., whitish to light-brown, fibrous.
  • Stems unbranched, subterete, up to 1 cm diam., mainly formed by the leaf-sheaths; base usually thickened, up to 3 cm diam.
  • Leaves distichous, ca 1-8 cm apart; sheaths covering each other, yellow-green, with prominent parallel darker-green veins and scarious, usually ciliate margins; ligule deeply bilobed, thin , ciliate, base ca 0.5 x 1.5 cm, lobes acute, up to 3 cm long; petiole subterete in outline, deeply grooved above, usually thicker at base, ca 4-10 mm long, light-green, glabrous; blade glossy dark-green above, lighter green, sometimes a bit reddish, with yellowish midrib beneath, elliptic to oblong, ca 10-30 x 2.5-6 cm, leathery, usually obliquely obtuse at base, cuspidate at apex, entire, glabrous, with a prominent midrib below (rather deeply wrinkled in dried specimens); lateral nerves fine, pinnately arranged, parallel, making a very sharp angle with the midrib, 4-9 in 5 mm above and 12-16 in 5 mm below.
  • Inflorescence a ca 5-flowered, short-stalked head, arising from the rootstock near the base of the leafy stem, sometimes situated at the end of a rhizomatous runner; peduncle up to 7 cm long, usually slightly curved, completely covered by imbricate, brown to purplish-brown, glabrous to scarcely puberulous, ca ovate, up to ca 2.5 x 1.5 cm scales, with scarious, glabrous to ciliate margins and with prominent veins, the apex sometimes slightly notched; head covered with imbricate, brown to purplish-brown, ovate to ca square, up to 4.5 x 4.5 cm bracts, with scarious, ciliate margins and prominent veins and sometimes a double-notched apex; each flower surrounded by a scarious, suboblong, ciliate, bidentate bract, up to 6 x 2 cm.


Fig. 1. Aframomum corrorima (Braun) Jansen. -1. habit rhizome with flowers and fruits (⅔x); 2. leaf (⅔x); 3. ligule (⅔x); 4. venation upperside leaf (2x); 5. venation underside leaf (2x); 6. labellum (⅔x); 7. lateral corolla lobe (⅔x); 8. dorsal corolla lobe (⅔x); 9. calyx (⅔x); 10. anther (2x); 11. pistil (⅔x); lla. stigma (3x); 12. cross-section ovary (4x); 13. dried fruit (⅔x); 14. seed (4x); 15. dried seed (4x); 16. seed, section through hilum (4x); 17. embryo (20x).- 1-5. PJ 5544 (spirit mat.); 6. PJ 5544 + WP 5536 (spirit mat.);7-11. WP 5536 (spirit mat.) 11a-12. PJ 5544 (spirit mat.); 13. PJ 5910; 14. PJ 2206 (spirit mat.); 15. WP 135; 16-17. PJ 2206 (spirit mat.).


  • Calyx spathaceous, up to 4.5 cm long and 1 cm diam., split in front over ca 1-2 cm from the apex, scarcely puberulous, with acute, sometimes notched, ciliate apex.
  • Corolla tubular, 3-lobed at apex , the connation ofthe 3 petais in the tube visible as 3 furrows; tube up to 3.5-4.5 cm long, white to pale-violet, glabrous outside, inside glabrous except for the densely woolly upper 2 cm; lateral lobes ovate-oblong, up to 4 x 2 cm, with acute or shallowly (0.5 mm deep) bidentate apex, glabrous, entire, white to pale-violet; dorsal lobe ovate-oblong, up to 4 x 3 cm, glabrous, entire, white to pale-violet, with a rather blunt, single-notched or double-notched apex.
  • Androecium: labellum obovate in outline, with a half-tubular fleshy claw of up to 3 x 1.5 cm and a subovate to orbicular, thin, slightly notched, glabrous, up to 3 x 3.5 cm lobe ; base of claw puberulous inside, lobe pale-violet but yellow at throat inside; fertile stamen 1, with a fleshy, slightly rounded, glabrous to puberulous filament of ca 6 x 5 mm; connectivum fleshy, with a ventral central groove, ca 12 x 5 mm, glabrous to puberulous, whitish to pale-violet, at apex with two lateral, fleshy, acute, glabrous to puberulous horns of ca 4 x 1 mm and a central sm ali en tire or slightly notched ciliate protruding part of ca 1 x 2.5 mm; thecae 2, narrowly ellipsoid, ca 11 x 1 mm, yellow, dehiscing by a longitudinal slit from base up to about the middle, their proximal lateral sides densely puberulous; between the base of filament and labellum, usually a triangular fleshy staminodium of ca 1 x 1 mm (but the length may vary from 1 to 11 mm) is present at each side, with usually a puberulous base.
  • Gynoecium: ovary inferior, subcylindrical, up to 13 x 7 x 4 mm, glabrous, 3-locular with numerous, subglobose white ovules (a bit brown at top); placentas situated in the middle of each lamina; ovary wall fleshy, green, brown-red speckled on transverse section (in specimens conserved in spirit), with a rather long sterile upper part; style thin, terete , ca 0.5 mm diam. , up to 5 cm long, glabrous to densely puberulous in the upper half, at top widening into a funnel-shaped ciliate stigma, ca 2 mm wide; in bud, the stigma is situated above the thecae; at anthesis, it lies against or slightly below the base of the thecae; top of ovary provided with usually 2 (sometimes many) lobed fleshy glabrous outgrowths (perhaps nectaries), which are ca oblong, with rounded apex, unequal in length, up to 21 x 1 mm, partly clasping the style.
  • Fruit indehiscent, fleshy, subconical, up to ca 6 cm long and 3.5 cm diam., shiny-green when immature, turning bright-red at maturity, usually showing 3longitudinal furrows (the 3 carpels), sometimes more furrows are present; dried fruits (as often sold on markets) flask-shaped , ca 3-6 cm long and 1.5-3 cm d!?m. , with a beak ca 1-2 cm long, brown to grey-brown, with a tough, strong fibrous wall , usually showing irregular ribs and furrows due to shrinkage; fruit with 3 clusters of ca 45-65 seeds each.
  • Seeds subglobose in outline, usually somewhat angular, ca 2-5 mm diam. , with a glossy, light to dark-brown, glabrous, fin ely lined testa and a circular, whitish hilum; aril thin, a bit fleshy, finely lined, completely covering the seed, becoming papery after drying; section of the seed through the hilum shows that the seed-coat is partly strongly thickened (mainly opposite the hilum) dividing the space within in two distinct parts; the thickened, pale-brown, somewhat spongy part of the seed-coat may constitute a varying fraction of the seed volume (up to 0.75), and shrinks


considerably on drying, giving the seeds a wrinkled appearance on top; the other part is filled with an irregularly shaped, very white mass of perisperm; within this mass, more or less in the centre, a small , subovoid, dirty-white mass of endosperm can be observed; the embryo is small, ca 1.5 x 0.5 mm, erect, straight or slightly curved; its cotyledon is embedded in the endosperm; its reversedly funnel-shaped radicle is situated near the hilum; the seeds have a strong spicy smell and taste.


  • (1) The embryo remains standing upright if put on its radicle.
  • (2) Flowers of specimens conserved in spirit may show red-brown excretions on different parts, especially on the throat of the corolla and the upper part of the style.
  • (3) Dry fruits , sold on Ethiopian markets, often show a hole through the upper part. (Fruits are dried in the sun , hanging on a rope).

Taxonomic notes

(1) The identity of korarima has been a mystery to botanists for a long time. Its fruits, however, were known by 'Cordus, Matthiolus, Geoffrey, Smith and Geiger' as Cardamomum majus' or as Cardamomum maximum Matthioli'. They realized that these fruits were different from the fruits known as Melegueta pepper (Pereira, 1850). In 1775, Forskal stated that their Arabie name was 'habhal-habashi' (Flückiger & Hanbury, 1874). In 1847, Pereira published an article on the 'cardamoms of Abyssinia' and he considered the fruits of korarima as identical with those of Amomum angustifolium Sonnerat. In 1850 Pereira preferred to give the korarima fruits a distinct (provisional) name (Amomum korarima), as he had some doubts about his earlier statement of their identity. (The year of Pereira's Amomum korarima publication is often erroneously cited as 1842).

Schumann (1904, p. 32) stated that korarima belongs to the genus Aframomum, but he did not publish the new combination: Aframomum korarima. This was done for the first time by Engler (1908) and thus the author citation should be A. korarima (Pereira) K. Schum. ex Engler.

In 1939 (Meyers 10612, K) and later from 1957, complete specimens of korarima were collected and so korarima became better known. Until1939, only the fruit was available to botanists. In 1963, Siegenthaler provided a coloured drawing of fruits and flowers and a black-and-white drawing of an anther and pistil. In 1978, Lock gave a complete description of the species and designated as lectotype a fruit in BM, labelled 'korarima of Abyssinia, Dr Beke'.

(2) Although Pereira's Amomum korarima (1850) has always been considered as the oldest name for this taxon, A. Braun already named it in 1848. Braun reported that he had received Ethiopian fruits from W. Ph. Schimper, who had received them from his relative W. Schimper, at that time living in Ethiopia: ' ... in jüngster Zeit hat der kühne und ausdauernde Reisende [W. Schimper], der unterdessen zum abyssinischen Statthalter der Provinz Antitcha geworden und seine Residenz in Amba Sea aufgeschlagen hat, weitere Materialien zur Kenntniss der abyssinischen Culturund Arnzei-pflanzen, mit viel en handschriftlichen Bemerkungen begleitet, an sein en Verwandten in Strassburg, den Bryologen W. Ph. Schimper, gesendet, welcher die


Güte hatte, die gesendeten Exemplare und Samen mit mir zu theilen...'. On p. 95-96 as No 35, Braun (1848) published Amomum? Corrorima, with the following notes and description: 'Kommt durch den Handel a us den Gallalandern und wird als Gewürz benützt. Preis in Godscham 2000 Stück zu 1 Thaler, in Massauah 500-1000 Stück zu 1 Thaler. Die von Schirnper unter dem Namen Corrorima gesendeten Früchte gleichen am meisten dem Cardamomum javanicum des Handels, sind aber fast doppelt so gross; von dem Cardamomum longum sind sie durch grossere Dicke sehr verschieden. Sie sind 3-facherig und enthalten zahlreiche, in hautige Hüllen eingeschlossene Sarnen, welche an Grosse, Gestalt und Farbe fast ganz mit den Paradieskornern übereinstimmen, jedoch von weniger brennendem, angenehmer gewürzhaftem Geschmacke sind.' Although Braun was not certain whether this taxon belonged to the genus Amomum, the name Amomum corrorima is a validly and effectively published name, and has priority over Pereira's name of 1850. Here I publish the new combination Aframomum corrorima (Braun) Jansen, as the korarima certainly belongs in the genus Aframomum. I cannot locate the original herbarium material of Braun. Most probably it went to Berlin, where it is no longer.

Neither was it to be found in the following herbaria: Giessen, HBG, KR, LZ, TUB, K. At Berlin, one box with 3 korarima fruits (!) is present with the labels: 734, Amomum korarima Abyssinia and (written by Loesener): 'species incertae sedis sogenanntes Amomum korarima Pereira?'. It is not likely that these fruits are from Braun's collection, otherwise the Schimper name 'corrorima' would have been used. At Paris, however, one box (No F511) contains 2 fruits of korarima and a label, written by W. Schimper himself: 'corrorima. Kommt durch den Handel nur von den Gallalandern. Frucht als Gewürze. Früchte in Godscham 2000- 1 Thaler, in Massauah 500-1000- 1 Thaler'. As this text is exactly the same as Braun reports, this specimen may be considered an isotype of the specimens Schimper sent to W. Ph. Schimper and, for lack of Braun's specimens, I designate these two fruits at P as the lectotype of the species. The box also contains some loose brown korarima seeds and black Nigella sativa seeds, which may indicate that Schimper bought the fruits on a market in Ethiopia, where spice samples are often mixed intentionally or unintentionally with other things (Nigella sativa seeds are used as a spice in Ethiopia; see p. 76). The box bears the name: Amomum angustifolium, for purposes of labelling.

(3) In the same habitats as A. corrorima, another Aframomum can be found in Ethiopia: A. zambesiacum (Baker) K. Schum. subsp. puberulum Lock. This species is known in Kefa Province as 'sheti-ofjo' (monkey's korarima) and is not used by the people. The people distinguish this species from the real korarima by the smell of the leaves: the leaves of the real korarima are more aromatic. Other clear distinguishing characteristics of this species ar.e: the leaves are pubescent on the margins and on the midrib below; inflorescences have 25-50 flowers; bracts of the peduncle are densely appressed-puberulous over their whole external surface (Lock, 1978).

The species A. polyanthum (K. Schum.) K. Schum. and A. sanguineum (K. Schum.) K. Schum., though listed by Cufodontis (1972), have not been collected in Ethiopia as far as is known (Lock, pers. commun., 1979).

(4) The description is based on the following specimens:


Hararge Kef a Shoa Wollega Alemaya market: WP 31 (dry frs) , PJ 5910 (dry frs); Dire Dawa market: WP 135 (dry frs), Bos 8356 (dry frs) , PJ 1035 (dry frs); Harar market: WP 68 (dry frs) , Bos 8044 (dry frs, also in spirit). 20 Km NW of Bonga, near Buba, ait. 1800 rn, 17-8-1965: W. de Wilde c.s. 7788 (fl, frs); Bonga, araund catholic mission station, ait. 1800 rn, 17-2-1968: WP 3328 (fl, frs in spirit); 8 Km on raad Bonga-Wush-Wush, ait. 1800 rn, 18-2-1968: WP 3342 (fl, frs, also in spirit); 11.5 Km on raad Bonga-Wush-Wush, ait. 1930 rn, 5-7-1968: WP 5536 (fl, frs, also in spirit); 8 Km on Bonga-Jimma raad, ait. 1700 rn, 6-7-1969; J. J.F. E. de Wilde 5375 (frs); 8 Km on Bonga-Jimma raad, ait. 1700 rn, 30-8-1974: Bos 8431 (frs); Bonga, araund catholic mission station, ait. 1740 rn, 20-7-1975: PJ 2151 (frs), ait. 1750 rn, 21-7-1975: PJ 2198 (frs); Araund Bonga, ait. 1850 rn, 24-3-1976: PJ 5544 (fl, frs in spirit), 15 Km on raad Bonga-Jimma, ait. 1900 rn, 26-3-1976: PJ 5620 (frs); Agara market: SL 108 (seeds); Bonga market: WP 5537 (seeds), PJ 2206 (frs, also in spirit), PJ 2207 (dry frs); Jimma market: Bos 8630 (dry frs, also in spirit). Shashemene market: WP 1727 (frs, also in spirit). Ghimbi market: PJ 1183 (dry frs), PJ 1188 (dry frs).

The following specimens originating from Ethiopia, were seen: Addis Ababa, 1937: P. G. Piovano 18(frs, FT); Bonga, 7° 15'N x 36° 13'E ait. 1700 rn, 7-1-1973: I. Friis, Getachew Aweke, F. Rasmu sen, K. Vollesen 2133 (frs, K); Bonga, r15'N x 36°11'E, ait. 1800 rn , 29-4-1967: E. F. Gilbert 302 (fl, K); Bonga, 7°15'N x 36°15'E, ait. 1800 rn , 15-11-1960: H. F. Mooney 8657 (K); W. de Wilde c.s. 7788 (K); Bonga, 7-5-1937: Ufosso 194 (Fr); Bonga, April1937: P. G. Ciravegna s.n . (frs, Fr); Ghimbie, 9°11'N x 35°50'E, ait. 2000 rn , 4-2-1962: F. G. Meyer 8152 (K); Gondar, 30-10-1909: E. Chiovenda 3303 (frs, Fr); Kachissy, 21-10- 1935: E. Taschdjian 151 (frs, Fr); Kaikala forest , 12 km N of Bonga, 7°19'N x 36°12'E: F. G. Meyer 7873 (K); Mezan Tefari , 6°58'N x 35°25'E, ait. 1350m, 29-7-1962: H.F. Mooney 9187 (FT,K); Box with fruits s.n. (Amomum korarima Pereira, Elem. Mat. Med. p. 1136, fig. 245-247, BM); Box with 2 fruits, F 511 , with label in Schimper's handwriting, s.n. , Corrarima etc. (P, lectotype); R. Corradi 10515 (fr, FT); Khor Aba, Aloma plateau, Sudan, 7-3-1939: J. G. Meyers 10612 (fi, K).


In Ethiopia, korarima grows naturally at (1350-) 1700-2000 rn altitude on slighty shaded, more or Jess open places in forests. These areas have an annual rainfall of ca 1300 mm to more than 2000 mm, ofwhich 50-60% falls in 'summer' (June-August) and 15-20% in 'spring' (March-May); there is no real dry season. The annual average temperature is ca 20°C (Westphal, 1975). Noteworthy is that in Ethiopia korarima grows in almost the same habitats as coffee in the wild.

The plants flower from January to September (some perhaps also in the remaining months). The fruits are mature ca 2-3 months after flowering. The main flowering period in Kefa Province is June-July with fruits in September-October (Pajella, 1938; Siegenthaler, 1963; Herb. WAG).

The position of the stigma in the flower, below or against the base of the anther thecas, hints at self-pollination of korarima, but there is no experimental or observational evidence. The presence of rather large nectaries at the top of the ovary make insect visits rather probable. In many other Aframomum species, the stigma is situated at the top of the anther-thecas and cross-pollination caused by insects is the normal process, although the plants are self-fertile too. Most probably the flowers are open for only one day (Lock et al., 1977).


Natural dispersal of the seeds is certainly increased by animais (monkeys), which eat the pulp around the seeds.


Korarima can be propagated by seeds but is probably easier and quicker to plant from rhizome parts. No information is available about its cultivation methods in Ethiopia. In Kefa Province the fruits are mainly harvested from plants growing in the wild. Perhaps people influence the wild population by rough propagation. As the desired products of korarima are the seeds, only mature red fruits should be gathered; they should be carefully dried. The fruits are usually pierced near the top

Photograph 2. Aframomum corrorima in forest near Bonga.


and strung on strips of banana fibre or other ropes and hung to dry in the sun (Siegenthaler, 1963). As the drying is usually badly done, and the fruits are often mixed with immature ones, the dried product is ofpoor quality. So there is no export to Europe nor the United States. Sorne is exported to markets of Sudan, Egypt, Arabia, Iran and India (Baldrati, 1950).

The dried fruits are sold on almost every Ethiopian market and are quite expensive, relative to other spices (ca 5-10 birr-cts per fruit). In the production are as, fresh fruits are sold too, rarely only seeds.

If the cultivation method is comparable to the West African Aframomum melegueta, the plants are sown in the rainy season, in the shade of other crops and transplanted the next rainy season to a more even spacing. The plants start producing 3 years after sowing and may produce during the next 4 years. The yield (without fertilizers) cao be ca 500 kg of dried fruits per ha (Lock et al., 1977).

Stewart & Dagnatchew (1967) observed a rust, Puccinia aframomi Hansford, on korarima plants in Kefa Province.


1. Culinary uses

Korarima seeds ( dried, sometimes fresh) are used in Ethiopia to flavour all kinds of 'wot', for which they are ground and usually mixed with other spices. Another widespread use of the seeds in Ethiopia is as a flavouring to coffee (sometimes also to tea). Sometimes they are used to flavour a special kind of bread (Asrat, 1962). In Kefa Province butter is flavoured with korarima (Pajella, 1938). Compared to other Aframomums (A. melegueta), the seeds of korarima have a less peppery pungent taste; they have a milder, sweeter flavour (Flückiger & Hanbury, 1874; Engler, 1895). The arilloid flesh around the seeds is edible too (Engler, 1895).

2. Medicinal uses

In Ethiopia the seeds of korarima are used as a tonic, as a carminative and as a purgative (Ferrara, 1957; Lemordant, 1960).

3. Miscellaneous uses

Sometimes strings of fruits are used as an ornament or, by the Arabs, as rosaries (Flückiger & Hanbury, 1874). The fruits were once used as money in Ethiopia (Berger, 1964).

Chemical composition

The seeds of korarima contain ca 1-2% of an essential oil (Ferrara, 1957; Berger, 1964). The oil has a typical odour and is sorne times called 'nutmeg-cardamom' (Berger, 1964). Lawrence (1970) steam-distilled dried comminuted fruits for 8


hours and obtained about 3.5% of pale yellow volatile oil with a flat cineolic odour, in which he found the following compounds:

  • α-pinene 3.2%
  • camphene 0.2%
  • β-pinene 6.8%
  • sabinene 6.7%
  • myrcene 0.4%
  • α-phellandrene 0.3%
  • α-terpinene 0.9%
  • limonene 13.5%
  • 1,8-cineol 35.1%
  • γ-terpinene 2.6%
  • P-cymene 3.9%
  • terpinolene 0.4%
  • terpinen-4-ol 5.4%
  • α-terpineol 3.4%
  • geraniol 4.8%