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The vegetable foods of the natives of western equatorial Africa are various, but their principal carbohydrates, their two staves of life, so to speak, are the tuber of the cassava or manioc, (Jatiopha manihot,) and the fruit of the plantain (Musa sapientum).
They grow also maize, yams, sweet potato, arum, gourds, squash, pumpkin, okra, beans, tomato, ground-nuts, eschalots, cayenne pepper.
Their agriculture in that part of Africa requires no general upturning of the soil. A spot having been selected in the forest adjacent to the village, the women first go through with long knives or matchets, and cut down all the underbrush and saplings. Then the men follow, felling the trees. These with their branches and dense foliage interlocked by a super-abundance of vines and lianos, impenetrably cover the acres of the chosen space and lie dying for some two weeks. This is done during that season that is without
NASSAN RH. WEST AFRICAN NATIVE FOODS. JAMA. 1893;XXI(5):160–162. doi:10.1001/jama.1893.02420570020001f
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