Tag Archives: Aluka: JSTOR Plant Science

Diary of an Explorer at the Tugen Hills…

Day 3: Medicinal Plant Collection

Our mission on that day was to collect as many medicinal plants as possible. We followed our usual routine and left house at 8am in the morning. We joined Mathew at the center (main point at Morop) and spent the whole day trekking one side of the mountain collecting medicinal plant samples, taking pictures and videos.

For each plant that was picked we paused for a couple of minutes attentively listening to Bakari, Mathew and Ester as they each shared their knowledge about the plants. It was absolutely interesting. Most of the morning was spent collecting medicinal plants from the lower part of the mountain and the rest of the day we focused on the midsection of the mountain. Some plants can only be found on certain parts of the mountain but in this case we found that most of the plants obtained could be located from a lower altitude to a higher altitude on the Morop Mountain. For each plant that was collected Bakari placed them in the middle of a two paged newspaper. He later on taught us how to arrange and press the plants using a plant press, which he made using pieces of leftover wood and wire. Check out the entertaining videos below, on the procedure of how to use a plant press.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/CoI94UAT2R0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/tg2OviV3ynU" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

We managed to collect around 30 medicinal plants in just one day. A great feeling of accomplishment filled our hearts because we didn’t anticipate collecting so much in just a day…what a productive day!!! Later on Mr. William Kimosop, the senior warden of the area joined us in the evening and was with us for the rest of the trip…it was a great pleasure having him with us!!

Day 4: Plant identification and Information compilation

The day was spent at the home stay, identifying each of the plants collected and writing down their uses and the treatments and also planning the agenda for the rest of the expedition. As Bakari was arranging, pressing and identifying the scientific names of each plant with the help of his son and Philip. Ester, Mathew and I were jolting down each of the plants information and their uses. It took longer than expected because we collected several plant species the previous day. William also spent the day with us, telling as amazing stories about the great rift valley and the beautiful places to visit and the adrenaline pumping adventures that are yet to be experienced by not only us but by everyone who loves the wilderness…

Our Plant of the day was….

Croton dichogamus

Common name: Orange leaves croton

Local Tugen: Kelelwet

Family: Euphobiaceae

Synonyms: Croton kilwae

Croton dichogamus

Croton dichogamus


A Multi-stemmed shrub to 3 meters high with many branches, thin twigs and numerous leaves.

Leaves: silvery beneath and brownish on the upper surface, turning orange before falling, aromatic.

Flowers: yellowish and sometimes with male flowers only (male and female separate).

Fruits: golden brown 3 lobed capsules in small clusters.


Commonly grows in dry bushland, mostly on rocky soil, thickets, along dry upland forest edges and also in disturbed and grazed areas at altitudes of 500-2100m.


Leaves are crushed to remove juice and then used in the production of local brew. The leaves that fall to the ground are eaten by goats and are also browsed to a lesser extent. Medicinal uses: the roots are boiled for fever and stomach problems.

Preparation and Dosage

An infusion made by boiling the roots in water.

Children: ½ a cup, 2 times (morning and evening) a day for 3 days.

Adults: 1 cup, 2 times (morning and evening) a day for 3 days.