Niger plant

Niger edible, semi-drying oil-yielding, seed-bearing plant, Guizotia abyssinica, of the family Compositae, a native of tropical Africa, a much branched annual herb up to a metre height, produces 40-60 small sunflower-like flowers. Each flower produces 50-60 small, elongated black shiny seeds. The seed contains 30-50% oil and about 20% protein. There is no recognized variety and the total estimate of cultivation is not available.

In Bangladesh it is cultivated as rabi crop in the limited areas of Comilla, Brahmanbaria, Magura, Jamalpur and Gopalganj districts. The yield of seed per hectare is about 1200 kg. The oil is obtained by pressing the seeds. It is used for culinary purposes and as illuminant for varnishes and soap manufacture. The pressed cake is a good fodder and manure. [Mostafa Kamal Pasha]