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Alwaru, scientifically known as Crotalaria ochroleuca or clotolaria in French, is a small leguminous plant, not exceeding one meter in height, with small lobed leaves not exceeding 50 cm long that are green in color. It is mainly grown for its use as a vegetable. To cultivate alwaru, seeds are scattered and after about a month leaves begin to emerge. These can be picked to encourage further growth. Additionally, cutting the main stem causes other stems to emerge. Harvesting the leaves causes the flowers to bloom. The remaining plant can be harvested about six weeks after planting by cutting the remaining leaves and flowers. Both parts of the plant have a slightly bitter taste.   This food has a long history in what is today the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is considered a food of honor, though it is the least expensive and most economical food at the table. A local proverb refers to the slippery characteristic of the alwaru leaves. In general, many women sell alwaru at the market, and the vegetable is considered a good way to bring in profits. About 50 kg can be found sold at local markets each day. It is grown throughout the Ituri area of the northeastern part of the country, particularly in the valley of Bunia Mbiyo.   Although alwaru is popular amongst market buyers for its ability to promote digestion and its affordability, younger generations have less of an appreciation for the crop. Many children today prefer other foods to this traditional vegetable. The historical and nutritional benefits of alwaru should be promoted among younger generations to ensure that there is a future market and farmers continue to cultivate this vegetable.

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