Gemsbok bean - Marama bean, a source of food

The Marama or Gemsbok bean grows in dry soils, mainly in the Kalahari region, and therefore is drought tolerant.

The plant used to be a food-source for the SAN people, as the large seeds (20-30gm each) have a high protein and oil content. The seeds are usually roasted, giving them a nutty flavour. The seeds can also be boiled.

The edible underground tubers have a high protein content of 9%. The general weight of a tuber can be up to 10kg, but in Botswana a tuber of 277kg was once found.

The Afrikaans name for the Marama is the Marambaboontjie.