The vine grows on trees in the wild. It will grow in poor soils, even sandy or clay soils, but it prefers to grow in shaded locations.
To harvest the leaves, the vine is often just yanked down off the tree, leaving the choicest top parts of the plant still entwined around high tree branches, and killing the plant at the same time. It’s not a very efficient way of harvesting the plant, especially combined with the treks that have to be made into the forest in search of it.
There is no real tradition of cultivating the Afang vine yet. Development agencies are working at dispelling the popular belief that it can’t be cultivated. Cultivating it, the agencies believe, could be more profitable as it would allow the vines to be trained so that the youngest, choicest leaves would be within easy reach, and the leaves could be harvested without killing the plant.
A popular dish in southern Nigeria is Afang soup, made with the leaves.
Afang Leaves can be bought shredded and frozen in African food stores.
Wash Afang Leaves, and remove and discard the stems. When cooked in large pieces by simmering, the leaves will take about 1/2 an hour to get tender. Shredded leaves will cook more quickly.
The leaves can also be eaten raw.
Afang Leaves are high in protein.
Called Eru or Kok in Cameroon; “Koko” in Republic of Central Africa, “Ntoumou” in Gabon; “Afang”, “Ukazi” or “Okazi” in Nigeria.