Eriosema chinense is an erect, perennial plant producing unbranched or sparingly-branched stems 12 - 50cm tall from underground tubers[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine.
E. Asia - China, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines to New Guinea, Australia.
Found in a range of habitats including coniferous and open broadleaf forest; savannah and grassland; and roadsides, usually on sandy soils; at elevations up to 1,500 metres, occasionally to 2,000 metres[
The plant is found growing in sandy soils in the wild[
Tubers - raw or cooked[
]. They are traditionally eaten in various parts of Asia and Australia, either fresh, cooked or roasted[
]. The tubers contain 30% starch on a dry weight basis[
]. The cylindrical tubers are up to 5cm long and 3cm wide[
The seeds are astringent, diuretic and tonic. A decoction is given to women to promote discharge of the afterbirth, and to treat leucorrhoea and menstrual derangements[
]. A decoction, combined with ground pepper (Piper species), is used in the treatment of scrofula and diarrhoea[
The seed powder is externally applied to check cold sweats[
Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have ripened and dried the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[
Division of tubers
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