Eriosema cordatum is a prostrate, ascending or rarely erect herbaceous perennial plant producing a cluster of stems from a woody rootstock; the rootstock can be 15 - 23cm long and 1 - 1.5cm thick (withsome reports saying up to 10cm thick). The stems are usually 12 - 45cm long, occasionally reaching 60cm[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine.
Southern Africa - Zimbabwe, eastern S. Africa, Swaziland
Open woodland with Peltophorum africanum, Pterocarpus rotundifolius, Acacia spp., etc.; grassland; tableland; often on black soil; sometimes abundant; at elevations from 250 - 1,750 metres[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The plant is used to restore male fertility[
]. Should the male organs fail altogether to produce seminal fluid, a hot milk infusion of the roots of this species, combined with Eriosema salignum, drunk at bedtime, will result in an early emission[
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[
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