Eriosema erectum Baker f.
Eriosema suborbiculare Hauman
Eriosema sousae Exell
Eriosema macrostipulum is an erect, perennial plant with stems that are often more or less unbranched, growing from a woody, spindle-shaped or globose rootstock up to 4 cm thick, with lateral tubers. The plant can grow 9 - 60cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food
Tropical Africa - Senegal to Sudan and Kenya, south through east Africa to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique
Grassland; grassland with scattered Acacia, etc.; Brachystegia woodland; rocky hillsides; stream banks in mutobo woodland; mixed Pterocarpus deciduous woodland; open bush; Hyparrhenia grassland; abandoned cultivations; weedy pasture; etc[
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 swollen root contains a milky sap[
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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