Eriosema praecox R.E.Fr.
Eriosema mirabile R.E.Fr.
Eriosema rhodesicum is an erect perennial plant with several to many unbranched stems around 30cm tall. The plant grows from a woody rootstock, which gives off roots bearing tubers that are 20 - 40mm x 10mm. The plant sometimes flowers when only 7cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food
Tropical Africa - Nigeria to southern Ethiopia, south through east Africa to Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique
Seasonally burnt grassland (flowering stems appearing after fire); rocky hillsides; grassland with scattered trees on shallow soil; open forests; grassy or wooded savannah; at elevations from 1,170 - 2,400 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 tubers are around 20 - 40mm x 10mm[
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[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.