Smithia elliotii is a decumbent annual or perennial plant with stems that can be 40 - 180cm long[
]. The plant forms adventitious roots[
The plant is commonly harvested from the wild for local use as a food. The leaves are commonly sold in local markets[
Tropical Africa - ?Nigeria, ?Cameroon, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, eastern DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar.
Mainly in coarse grassland and other dense herbage in glades; also on the edge of rain forest and swamp forest, along streams, in ditches and in swamps, sometimes even growing in standing water; at elevations from 1,150 - 2,700 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[
Leaves - cooked and eaten as a side dish[
]. The leaflets are separated from the rachis and cooked with the addition of potash[
]. They keep their form even when cooked[
]. The cooked product is so slippery that most of it runs back into the dish when a lump of porridge is dipped in; hence it goes a long way[
]. The dish is frequently eaten by women and children and is prepared especially for babies and invalids[
]. The leaflets are very small and it is rather a tedious process plucking them from the stem[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.