Hydnora esculenta is an unmistakable plant - a totally parasitic, perennial that is without any chlorophyll or leaves at all. With its vegetative parts looking more like a fungus, it is one of the strangest plants in the world. Its vegetative plant body is highly reduced and consists of only roots and flowers - it belongs to the only family of angiosperms with no leaves or scales of any sort. Parasitic on the roots of host trees, especially Acacia spp., it has an underground stem, or pseudo-rhizome, that grows into the host's roots and so extracts food. The plant is only seen when the tips of the flowers push out of the ground - even the fruit develops below the soil surface[
The edible fruit is gathered from the wild and is much esteemed locally[
Africa - Madagascar.
Forests and thickets[
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A plant of the subarid lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations below 500 metres[
]. A pleasant flavour[
]. A juicy, white pulp with a sour taste[
]. About the size of a pomegranate[
The plant is rich in tannins and has been used as an astringent medicine to treat diarrhoea[
The plant is a source of tannins[
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