This species is closely related to Sphenostylis schweinfurthii[
Dolichos erectus Baker f.
Sphenostylis gossweileri Baker f.
Sphenostylis homblei De Wild.
Sphenostylis marginata auct.
Sphenostylis marginata erecta (Baker f.) Verdc.
Sphenostylis marginata obtusifolia (Harms) Verdc.
Sphenostylis obtusifolia Harms
Sphenostylis ringoetii De Wild.
Vigna capitata De Wild.
Sphenostylis erecta is an erect to prostrate, deciduous, perennial climbing plant with stems that become more or less woody and persist. The stems can be up to 6 metres long from a long, thickened, woody rootstock that is up to 22cm long and 1cm wide - these stems can scramble over the ground or climb into the surrounding vegetation for support[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
The roots contain substances that are toxic to fish and other cold-blooded animals. The surfaces are scraped and the scrapings thrown into a pond to stun the fish, which are then harvested and used for food[
Tropical Africa - Central African Republic, Angola, southern DR Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique
Miombo and chipya woodlands with grassy areas; mixed deciduous woodland; Acacia woodland; woodland margins; open bushland; riverine vegetation; on furrow edges; rocky hillsides of sandstone and granite; etc[
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The plant usually appears after fire[
The plant often flowers on old wood before new leaves appear[
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[
Flowers - raw or cooked[
Green and mature seedpods are eaten cooked[
]. The seedpods are 70 - 120mm long and 5 - 8mm wide[
]. No more information is given, though they are probably soaked beforehand, the soakwater discarded and the seeds then cooked[
]. The brown, oblong-ovoid or discoid seeds are 5 - 7mm × 4 - 6mm × 2 - 3.5 mm, and are covered with a scurfy scaly indumentum[
Leaves - occasionally cooked and then eaten[
The roots are soaked in water until it turns red - salt is added and then the liquid is drunk as a treatment for diarrhoea[
A red exudate (gum) obtained from the roots is used to mend cracks in pots, to paint and decorate them, and to make them waterproof[
Fibres obtained from the roots are used to make mats and string[
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