Rhynchosia adenodes Eckl. & Zeyh.
Common names: monyamadi (Sesotho); ungazini (isiZulu)
A bright yellow-flowered, indigenous, prostrate herb, with long trailing stems; its roots are used in traditional medicine for the treatment of rheumatism, menstrual pains and dysentery.
Rhynchosia adenodes is a perennial, prostrate herb, with a long, trailing stem, growing from a woody rootstock, 0.1–0.6 m long. The stems are decumbent, glabrous or pubescent. The leaves are trifoliate; leaflets terminal, ovate-orbicular, 6–40 × 5–30 mm, acute or obtuse, resinous dotted; petiole 5–35 mm long; stipules at right angles to the stem, ovate-lanceolate, 2–7 × 0.5–2.5 mm, glabrous. The inflorescence in axillary racemes or terminal clusters, 40–140 mm long, glabrous or pubescent. The flowers are 7–14 mm long, yellow with orange or maroon-purple venation on petals, glabrous or glandular pubescent. The fruit is a small pod, 15–18 × 4–6 mm, glabrous or glandular pubescent.
Flowering time is in spring, summer and autumn (September–June).
According to the Red List of South African plants, Rhynchosia adenodes is assessed as Least Concern (LC), as evaluated against the five IUCN criteria.
Distribution and habitat
Rhynchosia adenodes has a restricted distribution in southern Africa. In South Africa, it occurs in Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape. It is also found in Lesotho. It grows in grassland, forest, among rocks, on hillsides.
Derivation of name and historical aspects
The name Rhynchosia is derived from the Greek word, rhynchos, meaning ‘a beak’, 'snout’ or ‘horn’, referring to the keel of the flowers. The specific name adenodes, means ‘with glandular knots’.
Rhynchosia adenodes is browsed by stock.
Rhynchosia adenodes is an important medicinal plant in traditional healing in southern Africa, especially for the Basotho, Swazis and Zulu people. A decoction of the plant is used to treat rheumatism and menstrual pains. It is also used in veterinary medicine: crushed roots and stems is given to calves for dysentery.
Growing Rhynchosia adenodes
In its natural habitat, Rhynchosia adenodes is a fairly fast grower. There is no evidence of this species being cultivated in gardens. Users of this plant usually harvest it from the wild.
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National Herbarium, Pretoria
Plant Type: Ground Cover, Perennial, Scrambler
SA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape, Western Cape
Soil type: Sandy, Clay, Loam
Flowering season: Spring, Early Summer, Late Summer, Autumn
PH: Acid, Neutral
Flower colour: Purple, Yellow, Orange
Aspect: Full Sun, Morning Sun (Semi Shade), Afternoon Sun (Semi Shade)
Gardening skill: Challenging