Xysmalobium involucratum, the scented xysmalobium or in Afrikaans hongersnoodwortel (famine root), is a perennial herb of South African grassland, found almost countrywide. It grows from coastal grass to the Lesotho highlands.
The erect or decumbent stem (or up to three stems) reaching a maximum of 36 cm in height, grows from a carrot-like stem-tuber. Stems are variably hairy and maroon, green or pale yellow in colour.
The leaves grow opposite or in whorls on short stalks. They are narrow and up to 13 cm long, sometimes hairy on both surfaces. The leaf folds inwards along the prominent whitish midrib; there are also parallel lateral veins across the narrow lateral blades.
Milky latex appears when the plant surface is damaged. The plant is used in traditional medicine (JSTOR; iSpot; www.plantzafrica.com).