Gilbert, M.G. (1993) Aizoaceae in Flora of Somalia 1: 111-117
Plants usually prostrate or procumbent, somewhat succulent herbs, rarely erect, glabrous to sparsely or densely asperous. Stems to 40 cm long. Leaves petiolate; petioles 3-18 mm long, bases membranous winged and sheathing: blades up to 4 cm long and 2 cm wide, linear to elliptic or oblanceolate, bases cuneats, tips rounded. Inflorescences dense clusters of 5-20 ssessile to subsessile flowers. Perianths about 4 mm long, inner face often pink to deep red; stamens 5; ovaries 2-celled, lower portion pinkish and thinner than upper portion, with 1 ovule per cell; styles 2, separate to the base. Capsules about as long as the perianth, the upper portion disarticulating at maturity; seeds about 1.7 mm in diameter, irregularly ribbed.
Zalaya pentandra is native in woodlands, bushlands. and grasslands where it often grows along roads and paths and as a weed of waste places from sealevel to 1790 m. It is known from regions N1-3, C2, and S1-3 of the Flora of Somalia and from other dry parts of Africa from the Transvall to Egypt and Senegal, and from Madagascar, Arabia, and Palestine.
The plant is considered to be a dangerous poison in India, where it is believed to be capable of causing diarrhoea, paralysis and death by acute nephritis. It is eaten there only as a famine-food, though it is eaten as a vegetable by Arabs and Indians in Somalia.
M. Barkworth: The difference in perception might be a reflection of different cooking methods. Research is needed.