The Fockea edulis species name (edulis) means edible. The Khoi people used to eat the tuber, which is edible after the alkaloids in the latex have been inactivated by cooking. There are stories that people have still been eating the plant in more recent times when food is scarce. Let us hope that easier forms of food production will remain viable so that these precious plants can remain safe. Some parts of the plant are still to be regarded as poisonous and care should be taken by prospective gourmets (www.desert-tropicals.com).
This specimen was photographed in the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden in January. It is probably planted next to a building to reduce the effect of winter rain, as the plant may rot from excess water in winter.