Balanites tieghemii A.Chev.
Balanites wilsoniana is an evergreen tree with an irregular crown; it can grow 30 - 40 metres tall. The bole is sometimes spiny, often with high buttresses that continue upwards as twisted fluting[
]. It can be 100cm in diameter[
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use, supplying food, medicines and various commodities.
Tropical Africa - Ghana to Uganda, south to Angola and DR Congo.
A canopy tree in semi-deciduous or evergreen rain-forest; humid forest; lowland river-valley alluvium, and sometimes in sublittoral forest (Angola); in very mixed associations; on clay-rich substrates; at elevations up to 1,200 metres[
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A plant of tropical areas, in Tanzania it grows in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 1,000 - 1,800mm[
The seeds are said to be edible[
The seeds contain an oil that is used for cooking[
]. The seeds are pounded, boiled in water, then allowed to cool and the oil skimmed off[
Fruit - raw[
]. Eaten occasionally[
]. The green drupe ripens yellow, it is 6 - 10cm long, with an unpleasant smell[
A healing, soothing ointment is made of the oil[
Morphologically the fruit is a drupe. A steroidal saponin, diosgenin, is present in the fruit-pulp and in the kernel. This is a substance of interest as a starting point for the preparation of pharmaceutical steroids[
The roots of uncertain provenance have been tested for anti-malarial activity and found to be ineffective against avian malaria[
The bark contains numerous horizontal ring-like markings which are the cells containing a copious quantity of scented gum. This is commonly collected for making into a cosmetic. The gum is allowed to dry and then ground to a powder for use as a dusting-powder or the powder is mixed up with a little water to make a pomade for application to the neck or armpits[
]. The ointment is also applied to newborn babies and to suckling babies to make them grow big[
The fruit pulp is toxic to the snails which carry bilharzia[
]. Whether the fruit-pulp has molluscicidal and arthropodicidal properties as have other members of this genus merits investigation[
The seeds are oil-bearing[
]. The oil is used as a lubricant[
]. West African material has been reported as containing 30% oil of the kernel on dry weight, but since the seed-coat amounts to 79% of the whole seed, the net quantity of oil is relatively small[
]. The oil is brownish, acidic, and of an unpleasant taste[
The wood is soft and straight-grained, white but yellowing in time, fairly heavy. It works quite easily, polishes well, and is suitable for building poles, carvings, tool handles, spoons, walking sticks, furniture, grain mortars and stools.[
The wood is used for fuel and for making charcoal[
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