There is often confusion over this name. Mimusops balata Crueg. ex Griseb., is a synonym of Manilkara bidentata (A.DC.) A.Chev., a plant of the American tropics that is commonly known as Balata and is the source of Balata gum. The species treated here, Mimusops balata (Aubl.) C.F.Gaertn., is a distinct African species[
Achras balata Aubl.
Binectaria borbonica Kuntze
Imbricaria balata (Aubl.) A.Chev.
Imbricaria binectaria A.DC.
Imbricaria borbonica C.F.Gaertn.
Imbricaria commersonii G.Don
Imbricaria gigantea Pierre ex Baill.
Imbricaria maxima Poir.
Kaukenia commersonii (G.Don) Pierre ex Engl.
Mimusops balota Blume
Mimusops commersonii (G.Don) Engl.
Mimusops imbricaria Willd.
Mimusops maxima (Poir.) R.E.Vaughan
Mimusops nattarium Willemet
Mimusops retusa Willemet
Mimusops balata is a tree that can grow up to 20 metres tall[
The tree has been heavily exploited for construction timber, and is also harvested from the wild as a local supply of food and medicine[
]. In Réunion the tree is planted for ecological restoration of the environment and as an ornamental tree[
Africa - Mauritius, Réunion.
Humid forests at elevations up to 1,100 metres[
]. In drier regions it is usually found along streams[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
The tree is fairly slow-growing[
Fruit - raw. A sweet pulp with an agreeable flavour[
]. The fruit is a bright green, globose to pear-shaped berry 5 - 7 cm in diameter, containing 1 - 7 seeds[
A leaf decoction is astringent and used to treat diarrhoea, dysentery and haemorrhage[
The tree contains latex[
]. No uses are mentioned.
The heartwood is reddish brown. The wood is close-grained, heavy, hard and durable, even for exterior use. It is used for construction, shingles, joinery, furniture and wooden toys[
Seed - sow in a nursery seedbeds or individual containers, pressing the pointed ends of the seeds 2 - 3cm into the soil. Germination starts after 8 weeks, with the seeds sprouting over the next 4 weeks. It is possible tp speed up the process by mechanical scarification of the seed at its rounded end. Seedlings quickly develop a long taproot, so pot-sown seedlings need to be planted out whilst still small. Seedbed plants can be transplanted, so can be kept in the nursery for 8 - 9 months before planting out[
The seeds can be stored for 6 months at ambient temperature in air-tight containers[
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