Fruits

Hog plums for food

Spondias mombin (Anacardiaceae); Common names: Mungyenge (Kongo), Hog plums Description A tree which grows to 25 m. Flowering occurs during the dry season. Fruiting of hog plums starts after about 5 years though cuttings may produce earlier. The tree has…

Ambarella fruit in the Mekong Delta

Ambarella fruit (Spondias dulcis Parkinson; syn.: Spondias cytherea) is native to Melanesia and Polynesia and was introduced worldwide throughout the tropics. Its other common English names are Jew plum and Golden apple. In the Mekong Delta, it is omnipresent in…

Rattan fruits in Siberut jungles

Rattan fruits are available throughout the year in all Southeast Asian rainforests. There are about 600 different species of rattans, and many of them bear edible fruits. However, rattan prickles are a common nuisance when walking in the jungle. Nevertheless,…

Raphia sese – a very special Raphia palm

Raphia sese (Arecaceae) Common names: Nsaku (Kongo = knife with a long blade), ba di magangu (Kongo). Description A palm which grows in dense clumps up to 10 m tall. Female flowers are produced at the base and male flowers…

Wild Karuka and another pandanus fruit species

The Pandanaceae botanical family comprises the following six species in Papua New Guinea: ‘Karuka’ and ‘Marita’ were already discussed on this website in two former articles. ‘Karuka’, see here, and ‘Marita’ see there. In the following, ‘Wild Karuka’ and Pandanus…

Karuka – cultivated pandanus fruits and nuts

Tok Pisin: Karuka Scientific name: Pandanus jiulianettii Two species of pandanus are commonly used for the nuts that are eaten. They are Karuka (Pandanus jiulianettii Martelli) and wild Karuka (Pandanus brosimos Merr & Perry). At least 3 other species of…

Use of Tsamma melons in Namibia

Tsamma melons are the original progenitors of watermelons. Historical records indicate that these melons were already under cultivation in the Nile valley as far back as 2000 BC. In contemporary times, Tsamma melons continue to be utilized for their oil…

Marita – a lesser known pandanus fruit

English names: Marita or ‘Red Fruit’ Tok pisin name: Marita Bahasa Indonesia name: Buah Merah Scientific name: Pandanus conoideus Lamarck The marita pandanus plant A short much branched screw pine with many prop roots. The prop roots have prickles. Trees…

Sweet ‘White Berry Bush’ fruits

Synonyms White Berry bush, Snowball bush (Eng.); Witbessiesbos (Afrikaans); Chinese waterberry (China), Goowal (Yawuru Australia); Flueggea virosa (Lat.) – Flügge was a German botanist, and virosa means poisonous or having a bad odor. Distribution Figure on the right: © National…

Sourplum fruits for food and oil

Sourplums, which belong to the Olacacea family, comprise two species: the Blue Sourplum (Ximenia americana) and the Great Sourplum (Ximenia caffra). Blue Sourplum The Blue Sourplum is naturally distributed in semi-tropical and tropical countries around the world, as shown on…

Milkplum (Stamvrug) fruits grow directly out of the tree trunk

Milkplum (Englerophytum magalismontanum (Sond.) T.D.Penn). Common names: (Afr) Stamvrug. (Eng) Milkplum, Wild plum. (isiZulu) Amanumbela. (Northern Sotho) Mohlatswa. (siSwati) UmNumbela. (Tshivenda) Munombelo. (Xitsonga) Nombhela. Old name: Bequaertiodendron magalismontanum Distribution Milkplum is widely distributed from Central Africa to Botswana and Eastern…

Monkey orange, an eagerly sought-after fruit

Monkey orange is the collective common name for the fruit of at least five different Strychnos tree species, which occur from Durban/South Africa up to Western Tigray in Ethiopia. These fruits are highly delicious, and all parts of the trees…

Breadfruits (Artocarpus altilis) in Central Africa

Synonyms A. communis, A. incises; Common names Kikwa ki santu Petelo (Kongo), arbre à pain (Fr.), breadfruit Description A tree up to 35m tall produces a wide crown. All parts of the tree produce a white, bitter latex. Fruits are…

Indochina Dragon Plums from Hanoi streets

The Indochina Dragon Plum (Dracontomelon duperreanum) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Anacardiaceae. In Vietnamese it is called: chi sấu). Dragon Plums are one of the most popular kinds of trees on the side of Hanoi streets….

African mammee apple in West- and Central Africa

Common names are Mafambu, Dimbu dingi (dingi = gum, resin, incense) (Kongo), Bokodji (Lingala), African mammee apple, Oboto or Djimbo (commerce). Scientific name: Mammea africana. Description A large forest tree up to 45 m tall with a straight, cylindrical trunk…

Marang fruits in Southeast-Asian Rainforests

There are several local names for the tree and fruits of Artocarpus odoratissimus. In English, it is simply called ‘Marang’, which is based on the Philippines’ common name for the fruit. Originally endemic to the region around Mindanao, Sarawak, Kalimantan,…

Cashew apples and -nuts in Goa, India

Cashew trees (Anacardium occidentale) are native to areas around Northeastern Brazil. Portuguese colonists brought them around 1560 to Goa, India, from where they spread to Southeast Asia and finally Africa. Therefore, cashew products already have a long history in Goa…

Jujube trees at Ayutthaya in Thailand

The Ayutthaya Historical Park covers the ruins of the old city of Ayutthaya, which was founded already in 850 AD by the Khmer and named after the Hindu holy city of Ajodhya. It was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767…

Trunk it – it’s Marula beer!

Marula season in Southern Africa is normally in February each year. When Marulas (Sclerocarya birrea) are getting ripe, they turn from green to yellow and fall from the female Marula trees. On the ground, they are ripening up fully and…

Natal Mahogany seed milk and its preparation

Natal Mahogany (Trichilia emetica) trees have got a dense canopy of dark green, glossy leaves, and a round outer shape of the tree silhouette. They preferably grow in moist places and riparian forests along drainage lines. Natal Mahogany is easy…

Buffalo thorn tree – an icon in Southern Africa

The Buffalo thorn tree (Ziziphus mucronata) is called in Afrikaans “Blinkblaar-wag-‘n-bietjie” for its shiny leaves and two thorns, which hold people back when getting caught by them. The shrub or tree has got distinctive zigzag branchlets with pairs of two…

Greenthorn tree and its uses

The Greenthorn tree (Balanites maughamii) is easily recognizable in Southern Africa due to its triangular, fluted, or buttressed trunk. Its spines are green like its twigs and often forked. It is very spiny and hard to climb. It mainly grows…

Harvesting and opening Nipa Palm fruits

Nipa palms (Nypa fruticans) are a species of palms especially adapted to muddy environments of slow-moving tidal waters and mangrove forests and occur in Asia-Pacific tropical climates. And Nipa palm fruits are delicious to eat. Both, fruits, and wooden parts…

Heavenly Durian

The fruit Durian (Durio zibethinus) is named after the Malay word ‘Duri’ for ‘Thorn’, referring to the thorny skin, and ‘zibethinus’ obviously refers to its smell. And the most sought-after variety in Malaysia is ‘Musang King’, where ‘Musang’ means ‘Palm…