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Valentine.gr  

August 2018

Did you know that Dacryodes edulis It has long been used not only as food but and in traditional medicine of some African countries?

African plum - Safou (Dacryodes edulis).

African plum - Safou - Dacryodes edulis

Dacryodes edulis or safou is a fruit tree native to Africa, sometimes called Atanga (Gabon), Ube (Nigeria), African or bush pear or plum, Nsafu, bush butter tree, or butterfruit. The name of the genus comes from the Greek word for tear, dakruon. This is a reference to the resin droplets on bark surface of its members. The species name edulis means edible.

Dacryodes edulis is an evergreen tree attaining a height of 18–40 m in the forest but not exceeding 12 m in plantations. It has a relatively short trunk and a deep, dense crown. The straight, cylindrical bole is often shallowly fluted and branching from low down; it can be up to 90cm in diameter. The bark is pale gray and rough with droplets of resin. The leaves are a compound with 5-8 pairs of leaflets. The upper surface of the leaves is glossy. The flowers are yellow and about 5 mm across. They are arranged in a large inflorescence. The fruit is an ellipsoidal drupe which varies in length from 4 to 12 cm. The skin of the fruit is dark blue or violet, whereas the flesh is pale to light green. The tree flowers at the beginning of the rainy season and bears fruits during 2 to 5 months after flowering. There are two variants of Dacryodes edulis: D. e. var. edulis and D. e. var. parvicarpa. The fruit of D. e. var. edulis is larger and the tree has stout, ascending branches. D. e. var. parvicarpa has smaller fruit and slender, drooping branches.

The preferential habitat of D. edulis is a shady, humid tropical forest. However, it adapts well to variations in soil type, humidity, temperature and day length. The natural range extends from Angola in the South, Nigeria and Sierra Leone in the West and Uganda in the East.A major fruit crop in parts of Africa, where the tree is widely utilised as a local source of food, medicine and other commodities. It is both harvested from the wild and also often cultivated. It is also grown as a shade and ornamental tree  It is also cultivated in Malaysia and Honduras.

The main use of D. edulis is its fruit, which can be eaten either raw, cooked in salt water or roasted. A pleasant, subacid flavour. Cooked flesh of the fruit has a texture similar to butter. The pulp contains 48% oil and a plantation can produce 7-8 tons of oil per hectare. The oil of fruits of D. edulis is a rich source of fatty acids and triglycerides. The fat content of this fruit is much higher compared to fruits such as apple, guava, and pawpaw. It is also rich in vitamins. The kernel can be used as fodder for sheep or goats. The flowers are useful in apiculture. 

The wood of D. edulis is elastic, greyish-white to pinkish. The wood has general use for tool handles, and occasionally for mortars, and is suitable for carpentry. The wood is used mainly for fuel.

The seed of Dacryodes edulis is rich in different proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, crude fibres, appreciable amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It is also rich in essential amino acids such as Lysine, Phenylalanine, Leucine, Isoleucine. It contain a considerable amount of fatty acis such as palmitic acis, oleic acis and Linoleic acids Physicochemical analysis suggested that the seed have valuable functional attributes of industrial interest The important natural product, Gallic acid,is found in significant quantity in the seed of Dacryodes edulis. The seed kernel is also rich in oil of the same fatty acids and approximately in similar amounts.

The bark is aromatic and on injury yields a resin[46, 332]. This is used in various ways - in perfumery; as an adhesive for mending broken earthenware; as a waterproofing the inner surface of calabashes; it can also be burnt as a primitive lamp-oil or bush-candle.

The tree is also a source of many herbal medicines. It has long been used in the traditional medicine of some African countries to treat various ailments such as wound, skin diseases, dysentery and fever. The extracts and secondary metabolites have been found to show biological activities such as antimicrobial, antioxidant [and anti sickle-cell disease.[citation needed] A wide range of chemical constituents such as terpenes, flavonoids, tannins, alkaloids and saponins have been isolated from the plant.

The tree is used as an ornamental plant and is known to improve soil quality by providing large quantities of biomass. 

Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dacryodes_edulis
http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Dacryodes+edulis

 

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African plum - Safou - Dacryodes edulis
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