We depend on donations from users of our database of over 8000 edible and useful plants to keep making it available free of charge and to further extend and improve it. In recent months donations are down, and we are spending more than we receive. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Allanblackia parviflora - A.Chev.

Common Name Vegetable tallow tree, Ouotera
Family Clusiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Undergrowth in rain and secondary forest; at elevations up to 250 metres[328 ]. Most abundant in wet evergreen forest zone, especially on slopes and away from disturbed areas. Less common in semi-deciduous forest[299 ].
Range West tropical Africa - Guinea to Ghana.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Allanblackia parviflora Vegetable tallow tree, Ouotera

Allanblackia parviflora Vegetable tallow tree, Ouotera


Translate this page:


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Allanblackia parviflora is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


No synonyms are recorded for this name.


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

The fat obtained from the seed, known as 'allanblackia fat' or 'beurre de bouandjo' in Congo, is used in food preparation[299 ]. Recently, the international food industry has become interested in the fat as a natural solid component for margarines and similar products[299 ]. The seeds contain a fat that is solid at ambient temperatures. The kernel, which makes up about 60% of the seed, contains about 72% fat. The fatty acid composition of the fat is approximately: stearic acid 45 - 58% and oleic acid 40 - 51%. Only traces of other fatty acids are present. Its composition and relatively high melting point (35°c) makes the fat a valuable raw material that can be used without transformation to improve the consistency of margarines, cocoa butter substitutes and similar products[299 ]. Fruits are stored under a cover of leaves to allow the fruit pulp to disintegrate. To extract the seeds, fruits are crushed between the hands and seeds are rubbed clean. To extract the fat, seeds are dried and crushed; the resulting mass is mixed with water and boiled until the fat separates and floats to the surface, from where it is scooped off[299 ]. More modern hydraulic and screw press equipment is now also used[299 ]. The seeds are eaten in times of food scarcity[299 , 332 ]. The fruit’s slimy pulp can be made into jams and jellies[299 ]. The fruit is large, up to 30cm long by 10cm in diameter with upward of 100 seeds borne within in a translucent mucilage[332 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

A decoction of the inner bark is taken to treat diarrhoea, dysentery and stomach aches[299 , 303 ]. A decoction of the inner bark is used as a mouthwash to relieve the pain of toothache[299 , 303 ]. The bark is anodyne. A decoction of the bark or leaves is taken to treat asthma, bronchitis and cough[299 ]. The bark is pounded and rubbed on the body to relieve painful conditions[332 ]. Sap squeezed from the bark is a component of a medicine used to treat urethral discharge[299 ]. Sap expressed from a crushed up mixture of the bark, combined with that of Mammea africana, maleguetta and sugar-cane, is taken as a remedy for urethral discharge[332 ]. A decoction of the whole fruit is used to relieve elephantiasis of the scrotum, though this may simply be based on the Theory of Signatures because of the size and shape of the fruit[332 ]. A prenylated xanthone, named allanxanthone A, has been isolated from the bark, as well as 1,5-dihydroxyxanthone and 1,5,6-trihydroxy-3, 7-dimethoxyxanthone. The compounds isolated showed moderate in-vitro cytotoxicity against the KB cancer cell line[299 ]. Plant material from the Congo (this would be of A. Floribunda[K ]) has been reported to contain abundant flavonins in the bark and roots, some tannins, and traces of steroids and terpenes[332 ]. An alkaloid has been reported in the fruit-sap, a derivative of tryptophane and related to eseroline found in the Calabar bean, Physostigma venenosum and is mildly stimulatory[332 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

Now available: PLANTS FOR YOUR FOOD FOREST: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens.

An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More


Other Uses


An oil obtained from the seeds is used for soap making and in the cosmetics industry[303 ]. The twigs are used as candlesticks[332 ]. Smaller twigs are used as chew-sticks and tooth-picks[332 ]. The inner bark contains a sticky yellow resin[332 ]. The heartwood is pale red or brown; it is clearly demarcated from the whitish sapwood. The wood is fairly hard, resinous, moderately heavy. It is said to be resistant to termites but is not particularly durable. It is fairly easy to work and finishes well but it is of little commercial importance though it has appeared on the market in Liberia as ‘lacewood’. It has an attractive figure when quarter-sawn, and is suitable for carpentry[332 ]. The wood is used in hut-building for making walls, doors and window-frames and planks. Small trees are cut for poles and find use as mine pit-props and bridge-piles[332 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Management: Standard  New Crop  Staple Crop: Oil

Found in the wild on strongly leached, acid soils with a pH in the range 3.8 - 4.1[299 ]. The tree has brittle branches and requires a position sheltered from strong winds[299 ]. The degree of maturity of fruits on the tree can not be estimated; therefore mature fruits are left to drop to the ground and are then collected[299 ]. The fat from the seeds of Allanblackia parviflora is very similar in composition to that of Allanblackia floribunda and Allanblackia stuhlmannii[299 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • New Crop  Most new crops were important wild plants until recently, although some are the result of hybridization. They have been developed in the last few, decades. What they have in common is that they are currently cultivated by farmers. Examples include baobab, argan, and buffalo gourd.
  • Staple Crop: Oil  (0-15 percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Some of these are consumed whole while others are exclusively pressed for oil. Annuals include canola, poppyseed, maize, cottonseed, sunflower, peanut. Perennials include high-oil fruits, seeds, and nuts, such as olive, coconut, avocado, oil palm, shea, pecan, and macadamia. Some perennial oil crops are consumed whole as fruits and nuts, while others are exclusively pressed for oil (and some are used fresh and for oil).

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now


Seed - germination can take 24 - 30 months and germination rates are very low[299 ]. Keeping the fruits for a few months on damp sites (covered with banana leaves and buried partially) and scarification of the seedcoat improve germination rates only slightly[299 ]. Methods of propagation by cuttings and grafting are being developed[299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinée, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Allanblackia floribundaVegetable Tallow. Tallow treeTree25.0 10-12 FLMHSNM322
Allanblackia stuhlmanniiMkani, MsamboTree35.0 10-12 MMHNM323

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment



Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Allanblackia parviflora  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.