We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Parinari curatellifolia - Planch. ex Benth.

Common Name Mbola, Grys Appel
Family Chrysobalanaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Characteristic of wooded grassland with a high water-table and poor drainage[308 ]. Deciduous woodland; scattered in upland grassland, often persisting in secondary bushland and cultivated land, sea level to 2,100 metres[398 ].
Range Tropical Africa - Senegal to Kenya, south to northern SW. Africa, Botswana and the Transvaal.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Full sun
Parinari curatellifolia Mbola, Grys Appel

Steven Haw wikimedia.org
Parinari curatellifolia Mbola, Grys Appel
Steven Haw wikimedia.org


Translate this page:


Commonly found in tropical Africa, Parinari curatellifolia or commonly known as Mbola or Mobola Plum is an evergreen tree growing about 22m high and 20m across characterized by its mushroom-shaped crown. The branches are heavy and may droop or grow erect. The bole is twisted and can be up to 40cm in diameter. Mbola is used medicinally for toothaches, pneumonia, fever, fractures, wounds, sores, and cuts. The ovoid, yellow fruits have delicious flesh that is somehow comparable to the taste of strawberry. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or processed into juice or jam. The seeds are often roasted, boiled, or grounded into powder. Tannins from the bark are used as a dye in making baskets. Seed oil is used in paint, varnish, soap, etc. Twigs are used as chew sticks. The wood is heavy, durable, hard, and highly resistant to fire but difficult to work. It is used for making furniture, poles, dugout canoes, and mortars. It is also used for fuel and charcoal.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Parinari curatellifolia is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Tropical Africa - Senegal to Kenya, south to northern SW. Africa, Botswana and the Transvaal.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Drink  Oil

Fruit - raw or cooked[398 ]. It has a dry but delicious flesh[307 ]. A strawberry-like flavour[46 ]. Somewhat astringent, it is one of the best wild fruits of the area[308 ]. It has a pleasant taste when it has been stored for a few days until it is thoroughly ripe[308 , 466 ]. The fruits can be pounded with water and the liquid obtained thickened with flour to make a gruel known as 'phala la maula'[466 ]. A soft drink is prepared by peeling ripe fruits and soaking them in warm water[398 ]. A nice jam can be made from the fruit[398 ]. The russet-yellow, ovoid fruit is 3 - 5cm in diameter[307 ]. It has a high content of protein and vitamin C[418 ]. The seeds make an excellent substitute for almonds[308 ]. Often roasted[335 ]. They can be pounded and used in making soup[418 ]. The seeds contain about 40% oil (70% in the kernels)[325 ]. It is extracted and used for cooking[325 , 398 ]. The seeds are dried, roasted, crushed, boiled in water, left to cool and the oil skimmed off[398 ].

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.
Febrifuge  Mouthwash  Skin  Vitamin C

The root is highly valued for its medicinal properties[307 ]. An infusion of the roots is used to treat toothache[325 ]. A hot fomentation of the bark is used in the treatment of pneumonia[418 ]. A leaf decoction is either drunk or used in a bath as a remedy for fevers[418 ]. The crushed or pulped leaves are used in a dressing for fractures or dislocations, and for wounds, sores and cuts[418 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses

Charcoal  Fire retardant  Fuel  Furniture  Oil  Paint  Soap making  Tannin  Teeth  Varnish  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: An important tree for bee forage[398 ]. Other Uses The bark contains tannins[418 ]. It is used as a dye in basket making[325 ]. The seeds contain around 38% oil[303 , 418 ]. It is used in making paint, varnish, soap etc[325 ]. The twigs are used as chew sticks to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy[325 ]. The pale-brown to yellow-red wood is hard, durable and heavy, but is high in silica making it somewhat difficult to saw and plane[466 ]. It is strongly fire resistant[325 ]. A locally important wood, it is very suitable for fine woodwork, building and furniture making, and is also used for poles, dugout canoes and mortars[307 , 466 ]. The wood is used for fuel[398 , 418 ] and makes a good charcoal[466 ].

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Carbon Farming  Coppice  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Oil  Management: Standard  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Oil

A plant of the tropical and subtropical savannah, growing at elevations of 900 - 1,500 metres in areas with a pronounced dry season[466 ]. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature falls within the range 14 - 30°c, but can tolerate 10 - 36°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 400 - 1,000mm, tolerating 100 - 2,700mm[418 ]. Prefers a deep soil in a sunny position[307 ]. Grows best in light soils[335 ]. Often found on light yellowish-brown to reddish-yellow, gritty, sandy clay loams and red to dark red friable clays with lateritic horizon[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, but tolerates 5 - 7.5[418 ]. It can tolerate small concentrations of copper in the soil[418 ]. Dislikes cold winds[418 ]. Trees can be coppiced[325 ]. Because of its resistance to fire it features prominently in fire-maintained wooded grassland, especially in upland areas on the former site of montane forest[308 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Oil  Materials, chemicals and energy include bioplastics, biomass, glycerin, soaps, lubricants, paints, biodiesel. Oilseed crop types.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.
  • 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,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

Seed - it remains viable in normal storage for at least 4 years[325 ]. The seeds should be sown in river sand in flat seed trays. Press the seeds down until they are level with the soil surface and cover with a thin layer of sand. Germination is very poor and prolonged, commencing after about 5 weeks. Seedlings should be transplanted in the 3-leaf stage. Be careful when transplanting the seedlings, the taproot is easily damaged[325 ]. Plant out when about 30cm tall. Root suckers.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Mbola, Grys Appel, Sand Apple, Hissing Tree, Angili, Bosapple, Cork tree, Grys apple, Hacha, Hissing tree, Kele, Mah'ulu, Mampara-djom-ae, Maula, Mbula, Mbulwa, Mbura, Mmola, Mpembu, Msavula, Msawula, Mubuni, Muchakata, Muhacha, Muisha, Mula, Munazi, Mupunda, Mupundu, Mushacata, Mutopio, Mutubi, Muvhula, Muwula, N'tupiu, Naji, Ntja, Omoraa, Tela, Tubi, Tupi, Umkhuna, Umunazi, amabuye, boom-grysappel, boomgrysappel, cork tree, ghutha, grysappel, hacha, hissing tree, mah'ulu, maura (fruits), mbola, mibula, mmola, mobola, mobola plum, mobola-plum, mobola-pruim, mubula, mucha, muchache, muchakata, muhacha, musa, mushacata, mutaburu, mutopio, mutubi, muura, muvhula, n'ana, n'tupiu, n'ghanni, naghanni, naxani, nj'gh'n', nonsa, nsa, ntja, ol'matakuroi, omoraa, ongoro, sand apple, sandapple, tela, tha, tjaweru, tubi, tupi, umnkuna, usa, usha [1-4].

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

Namibia; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Togo; Burundi; Central African Republic; Cameroon; Congo; Rwanda; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Chad; Sudan; South Sudan; Kenya; Tanzania, the United Republic of; Uganda; Angola; Malawi; Mozambique; Zambia; Zimbabwe; South Africa; Swaziland; Madagascar; Gambia; Benin; Burkina Faso; Ghana; Guinea-Bissau; Guinea; Mali; Nigeria; Niger, Africa, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central African Republic, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, East Africa, Ghana, Guinée, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Southern Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, West Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe [1-4].

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
Brosimum parinarioidesLeite de amapa, BrosimumTree32.0 10-12 MLMHNM323

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.


Expert comment


Planch. ex Benth.

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 : Parinari curatellifolia  
© 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.