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Schinziophyton rautanenii - (Schinz) Radcl.-Sm.

Common Name Mongongo Nut. Manketti Tree
Family Euphorbiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Low to medium altitudes in sandy soil, well developed deciduous woodland on sand, short grassland with scattered trees, wooded hills and amongst sand dunes and sandy alluvium by rivers, sometimes forming pure stands, at elevations of 50 - 1220 metres[308 ]
Range Tropical Africa - Angola, southern DR Congo, Zambia, southern Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, northern S. Africa.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Schinziophyton rautanenii Mongongo Nut. Manketti Tree

Schinziophyton rautanenii Mongongo Nut. Manketti Tree
Luise Hoffmann


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Schinziophyton rautanenii is a deciduous Tree growing to 12 m (39ft) by 12 m (39ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant is not wind tolerant.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Ricinodendron rautanenii Schinz Ricinodendron viticoides Mildbr. Vitex lukafuensis De Wild

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

Fruit - raw or cooked[301 ]. A flowery pulp, when fresh it resembles a date, though it is not as sweet[299 , 301 , 398 ]. After boiling, it turns maroon and tastes like apple sauce[301 ]. The fruit can also be dried and ground into a powder for use in porridge[301 ]. It is a good source of carbohydrates, potassium and thiamine[325 ]. The fruit is an egg-shaped drupe. It is 35 x 20 - 35mm when dry, up to 70 x 50mm when fresh, and weighs 8 - 10g[325 ]. Seed - raw or cooked[299 , 301 , 308 ]. Tasty and nutritious[301 ]. When roasted, they taste like cashews or Brazil nuts, but after prolonged roasting they have the flavour of 'fine old cheese'[301 ]. The seed contains about 60% oil[63 ]. The seeds are up to 25mm long and 20mm wide and are contained in a hard shell[308 ]. An edible drying oil is obtained from the seed[46 , 301 ]. It is used locally for cooking[325 ]. The oil deteriorates rapidly once extracted from the seed[325 ]. The oil is extracted traditionally by boiling the shelled ( and crushed?) seeds in water and skimming the oil off the surface of the water[299 ]. Staple Crop: Protein-Oil.

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.

The roots have been used to treat stomach aches[299 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Cosmetic  Fencing  Fibre  Hair  Hedge  Oil  Paint  Soap  String  Varnish  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: Cuttings have been used in Angola for live fences and the tree has potential in desert encroachment prevention[325 ]. A number of cases have been reported where fence posts made from freshly cut posts grew into large trees[299 ]. Other Uses: The seeds contain 50 - 60% of a drying oil[46 , 325 ]. It is used commercially for making soaps, cosmetics, paints and varnishes[325 ]. In cosmetics the oil is used for its hydrating, regenerating and restructuring properties and UV protection for hair and skin[299 ]. The oil deteriorates rapidly once extracted from the seed[325 ]. The fibrous inner bark is used to make strings for nets etc[299 ]. The seeds are used in board games[299 ] The heartwood is pale yellow to straw-coloured; it is indistinctly demarcated from the sapwood. The grain is straight or wavy, texture coarse. The wood is very soft and light, but comparatively strong in relation to its weight, it is not durable and is susceptible to termite and Lyctus attack. It air-dries rapidly with little distortion. It tends to become woolly on sawing, and sharp tools are needed to obtain a good surface; nailing properties are good. It can be used as a substitute for balsa wood. The wood is used for diverse purposes, including floats, canoes, notice boards, boxes, tools, musical instruments and carvings[299 , 325 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Coppice  Food Forest  Hedge

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Management: Standard  Staple Crop: Protein-oil  Wild Staple Crop

Mongongo nut is a plant of arid to moist tropical and subtropical areas where it is found at elevations ranging from 50 - 1,500 metres, more commonly at the higher end of the range[325 , 418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 30°c, but can tolerate 10 - 40°c[418 ]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -7°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 500 - 800mm, but tolerates 400 - 1,000mm[418 ]. It can tolerate mean rainfall as low as 150mm[325 ]. Grows best in a sunny position[418 ]. Requires a well-drained soil, and is not found on compacted clay soils or areas subject to flooding[325 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 8, tolerating 6 - 8.5[418 ]. Established plants are drought tolerant[325 ]. Strong winds often cause immature fruits to drop[299 ]. The growth from seedling to sapling stage depends very much on the fire regime prevailing in the area. Fires reduce young saplings back to ground level as long as their bark is too thin to protect them[299 ]. Plants coppice well when young[299 ]. Trees may start flowering and fruiting when about 20 years old, and can live up to 100 years[299 ]. Fruit production is very closely linked to the amount of rain of the previous season, with crop yields higher in years following heavy rains[299 ]. High rainfall after flowering has been found to damage the developing fruits, as do fires late in the dry season[299 ]. Limited data are available on yields, although some estimates indicate yields of 200 - 1000 kilos per hectare in northern Namibia, and about 300 kilos in Angola[299 ]. A dioecious plant, both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required[308 ]. Cultivated as a wild staple.

Carbon Farming

  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Staple Crop: Protein-oil  (16+ percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Annuals include soybeans, peanuts, sunflower seeds. Perennials include seeds, beans, nuts, and fruits such as almond, Brazil nut, pistachio, walnut, hazel, and safou.
  • Wild Staple Crop  Some wild plants have strong historical or contemporary use. Although they are not cultivated crops, they may be wild-managed.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed. The woody endocarp makes germination difficult and therefore needs to be removed or the end cut off to expose the kernel prior to sowing[325 ]. After shelling, the seeds can be soaked in water for a week followed by storage under high temperature and humidity for two days in order to reach better germination[325 ]. Germination is erratic and takes place over an extended period. Without pre-treatment a germination rate of 26% has been obtained[325 ]. If the shell is removed prior to sowing and the kernel is treated with ethylene the germination rate can reach 80% or more within 6 days[325 ]. The rate of non-surviving seedlings is high but once a seedling has been established it needs little attention[325 ]. The seeds should be sown in sandy soil in half shade and the temperature kept above 7°c[325 ]. The seedlings very quickly develop deep roots. When the seed has germinated, the radicle grows slowly. When it is 5 - 10cm long, 5 - 12 secondary roots emerge in a ring from immediately above the root-tip, resembling a Medusa’s head. When these roots are 20 - 50mm long the plumule starts to emerge[299 ]. The seed remains viable for 2 years if stored at 10°c[325 ]. Truncheons root readily and are used for propagation[299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

False Balsa. Mangetti, M'paca, M'panga, Mankettibaum, Mankettiboom, Mgomwa, Mkanganaugu, Mokongwa, Mongongo, Mugongo, Mukusu, Mungongoma, Muoma, Nalungue, Omunkete, Ugongo, Umganuompobola, Umgoma, Ungoma

Africa, Angola, Botswana, Central Africa, Congo, Congo DR, East Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

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.

None Known

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

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


(Schinz) Radcl.-Sm.

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.

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