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Allanblackia floribunda - Oliv.

Common Name Vegetable Tallow. Tallow tree
Family Clusiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A common understorey tree of lowland closed evergreen rainforest and riverine forest, and also in secondary and swamp forest, at elevations up to 1,000 metres. It is common on strongly leached, acid soils with pH 3.8 - 4.1[299 ].
Range Tropical Africa - moister regions from Togo to eastern DR Congo, south to the Congo.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Allanblackia floribunda Vegetable Tallow. Tallow tree


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Allanblackia floribunda Vegetable Tallow. Tallow tree
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Allanblackia floribunda is an evergreen Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: 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

Synonyms

Allanblackia klainei Pierre ex A.Chev.

Habitats

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 ]. 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 ].

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 has been reported to contain abundant flavonins in the bark and roots, some tannins, and traces of steroids and terpenes[332 ].

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Other Uses

Oil

Trees are left on the farms when clearing the land for cultivation and managed especially for shading cocoa[299 ]. Other Uses An oil obtained from the seeds is used for soap making and in the cosmetics industry[303 ]. Small twigs are used as chew-sticks or toothpicks[299 ]. Twigs have been used as candlesticks[299 ]. A sticky, yellow resin is obtained from the inner bark[332 ]. The heartwood is pale red or brown; it is usually fairly distinctly demarcated from the thick, pinkish beige sapwood. The grain is fairly straight, texture medium to coarse; the lustre is low. The wood is fairly hard, fairly durable, and moderately resistant to termites[299 ]. It is resistant to marine borers[303 ]. When dry it saws well, but green wood may spring on conversion. It is fairly easy to work with hand and machine tools[299 ]. It is used locally, but is of secondary importance. In Nigeria it is used in construction of local houses[299 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

Cultivation details

Management: Standard  New Crop  Staple Crop: Oil

A plant of the moist tropics where it can be found at elevations up to 1,500 metres[303 ]. It grows best in areas where the maximum mean annual temperature ranges from 24 - 33c, whilst the minimum can fall below 10c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 2,400mm[299 ]. Grows best in a sunny position[303 ]. Prefers well-drained soils especially lithosols[299 ]. Common in the wild on strongly leached, acid soils with pH 3.8 - 4.1[299 ]. Under natural conditions, trees start flowering after about 12 years, with the flowering occurring during a large part of the year. Fruits take nearly a year to mature and ripe fruits are also found during a large part of the year[299 ]. The degree of maturity of fruits on the tree can not be estimated, so mature fruits are left to drop to the ground and are then collected[299 ]. The fat from the seeds of Allanblackia floribunda is very similar in composition to that of Allanblackia parviflora and Allanblackia stuhlmannii[299 ]. A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[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).

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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.

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Propagation

Seed - germination takes 6 - 18 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

Anyoe, Bianji, Ebungo matatolo, Egba, Izeni, Kisidwe, Mbawandje, Nsangomo, Nyonne, Orongbo-erin, Ouotera, Sangoma

Found In

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

Africa, Angola, Benin, Cabinda, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central African Republic, CAR, Congo DR, Congo R, Côte d'Ivoire, East Africa, Equatorial-Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, 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 parvifloraVegetable tallow tree, OuoteraTree20.0 10-12 FLMHSNM322
Allanblackia stuhlmanniiMkani, MsamboTree35.0 10-12 MMHNM323

 

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Oliv.

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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