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Allanblackia stuhlmannii - (Engl.) Engl.

Common Name Mkani, Msambo
Family Clusiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Seaward slopes and valley bottoms of evergreen submontane and montane forest at elevations of 800 - 1,200, occasionally to 1,600 metres[ 299 ].
Range Eastern Africa - Tanzania.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Allanblackia stuhlmannii Mkani, Msambo


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Allanblackia stuhlmannii Mkani, Msambo

 

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Summary

Mkani or Msambo (Allanblackia stuhlmannii) is a medium-sized to fairly large evergreen, flowering tree that can only be found in Tanzania. It grows up to 45m tall, and it has a straight bole that can be up to 65 cm in diameter and can be clear of branches for up to 9 m. First flowering usually occurs when the tree is about 12 years old. Fruits are long or cone shaped berry and takes more than a year to develop and mature. The tree is known for its seed oil and timber. The seed is a source of an edible, non-drying fat called Mkani fat that is used in cooking and has been used as a substitute for butter and cocoa butter. It can also be used as liniment on joint pain, wounds, and rashes. Further, the fat from the seeds is used to make candles. The leaves are commonly used in traditional medicine for treating coughs, and treating impotence (when used together with bark and roots). Other uses are as follows: the bark is a source of red dye and yellow dye; the fruit's pulp can be used in making jam; and the wood is used for construction, boxes, beehives, crates, and water container, and for fuel. The tree can be propagated by seeds or cuttings though layering and budding methods are being developed.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Allanblackia stuhlmannii is an evergreen Tree growing to 35 m (114ft) by 35 m (114ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Insects, Birds, Bats. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Allanblackia sacleuxii Hua Stearodendron stuhlmannii Engl.

Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

An edible non-drying fat, called Mkani fat, is obtained from the seed[ 46 ]. It is locally important[ 46 ], where it is used in cooking and has been used as a substitute for butter and cocoa butter[ 299 ]. Air-dried seeds contain about 50% fat[ 299 ]. The fatty acid composition of the fat is remarkable as it consists mainly of stearic acid (45 - 58%) and oleic acid (40 - 51%)[ 299 ]. Only traces of other fatty acids are present. Its composition and resulting high melting point (35c) 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 ]. Seeds are extracted from the fruits by crushing them between the hands and rubbing them clean. Traditionally, the 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 ]. The fruit's slimy jelly-like pulp can be used in jam making[ 299 ].

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.


In traditional medicine, the leaves are chewed to treat cough, while the leaves, bark and roots are used to treat impotence[ 299 , 398 ]. A seed extract is rubbed in to treat rheumatism[ 299 ]. The fat is applied as a liniment on aching joints, wounds and rashes and small quantities are taken orally to treat rheumatism[ 299 , 398 ]. The fat, mixed with the pounded seeds of Psorospermum febrifugum, is rubbed on deep cracks in the soles of the feet[ 299 ]. Guttiferone F, a prenylated benzophenone, has been isolated from the wood of the roots[ 299 ]. The compound is related to a group of compounds that has been investigated for its anti-HIV properties[ 299 ].

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Other Uses

Oil

Other uses rating: Medium (3/5). The bark is a source of a red dye[ 46 ]. The bark yields a yellow dye[ 299 , 303 ]. The fat from the seed is used to make candles[ 299 ]. The heartwood is dark brown to purplish, usually present only as a small core - for example there would be around 10cm of heartwood in a bole of 65cm; the sapwood is pale grey-brown. Texture is medium; the grain straight. The wood air dries slowly, with a moderate tendency to cup, but with little or no splitting. It is difficult to saw when green, but once dry it saws easily and machines well. It holds nails well. The sapwood is not durable, but is permeable to preservatives; the heartwood is very resistant[ 299 ]. The wood is used for construction, cheap joinery, boxes, crates, beehives and water containers[ 299 , 303 ]. The wood is used for fuel[ 299 ].

Cultivation details

Management: Standard  New Crop  Staple Crop: Oil

A tree of the tropics, average annual rainfall in its habitat is 1,100 - 2,400mm with more than 180 rainy days a year[ 299 ]. The mean annual temperature is 18c, maximum temperatures range from 25c to 35c whilst minima are occasionally as low as 3c[ 299 ]. Grows best in a sunny position[ 303 ].Trees grow naturally on mostly acidic clay soils derived from granite, gneiss or siliceous rock[ 299 ]. Prefers a well-drained soil[ 303 ]. Under natural conditions, trees first flower when about 12 years old. Flowering is during the short rainy season in November - February and the fruits take more than 1 year to develop and mature[ 299 ]. A mature tree may yield up to 150 fruits or up to 50 kg fat per year[ 299 ]. The trees are fire-tolerant[ 299 ]. The fat from the seeds of Allanblackia stuhlmannii is very similar in composition to that of Allanblackia parviflora and Allanblackia floribunda[ 299 ]. A dioecious species, both male and female forms must be grown if seed is required[ 299 ]. Female trees are often retained when clearing land for agriculture, but planting is still rare. It is estimated that 1 male tree per 10 female trees is needed to ensure adequate pollination[ 299 ]. ICRAF, Kenya, is studying possibilities to domesticate this species and develop appropriate management techniques. A complete seed marketing chain is also being developed[ 299 ]. Selection of high-yielding trees for vegetative reproduction has started in Tanzania[ 299 ].

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Propagation

Although trees can be grown from seeds, it is better to take cuttings (or air layers) from female trees. These can form roots in 8-12 weeks. Seed. Well-matured fruits are kept for about 2 weeks to allow the pulp to become soft and to make extraction of the seed easy. Fruits may be kept for up to 3 months if covered with banana leaves. Clean seeds are placed in a nursery where they take about 3 months to start to germinate, but germination may take more than 7 months to start and another 18 months to complete[ 299 ]. After germination the seedlings are transferred to polythene tubes filled with soil. Mycorrhizae are necessary for successful growth of the seedlings and it is therefore important to add soil from around the base of mother trees to the substrate[ 299 ]. Cuttings are placed a few cm deep in soil at a 45? angle in polythene tubes with at least 1 node above the substrate. Cuttings strike root in 8 - 12 weeks, after which sprouted and rooted cuttings are transferred to polybags[ 299 ]. Methods of layering and budding are being developed. Initial tests with wildlings have shown good survival rates both with farmers and in experiments[ 299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Other Names: Mkange, Mkani, Mkanye, Mkimbo, Msambu, Mwaka.

Found In

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

Found In: Africa, Costa Rica, East Africa, Tanzania.

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 : Vulnerable

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Allanblackia floribundaVegetable Tallow. Tallow tree32
Allanblackia parvifloraVegetable tallow tree, Ouotera32

 

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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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