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Dactyladenia barteri - (Hook.f. ex Oliv.) Prance & F.White

Common Name Monkey Fruit
Family Chrysobalanaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Lowland forest with at least 1,200mm rainfall per year. In the forest-savannah transition zone, it is found along riverbanks, sometimes on the inland side of mangrove forest[ 303 ].
Range Western tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to Nigeria, south to Gabon and Congo.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Dactyladenia barteri Monkey Fruit

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
Dactyladenia barteri Monkey Fruit


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Monkey Fruit (Dactyladenia barteri) can be a climbing shrub or a small tree of up to 12 m tall with a dense and spreading crown. Its trunk is crooked and fluted, up to 40 cm in diameter. It is usually found in western tropical Africa. The plant has an extensive, deep root system making it ideal for soil erosion control. The bark and roots are used medicinally to treat a wide range of ailments. The wood can be used as poles and for constructions and fuel. It is resistant to termites, hard, and durable.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Dactyladenia barteri is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Red ants, Bees, Wasps.
It can fix Nitrogen.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.


Acioa barteri (Hook.f. ex Oliv.) Engl. Acioa lanceolata Engl. Acioa tenuiflora Dinkl. & Engl. Griffo


Edible Uses

None known

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 bark and roots are used medicinally as a purgative and against a variety of ailments[ 303 ].

Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: The shrubs have an extensive, deep root system that holds the soil and so can be used in schemes to prevent soil erosion[ 303 , 310 ]. The tree produces large amounts of litter and recycles appreciable quantities of nutrients through its deep root system, whilst its dense canopy aids in weed suppression[ 303 ]. It has shown promise as mulch and soil regenerator because of its slow decomposition rate[ 299 , 303 ]. The stems provide good quality poles for staking yams and for construction[ 303 ]. The tree is planted in hedgerows in a traditional alley cropping system with inter-hedgerow spacing of 2 - 3 metres and with 1 - 2 years of cropping followed by 3 - 4 years of fallow. Following the fallow period, the shrubs are underbrushed and burned and stems cut to a height of 10 - 20cm. Some stems are left uncut for live staking of Guinea yam (Dioscorea cayenensis). Crops are then interplanted in the alleys[ 299 ]. Other Uses: The dark red wood is hard, durable and resistant to termite attack[ 299 , 303 ]. The stems provide good quality poles for staking crops and are also used for construction work[ 303 ]. The wood is used for fuel[ 299 ].

Cultivation details

A plant of the moist, lowland tropics, being found at elevations below 300 metres[ 303 ]. It grows in areas where the mean annual temperature is in the range 20 - 34?c, and the mean annual rainfall is 750 - 1,500 mm[ 303 ]. Well adapted to leached, acid and infertile (ultisols) soils, the plant can also survive occasional flooding[ 303 ]. Established trees coppice well, even after pollarding or burning, and are fire resistant[ 99 , 303 ]. Planted at 4 metres x 4metres, this species can produce 6 tonnes per hectare dry prunings, 4 tonnes of twigs and 9 tonnes of wood within 8 months[ 303 ]. It has been suggested that Dactyladenia lehmbachii and Dactyladenia pallescens, which flower in the same period, may cross-pollinate with this species[ 299 ].


Seed - germinates readily[ 303 ]. Direct sowing is possible but seedlings survive better when raised in nursery bags before planting out[ 303 ]. Seed germinates readily and can be stored for up to 6 months at 15?c when treated with copper sulphate[ 303 ]. Occasionally, stakes are used as cuttings in live fence systems[ 303 ]. Juvenile stem cuttings will also root quickly at the peak of the rainy season[ 299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

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

Benin; Cameroon; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Gabon; Ghana; Guinea; Liberia; Nigeria; Sierra Leone; Togo

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

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(Hook.f. ex Oliv.) Prance & F.White

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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