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Ongokea gore - (Hua) Pierre

Common Name Boleko Nut
Family Olacaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dense evergreen and moist semi-deciduous forests[299 ]. It occurs on dry ground and in periodically inundated localities[299 ].
Range West tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to the Congo, south to Angola.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Ongokea gore Boleko Nut

Ongokea gore Boleko Nut


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Ongokea gore or commonly known as Boleko Nut is an evergreen tree growing about 40 - 50 m tall and up to 150 cm in trunk diameter. It is commonly found in West tropical Africa. The trunk is straight and can be branchless for up to 25 m. Its leaves are alternate and simple. The bark of this tree is a laxative and also used to treat spleen enlargement. The sap on the other hand is used to stop bleeding. The fruit is a globose drupe with an edible pulp that has a notably sweet but somewhat sharp flavor. The seed contains reddish yellow inedible oil known as 'boleko oil' or 'isano oil' which is used in soap making and to protect metal and wooden surfaces. The wood, known as 'angueuk', is used in heavy constructions, railway sleepers, carpentry, flooring, container and boxes, turnery, and veneer. Boleko nut is grown from seeds but it may take up to one year to germinate.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Ongokea gore is an evergreen Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Aptandra gore Hua Ongokea kamerunensis Engl. Ongokea klaineana Pierre


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

The pulp of the fruit is edible[299 ]. Sweet, but slightly astringent[299 ]. The pulp of the fresh fruit contains 67% moisture, its smell is reminiscent of apple[299 ]. The fruit is a globose drupe, 2 - 4cm in diameter[299 ].

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.
Laxative  Styptic

The bark is laxative[299 ]. The bark is used to treat enlargement of the spleen[299 ]. The fresh bark is rubbed on the breasts of lactating mothers to purge their babies[299 ]. Similarly, a decoction of the bark is used as a wash for babies, or they are given a pinch of pounded bark mixed with a little salt[299 ]. The sap is used as styptic[299 ]. The root and stem bark contain cyclohexanoid protaflavanones named ongokeins; they are related to sakuranetin and are characterized by a non-aromatic C6-ring moiety that is otherwise only known from certain ferns[299 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Furniture  Soap  Wood

Other Uses The dry seed contains about 63% of a reddish yellow oil, thickening on exposure to air, with an unpleasant odour[299 , 328 ]. Known as 'boleko oil' or 'isano oil', it is inedible but has a wide range of other uses[299 ]. This oil differs from other vegetable oils in its fatty acid composition. It has a high iodine number, but it does not dry like linseed oil or tung oil do when exposed in a thin film[299 ]. When heated to 250°c a strongly exothermic spontaneous polymerization reaction starts, which may lead to a further increase in temperature to more than 400°c and to an explosion[299 ]. Traditionally, it is used to anoint the skin[299 ]. It can also be used to make soap and to protect metal and wooden surfaces[299 , 316 ]. The oil can be used to make de-emulsifying products for the crude oil extraction industry and for the prevention of icing-up of airplane wings[299 ]. It can be vulcanized to yield highly resistant synthetic-rubber products[299 ]. Polymerization at moderately high temperatures yields a film with remarkable properties: strong, flexible and insoluble in acid and alkaline solvents[299 ]. This makes it suitable for manufacturing brake pads and linings[299 ]. Ozonolytic cleavage can yield saturated double acids, which are used in the synthesis of polyamides[299 ]. The use of fatty acids from boleko oil in the manufacturing of silicones and of isolating glue for lithium-based batteries has been patented[299 ]. The oil can be used as an additive to linseed oil in the manufacture of paints, varnishes and linoleum[299 ]. In association with linseed oil, the oil can be made into a standoil (a heat-polymerized oil, very thick and strongly adhesive, but slowly drying; used as a final coat in oil painting) of superior qualities[299 ]. Boiling boleko oil with copal gives this resin a very high heat resistance[299 ]. The fruits are used as spinning tops for children[299 ]. The heartwood is pale yellow to pale brown, darkening on exposure to light; it is indistinctly demarcated from the 6 - 10 cm thick band of sapwood. The texture is fine and even; the grain is straight, sometimes finely interlocked or wavy. The wood is heavy; moderately hard to hard; durable - it is little affected by decay fungi or termites and is resistant to marine borers. It seasons slowly, with a high risk of distortion and a slight risk of checking; once dry it is moderately to poorly stable in service. The wood is easy to work with ordinary tools; it saws and planes with little blunting; is easy to finish, sand and polish; can be painted, varnished, waxed and glued without difficulty. For nailing preboring is often required. It can be sliced into veneer, but requires much force. The wood, called 'angueuk' in the trade, is used mostly locally in heavy construction, for railway sleepers and vehicle frames, in interior and exterior carpentry, for flooring, containers and boxes, turnery and veneer. It is well suited for interior joinery provided it is perfectly dry to avoid deformation[299 , 848 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Ongokea gore is found scattered in dense evergreen forest and in moist semi-deciduous forest. It occurs on dry ground and in periodically inundated localities. In Gabon it often occurs in forest dominated by Sacoglottis gabonensis (Baill.) Urb. and Aucoumea klaineana Pierre. Fruits of Ongokea gore are collected from the wild and mostly the pulp is allowed to rot away before the fruit stones are collected from the soil.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - germination is slow and may take several months, perhaps even more than one year[299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Boleko Nut, Angueuk, Bodwe, Busolo, Bwelabako, Ekuso, Elede, Kouero, Kuwi, Mobenge, Njek, Nke, Sanou, okoubaka aubrevillei.

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Found In

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

Angola; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Ghana; Guinea; Liberia; Nigeria; Sierra Leone, Africa, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central Africa, CAR, Central African Republic, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, 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

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.


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(Hua) Pierre

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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