THE KING OF AFRICAN TREES
The Marula Tree (Sclerocarya birrea) is one of the largest African indigenous plants. Belonging to the Anacardiaceae family as the mango, pistachio and cashew nut, it has always been part of the life of the inhabitants of the southern regions of the african continent.
The Bushmen who have well known how to use the resources offered by mother nature for thousands of years are still using the unique properties of this tree that can be as high as 20 meters.
The fruits produced by the female plant, ripe in February, have oblong size similar to that of a plum, with a leathery peel of bright yellow and a white fibrous flesh in which hides a big pit with seeds rich in oil and protein.
The Marula tree grows everywhere, it is preserved and venerated due to the abundance of harvest and to the multiplicity of use of all its parts.
The Marula fruits can be eaten both raw and cooked and used to prepare a delicious jam. Leaving them to ferment you can prepare a powerful alcoholic drink, a kind of home-made beer called Buganu in Swaziland.
In Namibia through a different method a liquor called Ombiké is produced and in Mozambique a very full-bodied wine called Ucanhe.
On the international market it is very popular the Amarula, a liqueur produced in South Africa made with Marula fruit, alcohol and cream; it is the second best-selling product in the world in the category of liqueur creams.
The bark has healing properties and it is used in malaria prophylaxis and for the treatment of intestinal disorders. Chewed, it facilitates digestion.
The roasted kernels are known as Food of Kings for their delicacy.
The leaves are used as a spice and for dressings.
The Marula tree is also known as:
• The king of African trees because it is resistant to drought and every part has been used by indigenous people for thousands of years.
• Tree of the Elephants. These Giants will gladly feed on its branches and its leaves, but they are particularly fond of its fruit especially when, fermenting in the sun’s rays, they acquire an alcoholic strength which gives exhilaration: you have to see this to believe!
• Tree of marriage as a symbol of fertility.
In popular tradition, pregnant Bushmen women use bark infusions to choose a future child’s sex: for a male the bark of the male tree; for a female the female tree bark.