Berchemia discolor1 (Klotzsch) Hemsley
Qanantab (Konsogna), Jajaba (Oromiffa), Jejeba (Amharic), Deen, Dheen-den ro'o, Kor'guba (Somali), Wild almond (English)
It is a semi-deciduous tree reaching 10 to 18 m with erect spreading branches making a heavy rounded crown. The bark is greyish-brown, reticulately fissured. Leaves are shiny dark green, sticky at early stage and oval with the widest part towards the apex. The flowers are small yellow-green, with 5 floral parts. The tree flowers in March. The fruits are oblong and yellow about 2 cm long with 1-2 flat seeds.
Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
Fruits and gum edible. Seeds are embedded in sweet flesh that is consumed even in normal times. When soaked in water over-night the solution collected is very much liked by people. The fruit can also be boiled to be eaten with sorghum. In certain areas people use the leaves of the wild almond tree to make tea.
The fruits are also sold on the market.
The species is wide spread from the Sudan to South Africa and grows in dry open woodland, semi-arid bushland and along riverbanks. Commonly in Welo, Shewa, Gamo gofa, Bale and Hararge. Common in dry and moist kola agroclimatic zones (0 - 1,600m).
Propagates by seeds, root suckers. Directly sown seeds germinate easily.
(1) Jarso Kebele, Konso; (2) Gobele Valley, Midega Kebele, Fedis Wereda (East Hararghe)
The species is multipurpose and is used for construction, furniture, bee forage, fodder, ornamental, for resin and for shade. The powdered heartwood and the roots can be used to produce a black dye that is used by basket makers.
A similar species Berchemia zeyheri with edible fruits is found in Zimbawe, South Africa and Mozambique.
1 Parts of the following description have been taken from Bekele-Tesemma et al., 1993: p. 106/107 and Maundu et al., 1999: p. 74
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