Scientific name
Manilkara butugi (Chiov.)1

Family name

Local name(s)
Gassa (Wolayetgna)

General description
M. butugi is a tall forest tree species to 50m of height, with a straight and slender bole, buttressed at the base, the crown dense and sparking. The bark is rough, grey-brown and grooved. A cut shows bright red fibres and white latex slowly drips out, becoming sticky. The leaves are at the end of the branchlets, ovate, narrow or wide 7 - 20cm long, lathery, dull above and grey below where the midrib alone stands out, tip rounded or notched, edge wavy, narrowed to a stalk 2- 3cm long. The flowers are white and fragrant, quite small, in groups besides leaves, calyx and stalks with white hairs. Petals and sepals appear numerous, in whorls of 3 (typical Manilkara). The fruits are small to 2cm across, yellow-brown when ripe with 4 - 5 brown seeds inside.

Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
The fruits are edible. The fruits are said to be consumed by children in normal times and also by adults during food shortage periods. Fruits ripen during the difficult time in May/June and this coincides with the normal food shortage or most difficult time of the year. Hence the fruits are always a welcomed addition in the daily diet of this time of the year.

A tree that grows in lower forest with Olea spp. and in humid highland forest with Aningeria spp. in the top storey. Found in all midland and lower moist and wet highland areas (1,600 - 2,600m). Farmers in Bedessa Woreda domesticated the species for its shading value in the homestead and garden.

Propagation method(s)
Propagates by seedlings and wildlings.

Sample location(s)
Bedessa Woreda (North Omo)

Other popular uses of the tree species are firewood, timber for heavy constructuions, farm tools and tool handles. The wood is very hard to saw and often has rot in the heartwood, tending to split with nailing, but very strong and durable. It has been used for flooring, spear shafts, building and electric poles. As it does not rot in water, it has also been used for boat and bridge construction.

1 Parts of the following description have been taken from Bekele-Tesemma et al., 1993: p. 298/299

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M. butugi leaves and small fruits on a big tree growing in a homestead in Bedessa Woreda, North Omo.