Baillonella toxisperma - Pierre
                 
Common Name African Pearwood, False Shea Butternut
Family Sapotaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The residues of oil extraction are sometimes used as fish poison[ 299 ]. Sawdust from the wood can irritate mucous membrances[ 848 ].
Habitats Usually scattered in primary rainforest on all soil types except marshy soil[ 299 ].
Range Western tropical Africa - southern Nigeria to Gabon, Congo and south-western DR Congo.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

Summary
African Pearwood (Baillonella toxisperma), otherwise known as False Shea Butternut, is a large, tropical tree that can reach up to 60 m high with a trunk diameter of up to 300 to 500 cm. It has a straight and cylindrical bole, alternately arranged leaves, and round fruits. In traditional medicine, the seed kernel of this plant is used for its fatty oil content to treat rheumatism. In particular, the oil is applied externally to the pained area caused by such ailment. Decoctions of the bark are used against kidney conditions, tooth pain, rickets, vaginal infections, and problems in respiratory and digestive tracts. The fruit pulp, though it contains latex, is eaten fresh. The fatty oil obtained from the seeds is also used in cooking. It is also used as pomade to the hair and in soap making. The wood is heavy, hard, elastic, and very durable. Not to be confused with Dacryodes edulis, the African pear.

Baillonella toxisperma African Pearwood, False Shea Butternut


Jabea Tongo Etonde
Baillonella toxisperma African Pearwood, False Shea Butternut
https://botanicimage.com/
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Baillonella toxisperma is a deciduous Tree growing to 50 m (164ft) by 40 m (131ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
Baillonella djave (Engl.) Pierre ex Dubard. Baillonella pierriana (Engl.) A.Chev. Mimusops djave Eng

Habitats
Edible Uses
Edible portion: Nut, Seeds - oil, Fruit. The fruit pulp is eaten fresh although it contains latex[ 299 , 317 ]. The seed kernel contains a fatty oil that is used in cooking[ 299 , 317 ]. The residue after extracting the oil is toxic.
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 seed kernel contains a fatty oil that is used in traditional medicine[ 299 ]. It is applied externally to treat rheumatic pains[ 299 ]. Bark decoctions are used to treat kidney problems, toothache, rickets, vaginal infections and affections of the respiratory and digestive tracts[ 299 ].

 

Other Uses
Other uses rating: High (4/5). Other Uses The seed kernel contains a fatty oil that is used as a pomade to the hair and also in soap manufacture[ 299 , 317 ]. The allelopathic compound 3-hydroxyuridine has been isolated from the leaves, stems and roots of the tree[ 299 ]. It inhibited the growth of seedlings of some test plants[ 299 ]. The heartwood has a uniform reddish brown colour, more or less dark and finely veined; it is clearly demarcated from the 4 - 6cm wide band of sapwood. The texture is fine; the grain straight or interlocked. The wood is heavy, hard, elastic, very durable, with a resistance to fungi, Lyctus beetles, termites and marine borers. It is difficult to work due to the presence of silica (0.2 - 0.3%) - power tools that are stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide are recommended; it glues correct, though care needs to be taken because of the density of the wood; it takes nails and screws well, but pre-boring is required; it finishes well; and has good steam-bending properties. Painting and varnishing with the principal industrial products do not cause problems. It is used for many purposes including high class cabinetwork, joinery and carpentry in both interior and exterior applications, marine construction, flooring, turnery, railway sleepers, decorative uses and veneer[ 299 , 848 ].
Cultivation details
The tree occurs in primary rain forest in humid and warm climates, with a mean annual temperature of 23 - 26?c and a mean annual rainfall of 1,500 - 3,000 mm[ 299 ]. Seeds germinate in abundance under or close to mother trees. However, young plants of 1 metre tall are rare as a result of predation by animals, mainly elephants, and the survival rate of seedlings after 18 months is practically nil under the mother tree and very low (less than 2%) elsewhere[ 299 ]. In forest undergrowth seedlings grow 4 - 5 cm/year. They respond rapidly to the opening of the forest cover and direct sunlight, and under these circumstances may grow up to 40 cm/year. When the tree bole has attained 1 metre in diameter and the crowns have reached or passed the forest canopy, diameter growth is up to 9.5 mm/year. It has been estimated from growth rings and C14 dating that a tree with a bole diameter of 1 metre was 260 years old and one with a diameter of 2.8 metres 600 - 700 years[ 299 ]. The tree starts flowering at an age of 50 - 70 years, when it has reached the light in the upper storey of the forest, but regular fructification starts still later, when the bole has reached 70 cm in diameter[ 299 ]. Fruits are produced annually, but mass production occurs once in 3 years. About 6,000 seeds per tree are produced within a cycle of 3 years; a single tree produced 2,460 kg of fruits, including 327 kg of seed kernels[ 299 ]. The fruiting season lasts up to 4 weeks for an individual tree, but may last 3 months for a whole wild population[ 299 ]. At present, the only management measure for natural forest is the maintenance of a minimum diameter limit for exploitation, i.e. 70 cm in Gabon, 80 cm in Congo and 100 cm in Cameroon. In Cameroon commercial exploitation of the tree implies the cutting of 90% of trees above 100 cm in diameter, leaving only poorly shaped trees. It has been estimated that after 300 years 84% of the harvested volume is re-established and after 500 years 92%. Sustainable production in natural forest is therefore not possible. Cutting cycles of 30 years, as often practised, threaten the populations seriously[ 299 ]. During the fruiting season, local people often move to localities where clusters of trees are found and stay there in temporary camps for 2 - 8 weeks. The collected fruits are depulped and the seed kernels dried. After heating, the oil is gathered by pressing with a traditional wooden press. The oil is used domestically or sold. It can be stored for 1 - 2 years[ 299 ]. In 1992, which was a very good year for fruit production, the yield of oil was estimated at 135 - 165 litres per adult tree[ 299 ].
Propagation
Seed. Shade is required for germination, which usually takes 1 - 4 weeks[ 299 ]. The germination capacity of fresh seeds is high (> 85%), but drops rapidly to 5% after 6 weeks of storage due to rapid degradation of the fatty acids[ 299 ]. However, fresh seeds stored at 4?C and humid conditions still showed a germination rate of about 50% after 11 months[ 299 ]. In the nursery the lower half of the seed is buried, with the scar pointing downwards. The mortality of seedlings in the nursery is very low. Partial shading is favourable for seedling development. Under optimal nursery conditions seedlings may reach 35 cm in height after 6 weeks, 45 cm after 3 months and 1.5 metres after 18 months[ 299 ]. The seedling develops a taproot and so it is recommended to sow into polythene pots. Seedlings are planted out into the field, when about 4 - 5 months old, at the start of the rainy season under the light shade of about 10 retained adult trees per ha. The shade should be removed gradually when a reduction in diameter growth is observed[ 299 ]. Seeds germinate in abundance under or close to mother trees - whilst it is not necessary for the seeds to pass through the intestines for germination, it does accelerate germination slightly[ 299 ].
Other Names
African Pearwood (Baillonella toxisperma), otherwise known as False Shea Butternut. Not to be confused with Dacryodes edulis, the African pear. Other Names: Adjap, Adza, Djave Nut Gio, Mabi, Moabi, Njabi, Njap, Oko uku.
Found In
Found In: Africa, Cabinda, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central African Republic, CAR, Congo DR, Congo R, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, 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.

None Known
Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Vulnerable
Related Plants

 

Print Friendly and PDF
Expert comment
 
Author
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.
Readers comment
 
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Baillonella toxisperma  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design
Habitats
Translations

Twiter      Facebook

Content

Content Help
Bookshop
Support Us
Blog
Links
Old Database Search
Suppliers
Contact
About Us
News
Sign In

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email ePost. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.