Parinari curatellifolia - Planch. ex Benth.
Common Name Mbola, Grys Appel
Family Chrysobalanaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Characteristic of wooded grassland with a high water-table and poor drainage[308 ]. Deciduous woodland; scattered in upland grassland, often persisting in secondary bushland and cultivated land, sea level to 2,100 metres[398 ].
Range Tropical Africa - Senegal to Kenya, south to northern SW. Africa, Botswana and the Transvaal.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Full sun

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Commonly found in tropical Africa, Parinari curatellifolia or commonly known as Mbola or Mobola Plum is an evergreen tree growing about 22m high and 20m across characterized by its mushroom-shaped crown. The branches are heavy and may droop or grow erect. The bole is twisted and can be up to 40cm in diameter. Mbola is used medicinally for toothaches, pneumonia, fever, fractures, wounds, sores, and cuts. The ovoid, yellow fruits have delicious flesh that is somehow comparable to the taste of strawberry. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or processed into juice or jam. The seeds are often roasted, boiled, or grounded into powder. Tannins from the bark are used as a dye in making baskets. Seed oil is used in paint, varnish, soap, etc. Twigs are used as chew sticks. The wood is heavy, durable, hard, and highly resistant to fire but difficult to work. It is used for making furniture, poles, dugout canoes, and mortars. It is also used for fuel and charcoal.

Parinari curatellifolia Mbola, Grys Appel

Steven Haw
Parinari curatellifolia Mbola, Grys Appel
Steven Haw
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of cone
Parinari curatellifolia is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought.

Tropical Africa - Senegal to Kenya, south to northern SW. Africa, Botswana and the Transvaal.

Edible Uses
Fruit - raw or cooked[398 ]. It has a dry but delicious flesh[307 ]. A strawberry-like flavour[46 ]. Somewhat astringent, it is one of the best wild fruits of the area[308 ]. It has a pleasant taste when it has been stored for a few days until it is thoroughly ripe[308 , 466 ]. The fruits can be pounded with water and the liquid obtained thickened with flour to make a gruel known as 'phala la maula'[466 ]. A soft drink is prepared by peeling ripe fruits and soaking them in warm water[398 ]. A nice jam can be made from the fruit[398 ]. The russet-yellow, ovoid fruit is 3 - 5cm in diameter[307 ]. It has a high content of protein and vitamin C[418 ]. The seeds make an excellent substitute for almonds[308 ]. Often roasted[335 ]. They can be pounded and used in making soup[418 ]. The seeds contain about 40% oil (70% in the kernels)[325 ]. It is extracted and used for cooking[325 , 398 ]. The seeds are dried, roasted, crushed, boiled in water, left to cool and the oil skimmed off[398 ].
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 root is highly valued for its medicinal properties[307 ]. An infusion of the roots is used to treat toothache[325 ]. A hot fomentation of the bark is used in the treatment of pneumonia[418 ]. A leaf decoction is either drunk or used in a bath as a remedy for fevers[418 ]. The crushed or pulped leaves are used in a dressing for fractures or dislocations, and for wounds, sores and cuts[418 ].


Other Uses
Agroforestry Uses: An important tree for bee forage[398 ]. Other Uses The bark contains tannins[418 ]. It is used as a dye in basket making[325 ]. The seeds contain around 38% oil[303 , 418 ]. It is used in making paint, varnish, soap etc[325 ]. The twigs are used as chew sticks to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy[325 ]. The pale-brown to yellow-red wood is hard, durable and heavy, but is high in silica making it somewhat difficult to saw and plane[466 ]. It is strongly fire resistant[325 ]. A locally important wood, it is very suitable for fine woodwork, building and furniture making, and is also used for poles, dugout canoes and mortars[307 , 466 ]. The wood is used for fuel[398 , 418 ] and makes a good charcoal[466 ].
Cultivation details
Industrial Crop: Oil;  Management: Standard;  Regional Crop;  Staple Crop: Oil.

A plant of the tropical and subtropical savannah, growing at elevations of 900 - 1,500 metres in areas with a pronounced dry season[466 ]. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature falls within the range 14 - 30?c, but can tolerate 10 - 36?c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 400 - 1,000mm, tolerating 100 - 2,700mm[418 ]. Prefers a deep soil in a sunny position[307 ]. Grows best in light soils[335 ]. Often found on light yellowish-brown to reddish-yellow, gritty, sandy clay loams and red to dark red friable clays with lateritic horizon[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, but tolerates 5 - 7.5[418 ]. It can tolerate small concentrations of copper in the soil[418 ]. Dislikes cold winds[418 ]. Trees can be coppiced[325 ]. Because of its resistance to fire it features prominently in fire-maintained wooded grassland, especially in upland areas on the former site of montane forest[308 ].
Seed - it remains viable in normal storage for at least 4 years[325 ]. The seeds should be sown in river sand in flat seed trays. Press the seeds down until they are level with the soil surface and cover with a thin layer of sand. Germination is very poor and prolonged, commencing after about 5 weeks. Seedlings should be transplanted in the 3-leaf stage. Be careful when transplanting the seedlings, the taproot is easily damaged[325 ]. Plant out when about 30cm tall. Root suckers.
Other Names
Mbola, Grys Appel, Sand Apple, Hissing Tree, Angili, Bosapple, Cork tree, Grys apple, Hacha, Hissing tree, Kele, Mah'ulu, Mampara-djom-ae, Maula, Mbula, Mbulwa, Mbura, Mmola, Mpembu, Msavula, Msawula, Mubuni, Muchakata, Muhacha, Muisha, Mula, Munazi, Mupunda, Mupundu, Mushacata, Mutopio, Mutubi, Muvhula, Muwula, N'tupiu, Naji, Ntja, Omoraa, Sand apple, Tela, Tubi, Tupi, Umkhuna, Umunazi, ?sha, amabuye, boom-grysappel, boomgrysappel, cork tree, ghutha, grysappel, hacha, hissing tree, mah'ulu, maura (fruits), mbola, mibula, mmola, mobola, mobola plum, mobola-plum, mobola-pruim, mubula, mucha, muchache, muchakata, muhacha, musa, mushacata, mutaburu, mutopio, mutubi, muura, muvhula, n!?n?, n!ana, n'tupiu, n?ghanni, naghanni, naxani, nj?gh?n?, nonsa, nsa, ntja, ol'matakuroi, omoraa, ongoro, sand apple, sandapple, tela, tha, tjaweru, tubi, tupi, umnkuna, usa, usha.
Found In
Namibia; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Togo; Burundi; Central African Republic; Cameroon; Congo; Rwanda; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Chad; Sudan; South Sudan; Kenya; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Angola; Malawi; Mozambique; Zambia; Zimbabwe; South Africa; Swaziland; Madagascar; Gambia; Benin; Burkina Faso; Ghana; Guinea-Bissau; Guinea; Mali; Nigeria; Niger, Africa, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central African Republic, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, East Africa, Ghana, Guinée, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Southern Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, West Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe,
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


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Planch. ex Benth.
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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.
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Subject : Parinari curatellifolia  

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