Pentaclethra macrophylla Benth. – Oil bean tree  – Fabaceae

Ozoroa reticulata (Baker f.) R. Fern. & A. Fern. = Ozoroa insignis subsp. reticulata (Baker f.) J. B. Gillett – Resin tree  - Anacardiaceae

The oil bean tree, Pentaclethra macrophylla, of tropical Africa has woody, curved pods containing flattened seeds that are more oblong than round.  Two-and-a-quarter-inch seeds yield a protein-rich oil that is used for cooking in Africa and for candle-making and lubrication in Europe.

The seeds and bark are thrown into quiet pools and streams to poison fish in the Ivory Coast.  This does not actually poison the fish but temporarily stuns them so they float to the surface and are easily gathered.

After lengthy preparation, such as prolonged roasting, boiling or fermenting, the seeds, with shells removed, furnish a condiment for the people of West Africa.  The pod's ashes have local use as a cooking salt and in the dye industry.18

When threaded on strings the seeds become toys for children.  Hollowed out fruits are used in the game, saara.

Women in Central Africa are said to have eaten the crushed seeds with the addition of little brown ants to induce abortion.19  A sacred tree to the Ibo of Nigeria, it is credited with providing souls to the newborn.20

Ozoroa is an African-Arabian genus of about 40 species that is characterized by a milky resinous latex that exudes from the bark.  Because of this resinous bark nearly species bead the common name “resin tree.”

Smooth, green, fleshy fruits of Ozoroa reticulata become black and wrinkled like raisins when they mature.

 

 

 

 

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