Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra (Sond.) Kokwaro Marula  - Anacardiaceae

A South African tree, Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra, is venerated by many tribal groups for its edible fruits, oily kernels and rich symbolism.  Its generic name from Greek sclero (hard) and carya (walnut), refers to the fruit's hard stone.  Its English common name is marula.

The fruit is made into jams, jellies and an intoxicating beverage that is used in tribal rites.  Oil expressed from the kernel, though edible, is also used as an insecticide.  Because of the prolific fruiting of this tree, its seed is regarded as a fertility charm.  The Venda medicine man often has a set of marula stones in his set of divinatory dice, one designated "male," and the other "female."21  The hard stone which is round and one-inch in diameter (2.5 cm.) is distinguished by three pores.

 

 

 

 

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