The Manketti – Zambia’s most useful tree

| Marina Smithers

The Manketti tree is a large tree, 7 – 20 metres in height, the diameter up to 60 cm. It gets its leaves in mid to end October, flowers and begin to bear fruits end October towards beginning of November. The fruit ripens from February to April. The Manketti has multiple uses most importantly it is major source of food for many of the rural communities.

Community

How Manketti fruits are used:

  • The fruit is edible and can be eaten fresh, dried or cooked and have a pleasant taste likened to that of plums. The fruit retains its flavour even when dry. The fruit is normally skinned after steaming in a pot with little water, then boiled in fresh water to separate the nuts. The fruit is used in making aromatic soups and sweet porridge, they can be dried and consumed as sweetmeats.
  • The peel and flesh for production of hot liquor known as Ombike or Kashipembe
  • The nut finely crushed and added to meat/vegetables to make a tasty soup or gravy.
  • The kernel or nuts of the seeds are the most valuable parts of the fruit. The nuts yield a high quality yellow oil of which about 60% is used for food and cosmetics. The protein content of the nut is nearly 30%
  • The shell of the nuts are used as fuel
  • The roots are used as a remedy for stomach pains, the nuts tied around the ankles are said to relieve leg pains.
  • The leaves are used as fodder for animals
  • The inner bark is used in making string for nets.
  • The whitish wood is soft, very light but not very durable, it is easy to work and is strong. Current uses are the making of masks, drums and temporary canoes.

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