When the Marula Trees are in Full Fruit

Alternate title: Africa .. Hard “CORE” Drinkers

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Sclerocarya birrea
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The Marula (Sclerocarya birrea) (skleros hard, karya walnut in reference to the stone inside the fleshy drupe) is a medium-sized dioecious tree, indigenous to the miombo woodlands of Southern Africa and the Sudano-Sahelian range of West Africa. The tree is a single stemmed tree with a wide spreading crown. It is characterised by a grey mottled bark. The tree grows up to 18m tall mostly in low altitudes and open woodlands. The fruits are used in the liqueur Amarula. The distribution of this species throughout Africa has followed the Bantu in their migrations, as it has been an important item in their diet since time immemorial. When ripe, the fruits have a light yellow skin, with white flesh, rich in vitamin C – about 8 times the amount found in an orange – are succulent, tart with a strong turpentine flavour. Inside is a walnut-sized, thick-walled stone. These stones, when dry, expose the seeds by shedding 2 (sometimes 3) small circular plugs at one end. The seeds have a delicate nutty flavour and are much sought after, especially by small rodents who know to gnaw exactly where the plugs are located.


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