Our future fruiters
Coula edulis Baillon Adansonia, ser. 1, 3: 64 (1863)
Synonyms: Coula cabrae de Wild. Coula edulis var. cabrae (From Wild & Th. Dur.) Leonard. Coula use S. Moore
Common names: African walnut, hazelnut (almond)
Local names: Bakoko: koumoun. Bakundu: Bokumia Bakwéri: wokomea. Bassa: omol. Batanga: Bokpuda. Boulou: ewome. Douala: wanted. Ewondo: ewomé. Fang: ngom. Ibo: oudi. Mvaé: ewomé. Pygmy Bagielli: ngouma. Pygmy Baka: mengom
Origin, geographical distribution and ecology
Species of tropical Africa from Sierra Leone to the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is found in Cameroon in evergreen forest up to the loop of the Dja and locally to the lower course of this river. It's a shadow essence.
Tree up to 30 m tall and 80 cm in diameter; deep hemispherical summit; numerous branches often drooping, dense foliage; was often tortuous and short; slightly empted base; bark gray, cracked, exfoliating in thick plates often rectangular, fibrous, brittle, yellow-brown slice, exuding very fine white droplets especially in young trees.
Leaves simple, alternate, persistent; leafless blade, shiny green above and red below, oblong to elliptic, up to 25 x 10 cm, base sometimes rounded, apex acuminate; young leaves covered with red hairs.
Inflorescences in multifilament axillary racemes, up to 7 cm long.
Hermaphrodite flowers, pentamers; yellowish-white; sepals welded in cupule; free petals; stamens numerous, 4 times more numerous than petals, distributed in 4 circles; ovary to 4 uniovulated lodges.
Fruits: globose or ellipsoid drupes up to 3 x 3 cm; woody core, hard and rough.
Single seed, white, albuminous.
Flowering from January to July. Ripe fruits as early as July.
Variability and conservation of the resource
Usually, the fruits are picked on the ground. However, sometimes the tree is felled to facilitate harvesting. On the other hand, natural regeneration seems to pose some problems that are not yet clearly identified. Variability within this species is not yet known.
It is a gregarious species present in dense evergreen forest and semi-deciduous forest. It does not require a special soil for its growth.
The flowers are hermaphrodites. The seed is oleaginous and the almonds contain 22-30% of oil. In the wild, germination would be favored by the passage of the seed in the digestive tract of large mammals such as the elephant, a big consumer of the whole fruit. Germination is extremely slow and very gradual (3-24 months). The germination rate is low, of the order of 0-20%, because the nucleus is very hard and thick. Hot water and acid treatments provide no improvement; on the contrary, they trigger lysis of the kernel. Mechanical scarification tests should be undertaken to remove dormancy and improve the germination rate. The seedlings must be shaded otherwise they will quickly lose. Growth is very slow.
The parts of the plant used are seeds and bark. Its fruits contain very oleaginous seeds that are eaten fresh, dried or cooked. Almonds are rich in oleic acid. Oilcakes, rich in protein, are generally used for livestock feed (Vivien and Faure, 1995). Its hardwood, which is naturally resistant to termite attack, is used in construction as a stake in the frame of the huts (Tchatat and Ndoye, 1999). The decocted bark fragments are used against rheumatism and, applied as a poultice, they relieve pain.