Our future fruiters
Myrianthus arboreus P. Beauv.
Synonym: Myrianthus talbotii Rendle
Local names: Bakoko: bokakoulende. Bakwéri: wakaka. Bassa: angom, angongwe. Douala: Bokekou. Ejagham: eci mbok. Ewondo: engakom, engokom, ngokom. Ibo: oujoujou. Pygmy Baka: ngata
Origin, geographical distribution and ecology
Species from tropical Africa, it is present from Guinea to Angola and Uganda. In Cameroon, it is found at the edge of rivers in primary or secondary forests, after clearing, often in a wet station. These are fairly common trees.
Tree up to 10 m tall and 1 m in diameter, mounted on stilt roots; very developed crown; branchy; bark smooth, light gray or reddish gray, slender, white slice.
Leaves alternate, arranged spirally; digitized compounds; 5-7 sessile leaflets; lanceolate to oblanceolate limbs, up to 65 x 27 cm, acute to acuminate tops, toothed margins; petiole up to 50 cm long.
Dioecious plant. Male inflorescences in panicles up to 30 cm long, very branched with flowers on the last axes; globular female inflorescences, up to 3.5 cm in diameter, with 30-80 flowers on a peduncle 2.5 cm long.
Fruits composed of numerous polygonal segments, each being in fact an individual fruit, 6-15 cm in diameter, bright yellow when ripe, borne on a 3-5 cm peduncle; the whole weighs 350-850 g.
Seeds many, one per individual fruit, average weight 0.5 g including 65-70% for the hull.
Variability and conservation of the resource
In several villages in the forest zone, the species is planted around houses and in the fields. In addition, trees are maintained and protected in fallows. The exploitation of natural populations is the most active.
Seed multiplication is the only known multiplication technique. However, the species is not actually cultivated. Therefore, seed behavior in nurseries is not known. The seed germination rate is quite low: 40%; this rate is substantially improved by soaking in lukewarm water. Under these conditions, germination is quite fast (1 month). The plant reproduces naturally by seed germination in open areas, fallows and clearings. The growth is quite fast and the first flowering comes after two and a half years.
The plant thrives well in slightly shaded areas, but may well stand in full sun if it has had time to root well in the early years.
The most used parts of Myrianthus arboreus are: fruits, leaves, roots and wood.
In Cameroon, only the pulp of the fruit is edible. The seeds are oleaginous; but the extraction of this oil is not yet widespread in Cameroon. Nevertheless, these seeds are eaten cooked or raw by the children (Vivien and Faure, 1995). The fruits are used as fodder for pigs (Ruffo, 2002).
In Tanzania, in addition to ripe fruits, decoction leaves are used to improve lactation in women who have given birth. Boiled roots are used as gargles to treat angina (Ruffo, 2002).