Marula Facts

Marula Facts
Marula is a type of deciduous tree that belongs to the mango family. It originates from southern Africa. Marula is highly prized and widely spread in semi-arid and sub-humid parts of Africa today. It grows on sandy and loamy soils and tolerates drought. According to some scientific studies, marula is part of human diet more than 10.000 years. This tree represents important source of food for the wild animals also. Besides delicious fruit, marula provides much needed shade and wood of good quality.
Interesting Marula Facts:
Marula produces single stem that can reach 29 to 59 feet in height. Tree has wide, round-shaped crown.
Marula produces compound grayish-green leaves which consist of 3 to 7 pairs of oval shaped leaflets with pointed tips.
Marula is dioecious plant, which means that male and female flowers develop on the separate trees. Marula blooms from September to November and attracts insects which are responsible for the pollination of the flowers.
Marula produces small, plum-shaped fruit. Ripe fruit is yellow and available from January to March. Fruit has juicy pulp and one or two hard-shelled seed (nuts) in the middle.
Harvest of marula takes place on the ground (ripe fruit falls from the tree).
Each tree produces around 1.100 pounds of fruit per year.
Elephants, kudu, warthog and waterbuck like to eat fruit and leaves of marula.
Fruit contains 4 times more vitamin C than orange. Marula can be consumed fresh or in the form of juices, jellies and jams. It is also used for the manufacture of alcoholic drinks and tea.
Seed (kernel), hidden inside the hard shell, is also edible. It can be consumed raw or roasted. Extraction of the kernel is delicate work. Hard shell can be cracked only with the use of stone, which can easily crack the thumb at the same time. It takes 24 hours for the extraction of 1.7 pounds of kernel.
Necklace made of dried nuts is worn as a symbol of love in certain African tribes. Africans believe that necklace made of marula can prevent diarrhea and nosebleeds in children.
Essential oils of marula, obtained from the kernel, are used for the manufacture of skin care products.
Wood of marula was used for the manufacture of toilet seats and tomato boxes during the colonial times. Today, wood is mainly used for carving. Inner bark is used for the manufacture of ropes.
Bark of marula is used in treatment of diarrhea, dysentery and insect bites. Leaves are used in treatment of heartburn, spider bites, skin burns and abscesses. Leaves can be also used in treatment of hypertension, inflammation and pain.
Marula tree has spiritual meaning among the African tribes. People often gather under the tree and perform various rituals.
Marula is perennial plant (lifespan: more than 2 years).

Related Links:
Plants Facts
Animals Facts