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Fruit of the month: Mampatoo

My Magazine 2022/03
1 min
Have you ever come across this small round brownish fruit? It is approximately the size of a small plum, locally known as mampatoo (Mandinka). It is a fruit that mainly grows in the wild, and although it is not extensively appreciated, you might still be lucky to find it with some of the fruit sellers.

Its habitat stretches from Senegal on the north up to Mozambique in the south and Kenya in the east. It can also be found in tropical regions of South America. 

The fast-growing evergreen tree grows up to 45 m high but usually less due to harsher conditions. It can be found in moist areas with sandy soil.

The tree has many medicinal values. The brew made out of bark is believed to be beneficial to pregnant women and cure stomach pain. Pounded and chewed bark can also be used to heal fresh wounds. It is believed that root decoctions help reduce tiredness, chest pains, rheumatism and fevers. 

The 5cm big fruit consists of a relatively large kernel surrounded by soft edible pulp. The texture is similar to one of the bananas. The brown peel hides yellowish flesh. It contains a lot of sugar, and it served as emergency food in the past. The drupe does not offer any easily recognizable taste, but it provides a fresh snack. 

Occasionally fruit is used for cooking porridge after being pounded. 

The seed is rich in oil but usually thrown away after consuming the edible part of the fruit. This allowed a somehow invasive plant to spread across greater areas of The Gambia. 

The tree's wood is not very well respected since it is hard to work with and not too durable. It is sometimes used as a building timber or firewood. It has a good charcoal potential. 

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