Balanites Aegyptiaca (L.): A Multipurpose Fruit Tree in Savanna Zone Of Western Sudan
Keywords:Underutilized fruit trees, Desert date, Balanites aegyptiaca, Western Sudan
Underutilized fruit trees play a vital role in food security and economy of the rural population in a number of African countries. Beside the significant important of the underutilized fruit trees in food security and livelihood of the local population many applications can be summarized such as using of leaves for fodder, branches for fencing materials, fire wood and charcoal making, timber for furniture and constructing huts, controlling soil erosion and competing desert encroachments . In spite of their great potential little attention has been given to this species. Balanites aegyptiaca “soap berry tree; thorn tree, desert date” is an important multipurpose trees species in dry land Africa. The tree is a potential source of medicines, pesticides, edible oil, animal feed, nuts, soap, and fuel wood. The edible fruits are rich in saturated fatty acids which are used as cooking oil. The fruit also contains Stereoids (Saponins, Sapogenins, and Disogenins) which are used as row materials for industrial production of contraceptive pills and other sexual hormones. The excessive uses of the tree for fruit production and for other uses combined with scarcity of natural regeneration lead to drastic depletion of this species. The desert date tree is adapted to dry and hot climatic environment which are characterized by increasing of land and water resources. However, little information is available about propagation and domestication of this valuable tree species; therefore, studies are needed for sustainable use of underutilized fruit trees in general and for Balanites aegyptiaca in particular. This article aims at highlighting and summarizing information on different aspect of B. aegyptiaca to stimulate the scientist interest in this valuable tree species which is of economical importance for rural inhabitants of western Sudan and other African countries.
International Journal of Environment
Volume-4, Issue-1, Dec-Feb 2014/15, Page: 197-203
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