Coconut tree from South Sudan

This special tree with its large orange fruits is a blessing for South Sudan. In the dry season it is very difficult to get fruit or vegetables in South Sudan.

During dry season the only vegetables and fruit available on the markets in South Sudan are rice and kidney beans, spinach, peanuts and onions. But the orange ‘coconut of South Sudan’ is there. In areas where children go hungry, have little to eat, you can see them chewing parts of the nut all day long.

Borassus aethiopum

Borassus aethiopum is an African species of the Borassus palm. In English it is also called African fan palm, African palmyra palm, deleb palm, ron palm, toddy palm, black rhun palm, rônier palm (from French).

The Borassus aethiopum tree is a solitary standing palm up to 25 meters high and 1 meter in diameter at the ground. In South Sudan, the trees are everywhere and are scattered between the settlements and the mango trees. In northern Uganda, vast areas can be found where this tree is infinitely abundant, often with variable other trees in between.

There are male and female trees. In the double plants, the small flower collection is completely hidden in the scaly catkins; the much larger graphic flowers grow 2 inches across and produce yellow to orange fruit. Each fruit contains 1-3 seeds, each enclosed in a woody, hard shell.

Applications of the Borassus aethiopum

The tree has many uses: its edible, the tender roots produced by the young plant; fiber can be extracted from the leaves; and the wood (known to be termite resistant) can be used in construction. In the dry season, the large leaves fall to the ground with a loud bang when they are completely dried out. These are good to use as kindling wood for cooking and for making an African campfire.

In addition to the mangoes, which are available throughout much of the year, the Borassus aethiopum, the coconut of South Sudan, is a special blessing that benefits many people.

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