The Mongongo/Manketti Nut - Ricinodendron rautanenii (Schinziophyton rautanenii)


Like many trees of seasonally arid or cold climates, the trees lose their leaves every year, towards the end of the cold-dry season of autumn and winter (variably, about June to the end of August). And it is at this time that the last of the ripe fruit fall. They are a lot easier to see when the leaves fall at this time, and it is easy to pick up the fallen fruit. The supply of fruit decreases after winter, as the rainy season (very variably, at some time in the period November to April, broadly regarded as the 'summer rainfall' area) comes on; insect and animals destroy the fruit where they fall. Even the dried, crumbly flesh of old fruit is edible -there may be edible dried fruit on the ground for as long as eight months, overlapping the fall of the new crop. Some bushmen remove the flesh from the fresh fruit, dry it in the sun, and store it for use later in the year. Both Bantu and Bushman peoples use the fruits, with the modern preference being to boil the whole fruit to remove the tough and indigestible outer skin, and make a sweet, maroon colored porridge - very similar to 'applesauce'(USA)/stewed apples (British colonial) - from the flesh.

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