About the marula tree
Latin Name: Scelerocarya birrea
The Marula tree has a long history with Africa and Africans, dating as far back as 10,000 BC. Not only does it feature in countless African fables, but its fruit also offers a range of uses that go beyond it simply providing a tasty snack – truly one of Africa’ botanical treasures.
Both the fruit and rich in minerals and vitamins. In African communities, most parts of the tree and its fruits, including the bark, the leaves, nuts, and kernels are utilized for either medicinal purposes or consumed.
The Marula tree is probably best known in the world for the fruit that ‘drives elephants mad’ when dropped to the ground and lightly fermented.
Marula tree can grow up to 18m high, with a pale flaky bark, with petiolated leaves growing in pairs. Flowers are arranged in a bunch 5 – 8cm long. This tree is part of the mango tree family.
The tree is “dioecious”, which means it has a sex. In the case of the Marula tree, it’s only the female tree that bears both flowers and fruit, whereas the male ones only bear blooms. The tree produces its flowers from September to November and bear fruit from January to March. The fruits are edible and very high in vitamin C (one Marula fruit contains the equivalent Vitamin C of 3 oranges).
The fruit is plum sized with a thick yellow sink when ripe. The flesh clings onto a brown stone and is very fibrous and juicy. The ripe fruit has a unique tropical pineapple flavour. Inside the woody stone are two to three oblong kernels. Each kernel is protected by a small bony “lid” which becomes detached when stone is cracked.
Between mid-January and mid-March, these ripe, golden ovals fall to the ground where they ripen until ready to be harvested.
With all these magical facts, it is no wonder that the Marula is 2019 tree of the year.
The health benefits of Marula Fruit
Of the wide range of nutrients in the Marula pulp the Vitamin C content has attracted the most attention. It has on average 3 - 4 times the Vitamin C of Orange with up to 194mg per 100g. The fruit has small amounts of other vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin and nicotinic acid. It is 85% moisture and 14% carbohydrate, mostly sucrose. Citric-acid is the most abundant acid excluding ascorbic-acid but malic and tartaric acid have also been noted by scientists.
The mineral composition of the fruit shows high concentrations of Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium. The smell of Marula juice has also been liken to pineapple but this is probably also only in part due to complimentary volatile components such as ethyl acetate, Benz aldehyde, linalool. The total soluble solids of Marula fruit pulp varies between 7.5¡Brix and 15.5¡Brix.
The many benefits of African Marula Oil
Marula oil absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving behind a little trace of oil. Because of this, it is safe for clothing and leaves the hands feeling oil free.
Due to the quick absorption, Marula oil is an excellent protective moisturizer to apply before applying makeup and can be used in the morning as a moisturizer and at night to remove makeup and nourish skin.