Home

Plants

Tree of Life

ID
  
 
Healthy Home Gardening
 
Desert Date
Zygophyllaceae
Balanites aegyptiaca


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Tree




Zygophyllaceae Family

Balanites Genus
Other Names for this Plant

soapberry tree, thorn tree, Jerico balsam, simple-thorned


Location

Native to the Sudano-Sahelian zone, Israel, and Jordan. It is believed indigenous to all dry lands south of the Sahara (Sahel), extending southwards to Malawi in the Rift Valley, and to the Arabian Peninsula. Introduced into cultivation in Latin America and India.

Physical Description
Multibranched, spiny shrub or tree up to l0 m tall. Crown spherical, in one or several distinct masses. Trunk short and often branching from near the base. Bark dark brown to grey, deeply fissured. Branches armed with stout yellow or green thorns up to 8 cm long. Leaves with two separate leaflets; leaflets obovate, asymmetric, 2.5-6 cm long, bright green, leathery, with fine hairs when young. Flowers in fascicles in the leaf axils, fragrant, yellowish-green.
Fruit: a rather long, narrow drupe, 2.5-7 cm long, 1.5-4 cm in diameter. Young fruits green and tormentose, turning yellow and glabrous when mature. Pulp bittersweet and edible.
Seed: the pyrene (stone) is 1.5-3 cm long, light brown, fibrous, and extremely hard. It makes up 50-60% of the fruit. There are 500-1500 dry, clean seeds per kg.
Flowers are small, inconspicuous, hermaphroditic, and pollinated by insects.




Compare Species
?

Zygophyllaceae
Zygophyllales
Zygophyllales
Fabidae
Bean-Like Class
Eurosids
Real Rose Class
Rosids
Rosids
Rose-Like Class
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

Medicinal Uses: It is useful in anti bacterial, loss of appetite, pain in abdomen. The fruits have been used in the treatment of liver and spleen diseases. The fruit is also known to kill the snails, which carry schistosomiasis and bilharzia flukes (Tredgold 1986). The roots are used for abdominal pains and as a purgative. Gum from the wood is mixed with maize meal porridge to treat chest complaints.

It is used as a prophylactic against schistosomiasis by adding it to drinking water.

Food Uses: The fleshy pulp of both unripe and ripe fruits is edible and eaten dried or fresh

The fruit pulp though bitter, is edible. It produces fruit even in dry years which makes it a highly appreciated food source in dry areas. Pounded fruits make a refreshing drink which becomes alcoholic if left to ferment.

Other Uses: The wood is hard, durable, and easy to work, but the small stem size and the tendency to fluting make sawmill processing difficult. B. aegyptiaca has fine-grained dense and heavy heartwood, it is easily worked and takes a good polish. Although valued for furniture it may be twisted and difficult to saw. The wood is durable and resistant to insects making it good for tool handles and domestic items such as spoons.

Plant parts are used as soap substitutes because of high saponin contents

Root cuttings readily form a live fence. Protein rich leaves and shoots are an excellent source of fodder. The leaves make very good mulch and the tree is nitrogen fixing, it is also valued as firewood since it produces almost no smoke and has a calorific value of 4600 kcal per kg

Other Notes: Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak (1040-1105), known as Rashi, author of influential Biblical and Talmudic commentaries, said that balm was the resin named as one of the ingredients of incense used in the tabernacle (Exodus 30:34). Balm was used in making perfume and was an ingredient in the holy oil used in the temple.

Henry Baker Tristram [The Natural History of the Bible (1867)]: "The Balanites aegyptiaca, known to travelers as the False Balm of Gilead... The oil of the berry of the zukkum (so called by the Arabs) is carefully prepared by the Arabs of Jericho, and sold in large quantities to the pilgrims as balm of Gilead... But the most precious balm, that of Gilead, was probably the produce of the Balsamodendron gileadense, or Opobalsamum, which is now cultivated about Mecca."

======================================================

Warning: Beware of the shrp Thorns!



Desert Date
Tree appears on a stamp from the Republic of Islamic Mauritanie

Comment: Desert Date, Balanites aegyptiaca

Look for Desert Date on:
Google: Desert Date Wikipedia: Desert Date YouTube: Desert Date
Phylogenetic Tree of Life

Learn how to create a custom
Tree of Life





© Copyright 2006 - 2020 HealthyHomeGardening.com.
All Rights Reserved.
Web Design by Artatom