Growing Tree Zygophyllales - Order

The order Zygophyllales stands within the huge clade Rosids, but itself contains only two families, and only one species of one family is significant for food.

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Zygophyllaceae - [family Zygophyllaceae]

Desert Date   -   [Soap Berry Tree, Thron Tree, Egyptian myrobalan, Egyptian balsam, Zachum oil tree; Lalob, Hidjihi, Inteishit, Heglig, Hijlij (Arabic); Aduwa, Mchunju. Bedena (Africa); Balanites aegyptiaca]
Ripe Fruit

This small tree (to 33 feet) or shrub is widely distributed over much of northern Africa and the Near East. Though called "desert date" it is not at all related to the date palm. It is known to have been cultivated in Egypt for more than 4000 years. The fruit, about 1 inch long, is somewhat bitter, but is appreciated in dry periods when other food plants are not bearing much fruit. Leaves are eaten raw or cooked during famine times, and the flowers are also eaten. The oily seeds are boiled to make them less bitter. The fruit is also fermented to produce an alcoholic beverage, and various parts of the tree are used for medicinal purposes.   Photo by Roger Culos distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

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