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Irvingia smithii Hook. f.

General Information

This easily recognisable tree has ovate leaves 5–10 cm long. At the end of each twig is a pointed bud covered in two stipules. At the base of each petiole there is a circular scar which runs around the stem. The fragrant white flowers are presented about 20 together on a short inflorescence. The reddish orange fruit with whitish dots have a hard stone containing a single seed.


This evergreen species grows only where there is water. It is one of the commonest and most widespread species. The fruit float and are dispersed by the current. The seeds germinate when the water is low but in their first few years they are underwater for several months each year.


Distribution: Nigeria to DRC but absent from Gabon and much of Cameroon.