Allanblackia sp. (Tallow tree), native to the tropical forests of Africa, is a small tree usually ranging from 10-20 ft tall. It prefers full sun, but can also do well in semi-shade and needs regular but moderate water. This tree is a showstopper, with bright pink, white, off-white and yellow or orange flowers.
This tree is an ethnomedical plant, which means its seeds have been used for centuries in African traditional medicine for inflammation and for fighting bacteria, and parasites. It is also edible and the fruit, although not particularly delicious, can be eaten as a snack or added to fruit salads.
Allanblackia floribunda can produce up to 100 fruits per year, each of which contain a dozen or more seeds. The seeds contain a rich oil that is used in cooking and cosmetics. In cooking, the oil has a neutral flavor and is high in omega-3 fatty acids, making it an excellent choice for those looking to add healthy omega-3s to their diet. In the cosmetics industry, it is used for its moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.
This tree can be grown in USDA Hardiness Zones 9-11 in pots in cold regions as well. When planting, make sure the soil is well-drained, with plenty of compost and fertilizer added. Keep soil moist and provide regular but moderate water. Sun exposure should be full sun to semi-shade but avoid full shade as it will cause poor flowering, fruit formation and oil production.