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Found within semiarid and subhumid regions as a single shrub in the understorey of: savannah woodlands; open bush; along rivers; mixed scrub and rock at low to medium altitude; and in swampy forest in high rainfall areas. It is adaptable to a range of zones, including bush, savannah and open patches of forest (Palmer and Pitman 1972). It is widely distributed throughout Tanzania where it grows in wet lowland savannah by the coast, in the Usambaras and in Lake Victoria basin. A. senegalensis is found in Tanga, Tabora, Iringa, Ruvuma, Morogoro, Mbeya, and Coast regions. It is widespread in Brachystegia and Combretum woodlands (FAO 1983).

Minimum Altitude (m):


Maximum Altitude (m):


Minimum Rainfall (mm):


Maximum Rainfall (mm):


Minimum Temperature (C):


Maximum Temperature (C):



Soil Requirements: Tends to favour sandy soils (Palgrave 1988), but grows well in a wide variety of soils including stony soils, on river banks, fallow land, and along the coast on coral rocks with sandy loams.

Light Requirements: Strongly demanding.

Influential Factors: Frequently occurs in places subject to burning. It has sucker shoots that are an adaptation to frequent burning (Sommerlatte 1990).


Means of Propagation: Seedlings and wildlings. Natural regeneration is by seed, root suckers, and coppicing.

Seed Treatments: The solid, edible fleshy fruit resembles that of its close relative, the cultivated custard apple. It measures about 3×6 cm. Scarify seeds if raising seedlings in a nursery.

Seedling Management: No efforts have been made to raise this species in Tanzania, but seedlings can be raised in the nursery.


Growth Factors: Moderately fast growing.

Growth Cycle: Flowers from October through December, but along the coast it flowers during December through February. The fruit matures during the long rains and is edible from January through March (FAO 1983).

Management Systems: Sites should be cleared of all vegetation before planting, and vegetation should be slashed during the first few years. Germination is good on recently cultivated and burnt lands.


Use #1: FRUIT
A. senegalensis is a well-known fruit that is sold in local markets. When eaten fresh, it is said to be one of the preferred fruits of Africa.

The leaf tips and bark are used to treat colds and pneumonia, the fruits are used against diarrhoea, dysentery and vomiting, and the root is also used for stomach problems. The bark is prepared to treat intestinal worms as well as dysenteries and the gum is used to seal cuts (Rulangaranga 1989).

Use #3: FODDER
The leaves are sometimes used as fodder and are browsed by elephants. The fruits are eaten by baboons.

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