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Edible portion: Fruit, Leaves, Seeds

A medium sized tree. It is thorny. It loses many of its leaves during the year. It grows up to 10-12 m high. The bark is grey, brown or pale red. Branches and the under surface of the leaves are densely hairy when young. The thorns arise from the base of the leaves. The leaves are alternate and simple. They are finely toothed. They can be oval or round and 8 cm long by 5 cm wide. The flowers are green and have a scent. They occur as 3-5 flowers together. The flowers are 1-2 cm long and on slender branches. The fruit are small, oval and yellow or brown. They are sweet. They are 2-5 cm long and 2.5 cm wide. The fruit are green when young and turn yellow or brown when ripe. The pulp is fleshy, acid and edible. The fruit have one seed imbedded in the flesh in a hard stone. The fruit wrinkle on drying. Many varieties exist.

A tropical plant. It grows well on sandy soils. It can survive droughts. It grows rapidly in dry places such as the Sahel. It can tolerate temperatures up to 44°C as well as periodic frosts once the trees are mature. It does best when the mean annual temperature is 22-30°C. It thrives in hot dry climates and arid zones. It grows in the Sahel. It needs adequate water during the fruiting season. It can grow at elevations up to 1,000 m in the tropics but does best below 600 m. It suits the lowlands. It grows in areas with rainfalls of 150-900 mm and is most common where rainfalls are 300-500 mm annually. It does not like excessive humidity for fruiting. It will grow on a range of soils but deep sandy loams with a pH of 7 or slightly higher are best. It can tolerate some salinity and water-logging. It can grow in arid places. It grows in Miombo woodland in Africa. In Sichuan and Yunnan.