Commonly known as the yellow plum, hog plum, tallowwood, or sea lemon, the Ximenia Americana is a bush forming small tree which typically belongs to the Ximenia genus of the family Olacaceae. The shrub is native to the tropics in Asia, Africa, Australia, and America and thus grows abundantly in the woodlands of these continents. With a height of approximately 7m (23 feet), the leaves are borne on their spur shoots and have an oval to spear-like shape. The flowers of these shrubs are small and aromatic and have a flowering season during the dry months. But the ripening and maturing of its fruits and flowers usually occur throughout the entire year and are generally not affected by any climatic conditions.
With a variety of diverse habitats, the Ximenia Americana can be found in habitats ranging from the hilly areas and dry woodlands to the coastal bushlands along with riverbanks. They typically grow in areas receiving more than 500mm of mean annual rainfall and at about 2000m of heights. They are usually found in dry and poor soil types. The plant only occurs in the wild as it has not been domesticated yet. The leaves of this small tree are bright green colored and have an oval shape along with a very strong smell like that of almonds. The flowers are typically pale in color, whereas the fruits are yellow-lemon or red-orange colored.
Interesting facts about Ximenia
The Ximenia oil – after the fruits of Ximenia Americana get ripped and fall from the trees and are harvested by the local women, and the ximenia oil is created by cold pressing the seeds from its fruits. The creation of the oil falls under sustainable harvesting as no past of the plant goes unused.
The smell of ximenia oil – the aroma of Ximenia Americana is very mildly sweet and soft, along with a delicate fruity note which is evocative due to the ripened plums. The ximenia oil is an excellent choice for the treatments targeting very dry skin types, anti-acne products, eye care, along with a very sensitive skin formula.
The tastes of Ximenia fruits are out of the world – the fruits of Ximenia Americana have a unique taste and flavor. Depending upon the fruit, its taste can range from a very sweet flavor to a bitter almond-like flavor. The texture of the fruit is sticky, but its flowers have a very intense lilac smell.
The fruits of Ximenia can be eaten in various forms – just like other fruits, the fruits of Ximena Americana can be made into jam, jelly, and juices. In some parts of the world, the petals of its flowers are also used in soap makings.
Habitat of the Ximenia trees – the Ximenia Americana tree is typically a solitary tree usually dispersed in open country, gallery forest, savannah along with the coastal lines and dry woodlands, understorey of dry forests, and the riverbanks.
The laxative properties of the ximenia leave – the ximenia twig and leave possess laxative properties. As a result, an infusion is commonly used to treat colds and fevers. This infusion of its twigs and leaves is also used as a mouthwash to relieve toothache and under-eye lotion.
The use of the ximenia roots – the roots of this plant is typically used for the treatment of various types of skin problems, leprosy, headaches, and hemorrhoids, along with the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, guinea worms, oedema, sleeping sickness, and also acts as an antidote for the poisoning.
The use of ximenia Americana tree barks – the barks of these trees is typically used in the decoction, which is dried and later powdered as a cicatrizant and is generally applied to the skin ulcers. It is also put upon the head to get relief from febrile headaches and placed in sick children’s bathwater. It is also used for the treatments of various heart and kidney-related complaints.
The seed of Ximenia – the Ximenia Americana seed is typically very strongly purgative. Therefore, as a result, they are usually used for treatment in the case of snakebites. These seeds are roasted, crushed properly, and then applied to the wounds as a poultice.
The medicinal properties of ximenia fruits – the fruits of the plant called Ximenia Americana are useful for treating habitual constipation. When these fruits are eaten in a large quantity, it acts as a vermifuge. The skin of this fruit is also known to be astringent.
The heartwood of the shrub – the heartwood of the Ximenia shrub typically contains essential oil, which is used for fumigation. The flowers of these plants also contain an essential oil which could be a great substitute for the orange blossom.
The characteristic features of the Ximenia heartwood – with a very fin and regular texture, the heartwood of Ximenia Americana ranges from yellow-red to orange-brown. The wood is very heavy, hard, and durable, and thus it is also used to make tool handles. Sometimes, it is used as a substitute for sandalwoods too. The chief use of this wood is charcoal and firewood, as the plant’s trunk is typically too small to use as timber.
The Ximenia American fruit has several nicknames – the Ximenia Americana is the fruit’s botanical name. Still, this fruit often goes by several other names such as American plum, monkey plum, sour blue plum, seaside plum, wild plum, yellow plum, mountain plum, Spanish plum, and the hog plum.
The conservation of the plant – due to its wide distribution and a large population of Ximenia plants from all over the world, the Ximenia American plant has been declared as the “least concern” plant by the IUCN red list. In the coming future and current times, no major threats have been identified to the species.
The toxicity of this plant – the leaves of the Ximenia plants have been identified to be toxic in the case of freshwater snails. The leaves at 100ppm were fatal for Bulinus globus, a freshwater snail. This species is known for causing a disease called schistosomiasis.
Taxonomy of the Ximenia plants – the term Ximenia has been obtained from a Spanish priest named Francisco Ximenez. He carried out a detailed collection of the plants found in various parts of Mexico during the 17th century. And the species name Americana means “of america” as an indication of the place from where the plant was first-ever collected. The Ximenia American belongs to the genus Ximenia and seven other species, which further belong to the family Olacaceae.
The importance of this plant in Ethiopia – locally known as the Inky, the Ximenia Americana in Ethiopia is one of the wild fruit shrubs having very little emphasis upon its general characteristics, medicinal values, food value, and climatic management requirements. Even if the locals know the use and management of this plant, only a few research works have been carried out by the researchers.
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