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Ximenia americana - Hog plum / Tallow Wood / Yellow plum


Native to:



Global tropical regions, including Central and South America, the Caribbean, Florida.

Open country, forest, savannah. 5 meter shrub, up to 100 meters above sea level.

Ximenia americana - Hog plum / Tallow Wood / Yellow plum

Ecological value:

Grown as a hedge, highly salt tolerant. Drought tolerant once established.
Pollinated by bees including Agapostemon splendens, Augochloropsis sumptuosa, Dialictus placidensis, Coelioxys germana, Megachile mendica and Apis mellifera (honeybee).

Material uses:

Seed from oil used as soap and lubrication (67.4% non-drying oil). Essential oil from flowers. Bark contains tannins used to strengthen indigo dyes. Yellow-red to brown orange wood, hard and durable-used for small items such as handles. Substitute for sandalwood. Fire wood.

Edible uses:

The fruits have a plum-like flavor. Young leaves can be cooked as a vegetable, but need to be thoroughly cooked as they contain cyanide. Eat in limited quantities. Flower petals edible. Oil from seed-used as substitute for ghee.

Medicinal use:

Treats sleeping sickness and anemia in livestock. Treats headaches, skin problems, snakebites and sore muscles. Bark and crushed fruit rind keep fleas away.

Other details:

Fruits have a pleasant plum like flavor. Begins fruiting at 3-4 years. Young leaves as potherb, cooked.


Xiliang Chen/Christine Facella


“Ximenia Americana L. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 19, 2023.
‌“Ximenia Americana - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 19, 2023.
‌Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M., ‘Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory’, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 1987
Facciola. S., ‘Cornucopia II’, Kampong Publications, California, 1998
Uphof. J. C. Th., ‘Dictionary of Economic Plants’, Weinheim, 1959
“Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS).” n.d. Accessed November 23, 2023.
Image sources: J.M.Garg and Dinesh Valke.

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