Pulchritude: African Shea Tree

Copyright F. Allal/CIRAD

Appreciate the Pulchritude of the African Shea Tree.

Before you purchase it wholesale or it becomes an ingredient in one of your favorite products, ‘shea butter’ was once a seed on a African Shea (Karité) Tree (Vitellaria paradoxa, formerly Butyrospermum parkii).  African Shea Trees are native to equatorial Tropical West and Central Africa, spanning east through the parts of Ethiopia.  ‘Shea butter’ has become a key ingredient in the cosmetics industry, though it has long been used by West and Central Africans for a variety of purposes, with evidence of shea butter extraction dating back to the 1300’s.  The African Shea Tree is currently listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 

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