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4 Popular African Fruits You Probably Didn’t Know Their English Names

Many a time, I’ve paid tribute to the inherent creativity and ingenuity of Nigerians.

Africans are so creative that rather than find out the English names of certain fruits, they have either stuck with the traditional name or invented a new name for said fruit. Here are common examples:

1. Tropical Almonds

The tropical almond can be found in many parts of Southern Nigeria. But Nigerians definitely don’t bother calling it tropical almond. This delicious fruit is referred to as “fruit”.

4 Fruits Nigerians don't Know the English Names For

PS: I never said the Nigerian ingenuity was that great.


2. Tiger Nuts

The name “Tiger nut” is yet to stick to this sweet root from Northern Nigeria. Tiger nut is called its traditional name in various parts of the country; Ofio in the Southwest, Aki Hausa in the Southeast and Aya in the North.


4 Fruits Nigerians don't Know the English Names For




3. Black Velvet Tamarind

To undertake a fruitless (in both senses) market search, you only have to keep asking for “black velvet tamarind”. If you’re interested in enjoying the sweet-tart goodness of this fruit, please forget your “shakara” and call it “lickie lickie” like everyone else.

4 Fruits Nigerians don't Know the English Names For


4. African Star Apple

Try searching for African star apple on Google and watch the search engine struggle to come up with results. But search for “Agbalumo” and watch Google turn to superstar with numerous results. This is because Nigerians only know this fruit as Agbalumo, not as the African Star Apple.

4 Fruits Nigerians don't Know the English Names For


Written by PH


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  1. Africans do not need to wait on Europe to provide them names of fruits that are indigenous to the continent. After all, it was Africa where the first languages were spoken.

    • Well said, @justsayin. Africans ahould have a right to give originl names to plants that originate on their soil.
      Also, to the writer, there are other names for the fruits.
      Lickie Lickie (black velvet Tamarind) is also called “Ichekwu” by the Igbos. It even comes up on google when you search with that word.
      Star apple is also called “udara” by the Igbos as well. Don’t forget there are many languages, so different regions may give them different names, and not all regions know the names you listed (as the only Nigerian names); at least for the two i pointed out.

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