Edible cole, or African walnut (Coula edulis) is an evergreen plant that grows in the tropical and subtropical regions of West Africa. Although this plant has the common name African Walnut, the cole has nothing to do with the real Walnut (Juglans regia) of the Juglandaceae family. Sometimes a cole is also called a Gabon nut.
Edible Cole (Coula edulis) is the only species of the Cole genus (Coula), evergreen, tropical plants of the Olaxaceae family.
In countries of West Africa, where African walnuts grow under natural conditions, various parts of the plant are used for food, for medicinal purposes, as fuel, and as building material. The expensive wood of these trees is exported to other parts of the world, where it is used for the construction or manufacture of furniture.
The cole is a hardy tree, it can grow on various soils and tolerates poor lighting, since African walnut usually grows in the jungle, where the upper tier of the crown of tropical plants can interfere with the passage of sunlight and reaching the leaves of this tree.
Cole, or African walnut stays green all year round, blooms in late spring and bears fruit in autumn.
Nuts resemble walnuts in size and shape, with no obvious odor. Countries that grow African walnut trees use them in their natural form for the preparation of flour, the production of cooking oil.
In the world, African walnuts are popular primarily because of the color and high quality of wood. The color of wood has a very wide color range: from golden yellow to reddish brown.
Cole wood can be used in the construction of buildings or furniture. This is a durable material that is resistant to kinks and many types of infections by parasitic insects, but at the same time, it is susceptible to termite infestations.
In West African countries, African walnut wood is often used in the construction of buildings, bridges, and other large structures. Cole wood is also commonly used for flooring.
The cost of exporting wood from this tree makes it impractical for use in large construction projects in areas outside West Africa, as they are too expensive.