(Madhuca latifolia – Family Sapotaceae)
Illipe nuts come from a genus with about eighty-five members, including the mamey sapote and other delicious fruits. There are two crops of nuts per year, one large and the other smaller. Native to India, the tree produces a nut that is long, oval, and smooth, covering coffee-coloured seeds. The nut contains saponin, which has a destructive action on the blood. The oil extracted is similar to lard. Madhuca is certainly the most important genus as the fat produced from the seeds is often used to extend ghee and coconut butter.
False Illipe nut, Engkebang nuts
(Shorea macrophylla – Family Dipterocarpaceae)
The false illipe nut comes from another group of trees in a genus that has about 180 members, from Ceylon to Malaysia and south China. Many of them are valued for their timber. The species found in Malaysia and three others in Borneo supply the nuts often mistaken for the illipe nut, and thus its name. From these nuts comes a substitute for cocoa butter in the manufacture of chocolates.