The shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa C. Gaertn.) is an indigenous tree species that is widely distributed in the Sudano-Sahelian belt of Africa. In Uganda, it grows naturally in the savannah parklands of northern and eastern parts of the country. It is widely known for its oil which is produced from its kernels and used in cooking, cosmetics, traditional medicine and
cultural ceremonies. Due to its socioeconomic and cultural importance, a folk classification has evolved among the local communities in the shea tree parklands of Uganda. Folk classifications have been extremely useful in many crop improvement programmes. In Uganda, folk classification recognises the presence of shea tree ethno-varieties on the basis of fruit and nut differences.