The shea tree, or Vitellaria paradoxa, is endemic to West Africa and is found across the Sahel region, according to Encyclopedia of Life. The tree is farmed as a cash crop for use in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, and so its horticulture has expanded beyond its native range.
According to Encyclopedia of Life, commercial shea tree cultivation is difficult and processing of the plant is labor intensive. Despite this, the tree's numerous applications make it desirable to farm on plantations across West Africa. In 2006, shea tree products ranked as the third most valuable agricultural export in the largely agrarian country of Ghana.