Analysis of the phenolic constituents of shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) kernels by LC-MS revealed eight catechin compounds-gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, gallocatechin, epigallocatechin, gallocatechin gallate, and epigallocatechin gallate-as well as quercetin and trans-cinnamic acid. The mean kernel content of the eight catechin compounds was 4000 ppm (0.4% of kernel dry weight), with a 2100-9500 ppm range. Comparison of the profiles of the six major catechins from 40 Vitellaria provenances from 10 African countries showed that the relative proportions of these compounds varied from region to region. Gallic acid was the major phenolic compound, comprising an average of 27% of the measured total phenols and exceeding 70% in some populations. Colorimetric analysis (101 samples) of total polyphenols extracted from shea butter into hexane gave an average of 97 ppm, with the values for different provenances varying between 62 and 135 ppm of total polyphenols.