English: mountain cocoa, alligator cocoa
cacao de monte, cacao caimán
Origin and Distribution
Native to the Amazon Basin (Brazil, Colombia, Peru). Rarely cultivated.
Abroma mariae and Theobroma mariae.
Medium sized tree, reaching about 30 feet (9 m) tall, often with multiple trunks. The leaves are palmately compound with six to nine leaflets. Flowers are produced in groups in cushions on the trunk, globose and brown when in bud and when opening with five purple red petals with extending pinkish ligules 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) long. Fruits are 4-5.5 inches (10-14 cm) in length and 2.5 inches (6 cm) in diameter, with prominent subequal ribs, green when immature and yellow when ripe. It contains between 30-40 angular seeds, surrounded by a whitish, sweet pulp. The cotyledons are white.
Mountain cocoa flower buds and open flowers with long exotic ligules
Propagation and Culture
Propagation is by seeds, airlayers, cuttings or grafts. Seedlings should be grown under 50% shade. Mountain cocoa is adapted to a humid tropical climate, and grows best in fertile, well drained soils. Trees grow best with light shade, but will grow well in full sun with adequate soil moisture. In its natural habitat, mountain cocoa is found growing as a rainforest understory tree. Mountain cocoa is self-compatible and sets fruit without cross pollination.
Cultivars and Related Species
There are approximately 17 species of Herrania.
Mountain cocoa is used for the edible pulp and the seeds can be used to make chocolate.
A mountain cocoa tree with double trunks, loaded with flower buds, an open flower and ripe fruits
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120 Km 18.9, Box 692, Maricao, Puerto Rico 00606 USA
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