Spanish: cotopalo, pitomba
French: pitoulier comestible
Portuguese: pitomba, pitomba-rana, olho de boi, pitomba de macaco
Origin and Distribution
The pitomba is native to the Amazon region of South America, and has not been well distributed in other tropical areas.to Southeast Asia.
Sapindus esculentus and S. edulis.
Medium sized tree, reaching a height of 30-45 feet (9-14 m). Leaves are alternate and compound, with 2-5 pairs of dark green leaflets. Flowers are small, perfect, and occur in apical panicles. Fruits are brown, round to ellipsoid, and about 1.5 inches (4 cm) in diameter. Beneath the outer peel is the white, translucent, sweet-sour pulp with one or two large, elongated seeds.
Propagation and Culture
Propagation is by seed, which should be fresh. Seeds germinate in about 30 days. The pitomba is adapted to warm, humid climates, and is grown throughout the Amazon region of Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia. A mature tree can produce over 100 pounds (45 kg) of fruit annually. In the Amazon, production is from December to February. In Hawaii, the pitomba fruits from May to July.
Cultivars and Related Species
Although variability exists for important characteristics, such as fruit size and shape and pulp thickness, named cultivars are not known.
There are 40 species of the genus Talisia, eight of which have edible fruit. Talisia esculenta and T. oliviformis are the most important species. Other edible species are T. hexaphylla from Venezuela and Trinidad, T. acutifolia, T. cerasina and T. cupularis from Brazil, T. guianensis from Guyana, and T. pedicellaris from the French Guiana and northern Brazil.
The fruit is consumed fresh and used to make juices.
Nutritional composition per 100 g pitomba fruit
Sap from the leaves and twigs is used as a fish poison. The cooked seeds are used as a treatment for diarrhea.
More information on pitomba
A brief fact sheet from the online publication “Fruits from America”.
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