Garcinia humilis is native to Guyana and the Caribbean according to most reports. Plants from Bolivia with a native name of Achachairu are being grown as a commercial fruit crop in Australia under the name of Garcinia humilis. We have been unable to determine for certain if the plant in Australia is truly Garcinia humilis, but are inclined to believe that it is not, and that the plant is more likely to be Garcinia brasilensis or Garcinia gardneriana (which might itself be no more than a synonym for Garcinia brasilensis). The confusion seems to be based on two synonyms - Rheedia lateriflora (an earlier name for Garcinia humilis) and Rheedia laterifolia (an illegitimate name applied to Garcinia gardneriana)[
]. Missouri Botanical Garden state that material from Bolivia identified as Rheedia latiflora (= Garcinia humilis) was wrongly identified - Tropicos.org. Missouri Botanical Garden. 17 Jan 2017 - http://www.tropicos.org/Name/7800760
There is disagreement between botanists over the correct placing of this species, with some recognising the genus Rheedia and placing this species in that genus as Rheedia lateriflora (treated here as a synonym)[
Mammea humilis Vahl
Rheedia lateriflora L.
Rheedia sessiliflora Planch. ex Vesque
Rheedia sieberi Choisy
Fruits and seed
Photograph by: Not known
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Garcinia humilis is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing from 2 - 10 metres tall[
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. There is a report that this species is cultivated in northern Australia as a commercial fruit crop - this is likely to be a misidentification - see notes above on taxonomy.
Northern S. America - Guyana; C. America - Panama, Caribbean - Trinidad to Haiti and Jamaica.
Sheltered aspects of woodland, often on limestone, at elevations of 150 - 900 metres[
]. Wet forests near the coast of Panama[
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Fruit - raw[
]. Eaten by children[
]. The yellow, ellipsoid fruit is around 30 - 40mm long[
]. The skin is thin, inside there are 2 - 3 large, fleshy seeds surrounded by a sweet and succulent edible pulp[
]. It is used for making drinks and preserves[
There is a report that the tree is cultivated on a commercial basis for its fruit in northern Australia, where the fruit skin is also used to make a refreshing drink. We are not sure if this report properly belongs to this species or is more correctly applied to another species - see notes above on taxonomy[
The sap is applied to the skin for its healing properties[
The tree is a source of a hard wax[
A kind of waxy resin exudes from nodes on the branches. It has a pleasant aroma and is used as the fuel in making torches[
The reddish wood is used for common joinery etc[
Seed - we have no specific information on this species, but the seed of most members of the genus can be slow to germinate, even if sown fresh, often taking 6 months or more[
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