Theobroma purpureum Pittier
Common Name: Monkey Cocoa
Herrania purpurea is an evergreen tree growing up to 3 metres tall. The bole is branchless, except for near the apex[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
The fruits of many members of this genus have some or many stinging hairs on them[
Northern S. America - Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia; Central America - Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua.
Usually found at elevations below 60 metres, often growing by rivers on land that becomes inundated with more than 1 metre of water in the rainy season[
Succeeds in most soils[
A bitter tasting beverage is made from the seeds[
The following report is based mainly on the seeds of H. Nitida, but the seed of this species is likely to be very similar[
The seed contains up to 66% oil[
]. It is solid at room temperature, turning liquid at 25 - 29°c[
]. The oil comprises 18 - 26% linoleic acid, 2 - 7% oleic acid and 74 - 76% saturated acids[
Fruit - raw[
]. The pulp (aril) surrounding the seeds is delicious and refreshing. This white, acidulous pulp is eaten raw and is most delicious just before the complete ripening of the fruit[
The following description of the wood is for H. Nitida. The wood of this species is likely to be very similar[
The heartwood is pinkish brown, the sapwood pale pink[
]. The wood has no distinctive odour or taste; it is straight- or wavy-grained; coarse-textured. It is light in weight; soft; not durable[
]. It requires sharp tools in order to cut smoothly across the grain[
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