Spondias cirouella Tussac
Spondias crispula Beurl.
Spondias jocote-amarillo Kosterm.
Spondias mexicana S. Watson
Spondias myrobalanus Jacq.
Warmingia macrocarpa Engl.
Warmingia pauciflora Engl.
Common Name: Purple Mombin
Photograph by: Leoadec
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Purple mombin is a deciduous tree with a spreading crown; it can reach a height of 25 metres, but is more likely to be in the range of 7 - 10 metres tall[
]. The thick, gnarled bole can be 30 - 80cm in diameter[
The tree is especially valued for its edible fruit, though it also provides many other commodities including medicines, a gum, edible shoots etc. It is widely cultivated in tropical areas, especially the Americas, for its edible fruit, and is also used as a living hedge[
The seed is toxic[
Western S. America north to the Caribbean and through Central America to Mexico.
Abundant in thickets or open forest, often in second growth, common in fencerows, pastures, and many other situations, ascending from sea level to elevations of about 1,700 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
The plant grows best in the subhumid and frost-free tropics at an elevation up to 2,000 metres[
]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 28°c, but can tolerate 13 - 35°c[
]. The plant is not frost tolerant. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 800 - 1,100mm, but tolerates 600 - 1,800mm[
]. For good fruit set it requires growing conditions with a marked dry season of up to 6 months[
Requires a sunny position[
]. Plants are not too fussy over soil, so long as it is well-drained. It does not need very fertile conditions, however very poor soil, or shallow land, is unsuitable[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7, tolerating 5.5 - 8[
Seedling plants can start producing fruit when about 4 - 5 years old, whilst cuttings can commence when 2 - 3 years old[
Fruits can be obtained in Guatemala at almost any season of the year[
Several named forms have been developed in Guatemala[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. Spicy and subacid, the juicy yellow pulp is said to have a flavour resembling a plum[
]. It is eaten raw or cooked with sugar[
]. Usually eaten ripe and raw, though children, and even some adults, eat the sour, green fruits[
]. It is also used for making jams, ice cream etc[
]. Unripe fruits are pickled or made into a tart green sauce[
]. The yellow or purplish-red cylindrical fruits are 25 - 30mm long[
The young shoots and leaves often are conspicuously coloured with red and purple[
]. They have a rather agreeable acid flavour, and often are eaten raw by children or adults[
]. They can also be cooked[
]. The leaves contain 5.5% protein[
The leaves exhibit anti-bacterial properties[
]. The leaf juice is taken orally in the treatment of swollen glands and trauma[
]. The crushed leaves are applied as a poultice to treat headaches[
In large amounts the fruit is laxative and is used as a treatment for constipation[
The plant is also used to treat dysentery and diarrhoea, whilst parts of the plant are used in the preparation of a herbal remedy for sore throat[
They often are planted for living fence posts, being one of the best of all trees for the purpose in the tierra caliente[
]. Even quite large limbs when cut and set in the ground take root quickly, and often are set thickly to form immediate barriers[
In some regions the ashes of the wood are used in soap-making[
Some cosmetic and hygienic products eg soap are manufactured from parts of this tree[
The seeds have a thick gum coating commonly used in chilli stews. This gum has good solubility in water and on hydrolysis yields polysaccharides. Aspartic acid and valine are its major amino acid constituents[
The whitish wood is soft, light in weight and brittle[
]. It is said to have been used in Brazil for paper pulp[
The easily cut and brittle branches are potential fuel wood[
Fairly easy to grow from quite large cuttings[
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