Sapindus esculenta A.St.-Hil.
Common Name: Pitomba
Photograph by: César Henrique
Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication
Pitomba is a medium-sized evergreen or semi-deciduous tree with a fairly dense, round canopy[
]. The tree grows 6 - 14 metres tall, with a bole 30 - 40cm in diameter[
The edible fruit is greatly appreciated and is often gathered from the wild for local use[
]. The plant is also often cultivated in domestic orchards for its fruit, which are often sold in street markets[
]. The plant also has local medicinal uses and is a source of wood.
S. America - Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia.
Rainforests, on land that does not become inundated[
]. Dense primary forest as well as secondary formations, always in alluvial lowlands, at the bottom of valleys[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the hot, wet, tropical lowlands[
Grows best in a sunny position in a deep, fertile soil[
A moderately fast growing plant when young, reaching 2.5 metres when 2 years old[
Fruit - raw[
]. A brown-yellow fruit with 1 or 2 large seeds covered in a thin, translucent, sweet and sour flavoured edible pulp[
]. Very tasty[
]. The fruit is about 3cm long and 2.5cm in diameter[
]. The fruit is borne in clusters of 10 - 20 fruits[
The roots are antidote. A decoction, taken internally and also applied topically, is used in the treatment of poisonous animals[
]. Combined with the fruit of annatto (Bixa orellana) and the fruit peel of assai (Euterpe spp.), it is used in the treatment of jaundice[
The heartwood is a light yellowish-brown; it is nor clearly demarcated from the sapwood. The texture is medium; the grain is interlocked; lustre is tenuous, there is no distinctive taste or aroma. The wood is very heavy, hard; it is somewhat durable, especially if kept dry, with some resistance to insect attack but a low resistance to rot. It is used for internal work in buildings, such as ceilings, floor boards and door frames, and also for boxes, carpentry etc[
Seed - the whole fruit can be sown if done so as soon as it is ripe. If being stored for a short while then it is better to extract the seed from the pulp[
]. The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe. Sow in individual containers and keep in light shade - do not allow the compost to become dry[
]. Most seeds germinate in 15 - 30 days[
]. Growth is moderate, taking 6 - 7 months before the plant is ready to be planted into its permanent position[
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