Theobroma balaensis (P.Preuss) De Wild.
Seed capsule cut open to reveal the seeds
Photograph by: A. Gentry
Herrania balaensis is an evergreen tree growing up to 7.5 metres tall. The very straight, erect, cylindrical bole can be 15cm in diameter and is usually unbranched[
The edible fruit is gathered from the wild for local consumption. It might be actively cultivated by the local people[
Known only from six populations in wet coastal forest, its habitat is fragmented due to colonization, mining, and deforestation[
]. The tree is classified as 'Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2010)[
Western S. America - Colombia, Ecuador.
Wet coastal forests at elevations up to 500 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Fruit - raw. The sweet white pulp surrounding the seeds is eaten[
]. This white, acidulous pulp is eaten raw and is most delicious just before the complete ripening of the fruit[
]. The ovoid fruit is about 14cm long[
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[
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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