AMAZON TREE GRAPE
(Pourouma cecropiifolia)
 

 

A tree of Amazon tree grape

 

 

Family: Moraceae

Synonym: Pourouma multifida

Other names: Uvilla,

Amazon grape is a native of South America. It grows in the western Amazon Basin in northern Bolivia, Western Brazil, Southeastern Colombia, Eastern Ecuador, Eastern Peru, and Southern Venezuela. It mostly grows wild but trees are also planted by people in home gardens.  It is known by various names in these areas.
 

Foliage and fruits of Amazon tree grape
 

            The fruits are sweet and popularly eaten by local people.  They taste like grapes except for the wintergreen smell.

 Description:

A medium-sized evergreen tree, usually 5-12 m tall, sometimes can be upto 20 m; with terminal bud protected by deciduous stipules, barkgray marked with leaf scars.

Unripe fruits of Amazon tree grape
 

        Leaves palmately compound, coriaceous, dorsal surface glabrous, ventral surface white and pubescent,  leaflets 9, 13-60 cm long, 10 cm broad, petiole 10-50 cm long.

        Flowers white, produced 20 or more together in a 10 cm long inflorescence; dioecious.

        Fruits globose to ovoid, 1-2 cm long, purple when ripe; skin rough, inedible but easily peelable, pulp succulent, white, mucilaginous, sweet, subacid, and tasty.

        The ripe fruits have a taste like grapes except for their wintergreen smell. The skin is rough, inedible but easily peeled

Utilization:

The fruits are edible and are eaten fresh.  These are sweet and greatly appreciated. The fruits are also made into a jam.  Some peoplew also make a wine from Amazon grapes.
 

Bunches of ripe Amazon tree grape
 

            The pulp is white, mucilaginous, and juicy; of subacid, very mild flavour; and encloses 1 conical seed with fibrous, grooved coat.

             However, fruits of Amazon grape are quite fragile and have a short shelf life too.  This is the reason that its cultivation has not been able to pick up in spite of being a good and a popular fruit too.

            The wood is light, coarse and non-durable. It is used only for making charcoal.

Cultivation:

Amazon grape is planted in home gardens.  It is a quite hardy tree, grows fast and can flourish even in poor and dry lands.  It is, however, sensitive to water logging.

             New plants are raised from seed which do not stay viable for long.  Freshly extracted seeds can give 80-90 per cent germination. Cuttings do not root easily.

             The seedlings grow fast. They come into bearing in 2-3 years.  It is not possible to know the sex of a tree before it starts flowering.  Usually the farmers do not retain a male tree which is not a good practice and may lead to unfruitfulness if there are no male trees in the vicinity.

              The trees bear twice a year.  A mature tree can yield 50-70 kg fruits.

 

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