BACURI
(Platonia insignis)

 

 

A tree of bacuri

 

Family:  Clusiaceae

Synonyms: Symphonia esculenta

Other names: Bakuri, landirana

 

Bacuri is one of the most popular fruits in Amazonian region.  It grows wild in a very large geographical region, from the Guianas, through the entire Amazon basin as far as Colombia in the northwest and Paraguay in the southwest. 

            The fruits are mostly collected from the wild.  But it is also cultivated in certain areas. There may not regular orchards of this fruit, but people in villages grow or protect a wild growing tree in their farmlands for gathering fruits during the season.

            Bacuri fruits are also sold on road sides or local village fruit markets.

            A very special feature of bacuri tree is that its flowers are not pollinated by bees but by white bellied parrot.  It is probably the only tree whose flowers are pollinated by birds.

Description:

An erect, evergreen tree with a narrow, pyramidal crown and copious yellow latex in the bark, up to 25 m tall with a straight, cylindrical unbuttressed bole.

An erect tree, to 25 m high, with pyramidal crown and copious yellow latex in the bark.

 

Fruits of bacuri

 

            Leaves deciduous, opposite, oblong or elliptic, to 15 cm long, dark-green and glossy above, leathery, with wavy margins.

Flowers borne singly or in 3's, the flowers 7 cm, long, rose-colored, 5-petalled, with many stamens.

Fruit nearly round or ovoid, 7.5 to 12.5 cm wide, weighing up to 900 g; yellow when ripe; rind yellow, hard, fleshy on the inside, 1-2 cm thick, and contains gummy, yellow, resinous latex; pulp white, pithy, of pleasant odour and agreeable, subacid flavour.

 

Resin obtained from bacuri tree

 

            Seeds 1 to 4, rarely 5, oblong, angular, dark-brown, 5-6 cm long; the infertile seed compartments are filled with pulp called 'filho "which is the part preferred.

Utilization:

Most bacuri fruits are eaten fresh but a significant portion, especially which is collected near big towns, is also processed to make ice creams, jams and jellies.  At times sherbet is also made from pulp. 

 

Bacuri seeds

 

            A non-drying oil, known as 'bacuri oil', is obtained from the seed. It is used for the manufacture of candles and soap. A fibre obtained from the bark is used for cordage. A black, viscous resin obtained from the bark is used for caulking boats.

Cultivation:

New trees are mostly raised from seed.  The seed, however, has a very short viability and must be sown soon after extraction.  If all has gone well, the seeds start germinating in 20-40 days and the germination percentage is usually high.

 

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