Index | Search | Home | Morton

Morton, J. 1987. Bakupari. p. 309–310. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.


Rheedia brasiliensis Planch. & Triana

Of the approximately 45 species of Rheedia (family Guttiferae), several have edible fruits. Perhaps the best-known is the bakupari, R. brasiliensis Planch. & Triana, which is also known as bacupary or bacoropary in Brazil; as guapomo in Bolivia.

The very attractive tree is pyramidal like that of the bakuri but smaller; is equally rich in yellow latex. The leaves are short-petioled, ovate, oblong-ovate or lanceolate, narrowed at the base, blunt or slightly pointed at the apex, and leathery. The flowers, profuse in axillary clusters, are polygamous. The fruit, ovate, pointed at the apex, may be 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 in (3.2-4 cm) long, with orange-yellow, pliable, leathery, tough skin, 1/8 in (3 mm) thick and easily removed. The aril-like pulp is white, translucent, soft, subacid, of excellent flavor, and encloses 2 rounded seeds.

The tree grows wild in the state of Rio de Janeiro in southeastern Brazil and adjacent Paraguay; is rarely cultivated. It blooms in December and matures its fruit in January and February. The ripe fruit is mostly used in making sweetmeats or jam.

The seeds contain 8 to 9% oil (by weight) which is used in Brazil in poultices on wounds, whitlows, tumors and, externally, over an enlarged liver. An infusion of the pulp has a narcotic action with an effect like that of nicotine. The root bark extract contains rheediaxanthone and a polyprenylated benzophenone, other lesser constituents, and 3 new prenylated xanthones.

Peeled mangosteens, in light sirup, canned in Thailand.
Fig. 83-b: Peeled mangosteens, in light sirup, canned in Thailand, are appearing in Asiatic food outlets in the United States.1According to the Wall Street Journal, April 7, 1987, fresh fruits, cut open, inspected, sealed with tape, and quick-frozen, are exported from Malaysia to Japan where they sell readily at nearly $4 each. They are defrosted in boiling water for 2 minutes before eating.

Related Species

The mameyito, R. edulis Triana & Planch. (syn. Calophyllum edule Seem.), is also known as arrayan and palo de frutilla in Guatemala; waiki plum in Belize; chaparrón in El Salvador; caimito or caimito de montaña in Honduras; jorco in Costa Rica; sastra in Panama; berba in the Philippines.

The elegant, erect tree, ranging up to 100 ft (30 m), has copious gummy, yellow latex and opposite, short-petioled, thick, leathery, elliptic-oblong or elliptic-lanceolate leaves, 3 3/16 to 6 in (8-15 cm) long, 3/4 to 2 in (2-5 cm) wide, or much larger, with numerous lateral veins conspicuous on both surfaces; dark-green above, pale or brownish on the underside. Young foliage is reddish. The small, greenish-white or ivory flowers, densely clustered below the leaves, are 4-petalled, the male with 25 to 30 stamens, the perfect with 10 to 12. The fruit is oval or oblong, 3/4 to 1 1/4 in (2-3.2 cm) long, smooth, orange or yellow, the thin, soft skin easily peeled. There is a little flesh, sweet or acid, adhering to the 1 or 2 seeds.

The tree is native and common in humid forests on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides of Central America, from southern Mexico to Panama, up to an elevation of 4,000 ft (1,200 m). It is often planted in Central America as a shade or ornamental tree. It has been grown in the Philippines, Puerto Rico and California. The fruits mature from late January to March in Costa Rica.

The heartwood is rose-yellow, hard, medium-heavy, coarse-textured, with numerous gum ducts, but tough, strong, easy to work, fairly durable, and valued for construction because it is nearly immune to insects. It is also used for tool handles, fenceposts, and temporary railroad ties. The bark is rich in tannin.

The bacuripari, R. macrophylla Planch. & Triana, is also called bacury-pary in Brazil; charichuela in Peru.

It is a pyramidal tree, 26 to 40 ft (8-12 m) tall, with stiff, leathery, lanceolate-oblong or broad-lanceolate leaves, 12 to 18 in (30-45 cm) long and 3 to 7 in (8-18 cm) wide, pointed at both ends, with numerous lateral, nearly horizontal veins. New foliage is maroon. The 4-petalled, male and female flowers are home in small axillary clusters on separate trees, the male on delicate stalks to 1 1/2 in (4 cm) long and having numerous stamens, the female on thick, short stalks and sometimes having a few stamens with sterile anthers.

The fruit is rounded-conical, pointed at one or both ends, about 3 3/16 in (8 cm) wide, with thick yellow rind, usually smooth, sometimes rough, containing gummy yellow latex. The white, aril-like pulp, agreeably subacid, encloses 3 to 4 oblong seeds.

The tree is native to humid forests of Surinam and Brazil to northern Peru. The fruit is not much esteemed but widely eaten and sold in native markets. The bacuripari was introduced into Florida in 1962 and planted at the Agricultural Research and Education Center in Homestead, at Fairchild Tropical Garden and in several private gardens. One tree fruited in 1970, another in 1972, and the latter has continued to bear. Young specimens have been killed by drops in temperature to 29º to 30º F (-1.67º--1.11º C). Older trees have been little harmed by 27º to 28º F (-2.78º--2.22º C). The tree is accustomed to light-to moderate-shade. Seeds have remained viable for 2 to 3 weeks but require several weeks to germinate.

In Brazil, the tree blooms from August to November and the fruits mature from December to May. In Florida, flowers appear in April and May and a second time in August and September, and the fruits are in season from May to August and again in October and November. Some 15-to 20-year-old trees have produced 100 to 200 fruits when there have been no adverse weather conditions.

The madroño, R. madruno Planch. & Triana, may be called machari or fruta de mono in Panama; cerillo in Costa Rica; cozoiba in Venezuela; kamururu in Bolivia.

The tree is erect, lush, compact, with pyramidal or nearly round crown, 20 to 65 ft (6-20 in) high, and has much gummy yellow latex. The opposite leaves are elliptic to oblong, wedge-shaped at the base, rounded or pointed at the apex, 2 3/8 to 8 in (6-20 cm) long, 3/4 to 3 in (2-7.5 cm) wide; dark green above, paler beneath, with numerous veins conspicuous on both surfaces and merging into a thick marginal vein. The fragrant male and female flowers are borne on separate trees in clusters of up to 14 in the leaf axils; have 4 reflexed, pale-yellow petals; the male, 25 to 30 light-yellow stamens. The fruit is round or ellipsoidal, sometimes with a prominent nipple at each end; 2 to 3 in (5-7.5 cm) long, with thick, leathery, warty, greenish-yellow rind containing a deep-yellow, resinous latex. The white, translucent, juicy, sweet-acid, aromatic pulp adheres tightly to the 1 to 3 ovate or oblong seeds which are about 3/4 in (2 cm) long.

The tree is native to the Golfo Dulce region of Costa Rica, the Atlantic slope of Panama, and northern South America–Colombia and Ecuador through Venezuela to Guyana and Bolivia. It is particularly common in the Cauca Valley of Colombia where the fruits are marketed in quantity. It is limited to elevations below 4,000 ft (1,200 in). Dr. Wilson Popenoe collected seeds for the United States Department of Agriculture near Palmira, Colombia, in 1921 (S.P.I. #52301). The tree was introduced into Puerto Rico in 1923 and into the Philippines at about the same time. A few old trees have been fruiting more or less in southern Florida for many years, in midsummer. In Costa Rica, flowers are borne from December to February and fruits from May to August.

The yellow latex of the tree is used in Panama to treat ulcers and other sores. The wood is pinkish and hard but not commonly used.

Fig. 83-b: Peeled mangosteens, in light sirup, canned in Thailand, are appearing in Asiatic food outlets in the United States.1 According to the Wall Street Journal, April 7, 1987, fresh fruits, cut open, inspected, sealed with tape, and quick-frozen, are exported from Malaysia to Japan where they sell readily at nearly $4 each. They are defrosted in boiling water for 2 minutes before eating.