The cupuacu fruit plant (Theobroma grandiflorum) is also known as Brazilian cocoa, cupuassu, or large-flowered cocoa. Derived from the Malvaceae family which is the cotton tribe. A close relative of the cacao tree, they are categorized in the same genus and have a lot in common with each other.
Cupuacu (pronounced koo-poo-ah-soo) is a delicious melon-sized fruit with creamy white pulp that grows in the drainage basin of the Amazon in northern parts of Brazil. Cupuacu is known in the Amazon as “the pharmacy in a fruit” and could be considered one of the most nutritionally beneficial superfruits ever introduced to the outside world. As a cousin of the cacao fruit, cupuacu has a prized tropical flavor combining elements of chocolate, bananas, pear, passion fruit and pineapple.
Cupuacu has several scientific name synonyms, including Bubroma grandiflorum Willd. ex Spreng., Guazuma grandiflora (Willd. ex Spreng.) G. Don, T. macrantha Bernoulli, T. silvestre Spruce ex K. Schum.
In its place of origin, Brazil, cupuacu plants are often attacked by Escoba de Bruja, a fungus that can kill trees and damage fruit.
Morphology and General Characteristics
The cupuacu tree can grow up to 15 meters high with a trunk up to 30 cm in diameter. This plant has a strong taproot up to 2 meters long, and can even reach 6 m in length. The leaves can be up to 50 cm long and up to 13 cm wide, dark green above and gray-green below and prominently veined.
While the flowers are reddish with thick triangular petals. The flowers are hermaphrodites, or in one flower there are male and female sex organs (stamens and pistils). Cupuacu is reported to have the largest flowers and fruit in its genus.
Cupuacu fruit is similar in size and shape to sapodilla mamey fruit (Pouteria sapote). The outer surface of the fruit is covered with short hairs which are easily removed. Cupuacu fruit is covered by an outer layer like a hard shell, therefore it takes more effort to open this fruit. Inside this fruit there is a collection of seeds covered by soft, white, slippery and fibrous flesh.
Habitat and Distribution of Cupuacu Fruit
Cupuacu trees usually grow in rain forests, river banks, plantations and yards. Native to southern Amazonia, southeastern Brazil and also from the states of Para and Maranhao. Currently cupuacu trees have been widely cultivated in many places, including Trinidad, Tobago, Ecuador, Guyana, Colombia, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Colombia, Martinique, and Ghana.
Fruitful Sweet and Useful
According to various sources, cupuacu fruit has a very delicious taste and can be used to make juice, ice cream, yogurt, sorbets, preserves, sweets, jams, jellies, puddings and other desserts. The seeds are high in fat and can be used to produce chocolate and chocolate-like foodstuffs.
In addition, cupuacu fruit flesh contains vitamins B1, B2, C, high pectin, and has a low pH. This makes it a good candidate to replace additional ingredients in the manufacture of pastries. In addition, the skin contains iron, potassium, manganese and zinc.
In addition, the wood also has a strong structure and can be used in the manufacture of cabinets and the texture of building wall coverings.
Theobroma grandiflorum also known as cupuaçu is a tropical rainforest tree related to cacao. Commonly throughout the Amazon basin, it is cultivated in the jungles of Colombia, Bolivia and Peru and in northern Brazil, with the greatest production in Pará. The cupuaçu pulp, consumed throughout Central and South America, is the fruit of the state of Pará, and is used to make ice cream, snack bars, and other products.
Cupuaçu trees are typically 5–15 m (16–49 ft) tall, although some trees can reach 20 m (66 ft). They have brown skin, and the leaves are 25–35 cm (9.8–13.8 in) long and 6–10 cm (2.4–3.9 in) long, with 9 or 10 pairs of veins. As they mature, the leaves change from pink to green, and eventually they begin to bear fruit.