Botanical Name: Melicoccus bijugatus
Species: M. bijugatus
Synonyms: Melicoccus bijuga L. Melicoccus carpopodea Juss. Paullinia sphaerocarpa Rich. ex Juss.
Common Names: Spanish lime, genip, guinep, genipe, ginepa, kenèp, quenepa, quenepe, quenette, chenet, talpa jocote, mamón, limoncillo, skinip, kinnip, huaya, or mamoncillo.
It is known by many names around the growth region: mamoncillo or mamón (in Cuba, some parts of El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Colombia, Nicaragua, Panama, and Venezuela), chenette (in Trinidad and Tobago), quenette (in the French speaking islands of the Caribbean including; Guadeloupe, Marie-Galante and Martinique), gnep or ginep (in the United States Virgin Islands, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Antigua and Barbuda), guaya, quenepa (in Mexico and Puerto Rico), skinnip (in St. Kitts), skinup in (Grenada), kenip (in Dominica), canepa, genip, guinep, ginepa, ginnip, kinnip, kenèp (in Guyana, Haiti, Belize, Bahamas, Anguilla, Jamaica, Sint Maarten / Saint Martin, Sint Eustatius, Saba) and in some parts of Central America talpa jocote (in some parts of Guatemala and El Salvador), genepa, xenepa, kenepa (in Curaçao and Aruba), knippa (in Suriname) and Spanish lime (in the United States), and limoncillo (in the Dominican Republic). Also, it is often referred to as anoncillo in central Cuba and southern Florida. It is called “ackee” in the countries of Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, however, in the rest of the Caribbean, the latter name is used to refer to the related Blighia sapida. ((Batanes, Philippines)), Chayi and referred as kosam in chhattisgarh state of India.
Habitat: Melicoccus bijugatus is native to northern South America and naturalised in coastal and dry forest in Central America, the Caribbean and parts of the Old World tropics. It is believed to have been introduced into the Caribbean in pre-Columbian times and is also found in India. This fruit, known as quenepa in Puerto Rico, grows particularly abundantly in the municipality of Ponce, and there is a yearly celebration in that municipality known as Festival Nacional de la Quenepa (National Genip Fruit Festival). The fruit ripens during the warm summer months.
Trees can reach heights of up to 25 m (82 ft) and come with alternate, compound leaves. The leaves have four elliptic leaflets which are 5–12.5 cm (2.0–4.9 in) long and 2.5–5 cm (0.98–1.97 in) wide. They are typically dioecious plants, however polygamous trees occur from time to time. Flowers have four petals and eight stamens and produce void, green drupes which are 2.5–4 cm (0.98–1.57 in) long and 2 cm (0.79 in) wide. Their pulp is orange, salmon or yellowish in color with a somewhat juicy and pasty texture.
The species is also commonly planted along roadsides as an ornamental tree.
- Mamoncillo is full of fiber that helps in lowering the cholesterol levels in the body and prevents constipation.
- It also contains Vitamin A that improves the immune system and prevents from stones getting formed in the urinary system.
- Vitamin C in quenepa acts like an antioxidant, and calcium helps in keeping the bones and teeth strong. The calcium in mamoncillo also helps prevent cancer.
- Phosphorous in this fruit is good for digestion and in regulating hormones.
- Quenepa also contains tryptophan, which is said to be good for your sleep, and lysine that helps in proper growth and also helps prevent herpes.
- It helps lower the blood pressure, and is quite beneficial for people with asthma.
- Since it contains antioxidants, they help in preventing cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and boosts the immune system.
- Being low in fat and cholesterol, it is helpful for those who are trying to lose weight.
- The leaves of mamoncillo tree can be boiled and made into tea that is extremely good for intestinal problems.
- Quenepa seeds when roasted, crushed, and mixed with honey helps in controlling diarrhea.
- The leaves of the tree can be scattered in the house to keep away the fleas.
Make sure that the Mamoncillo fruits you have is ripe, as the raw ones may contain some toxins. There’s a potential hazard of choking in small children because of the large seeds. The large seeds can be cooked and eaten. The roasted seeds are also used as a substitute for cassava flour in baking in South America. So, these were some benefits of the sweet and delicious Mamoncillo fruit.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.