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Fruits & Vegetables

Cupuacu

Botanical Name:Theobroma grandiflorum
Family: Malvaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales
Genus: Theobroma
Species:T. grandiflorum

Common Names: Cupuaçu, also spelled Cupuassu, Cupuazú, Cupu assu, or Copoasu,

Habitat: Cupuacu is a tropical rainforest tree , usually in areas that do not become inundated. The lower tree storey of evergreen rainforests. Common throughout the Amazon basin, it is cultivated in the jungles of Colombia, Bolivia and Peru and in the north of Brazil, with the largest production in Pará.

Description:
Cupuaçu trees usually range from 5–15 m (16–49 ft) in height, though some can reach 20 m (66 ft). They have brown bark, and the leaves range from 25–35 cm (9.8–13.8 in) long and 6–10 cm (2.4–3.9 in) across, with 9 or 10 pairs of veins. As they mature, the leaves change from pink-tinted to green, and eventually they begin bearing fruit.

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Flower:
Flowers of cupuaçu are structurally complex, and require pollination from biotic vectors. The majority of cupuaçu trees are self-incompatible, which can result in decreased pollination levels, and consequently, a decrease in fruit yields. Pollination can also be negatively affected by environmental conditions. Pollinators, which include chrysomelid weevils and stingless bees, are unable to fly between flowers in heavy rains.

Fruit:
The white pulp of the cupuaçu has an odour described as a mix of chocolate and pineapple and is frequently used in desserts, juices and sweets. The juice tastes primarily like pear, banana, passion fruit, and melon.

Cupuaçu is generally harvested from the ground once they have naturally fallen from the tree. It can be difficult to determine peak ripeness because there is no noticeable external color change in the fruit. However studies have shown that in Western Colombian Amazon conditions, fruits generally reach full maturity within 117 days after fruit set. Brazilians either eat it raw or use it in making sweets.

Cultivation:
A plant of the hot, moist, lowland tropics. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 – 30°c, tolerating 16 – 40°c. It requires a mean annual rainfall within the range 2,000 – 8,000mm, evenly distributed throughout the year. Requires a position where shade is provided by taller trees. Prefers a relatively rich, circumneutral soil. Prefers a pH in the range 5 – 6.5, tolerating 4.5 – 8.5. The plant is not drought tolerant, being unable to withstand even short dry seasons without the protection of dense shade and local humidity. Freshly planted young trees usually grow away moderately well. A seedless variety of this species exists.

Edible Uses:
Thje fruit is edible. This pulp can be eaten raw and is said to be delicious. Creamy, with an exotic flavour.The white pulp is uniquely fragrant (described as a mix of chocolate and pineapple), and It is frequently used in desserts, juices and sweets. The juice tastes primarily like a pear, with a hint of banana. Cupuassu is touted as a possible super fruit flavor. Commercial production of cupuassu includes food supplements, pills, drinks, smoothies and sweets. Cupuassu pulp is often used for making juice, ice cream, smoothies, mousse, jellies, chocolates called “cupualte” and liquor. The seeds are used for producing “cupualte”, a product with similar characteristics to chocolate, but which contains nutritional value and is healthier.

It is also used to make fresh juice, ice cream, jam and tarts. The brown fruit is 12 – 25cm long and 10 – 12cm in diameter, with the pulp occupying about a third of the space within. Seed – used as a substitute for chocolate. The seeds have a high amount of fat and give a good cocoa butter. The seeds of species in this genus are generally a rich source of oil (around 50%), starch (around 15%) and protein (around 15%). They also contain a volatile oil and the stimulating alkaloids caffeine and theobromine.

Commercial food products include pulp and powder.

Nutritional Value:
Apart from their taste often compared to chocolate, banana, melon or bubble gum, cupuassu is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 13.6 gram of cupuassu oil offers 13.6 g of Total Fat and 0.08 mg of Vitamin E.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant (part not specified, but it is almost certainly the fruit or the seed is nutritive, stimulant and tonic. The seeds are used in the treatment of abdominal pains. The juiced fruit is drunk to facilitate difficult births. Although no specific reports of medicinal use have been seen for this plant, the seed is a source of cacao powder and butter. These products have the following medicinal uses:- Cacao powder and butter, which are obtained from the seed, are nutritive. The butter is also applied externally as an emollient. Cacao powder is taken internally in the treatment of angina and high blood pressure. Cacao butter is an excellent emollient, being applied to the skin to soothe and soften it. It is used traditionally to treat chapped skin and burns, and is also rubbed into bruises. Research has shown that it can help to counter the bacteria responsible for boils and septicaemia.

Other Uses:
The fruit pulp is also used in cosmetics products such as body lotions, as it is highly hydrating, similarly to cocoa butter. The coco butter oil is solid at room temperature, is obtained from the seed. In addition to being used locally as a food and medicine, cacao butter is important in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. The wood is of medium texture, straight-grained, moderately heavy and with moderate natural durability. It is very little used, but is suitable for cabinet making and internal cladding of buildings.

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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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theobroma_grandiflorum
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Theobroma+grandiflorum
https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/health-benefits-of-cupuacu-fruit/

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