Fruits & Vegetables

Jatoba Fruit

Botanical Name: Hymenaea courbaril
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Hymenaea
Species: H. courbaril

*Hymenaea altissima Ducke
*Hymenaea animifera Stokes
*Hymenaea candolleana Kunth
*Hymenaea multiflora Kleinhoonte
*Hymenaea resinifera Salisb.
*Hymenaea retusa Hayne
*Hymenaea splendida Vogel
*Hymenaea stilbocarpa Hayne

Common Names: Jatoba, Courbaril, West Indian locust, Brazilian copal, and Amami-gum

Habitat : Jatoba Fruit is native to S. America – Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas; C. America – Panama to southern Mexico; Caribbean. Found in a wide range of habitats including tropical dry forest, transition to premontane moist forest, and tropical wet forest as well as subtropical moist forest.

Hymenaea courbaril is an evergreen Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 28 m (91ft) In the Amazon even up to 45 meters, with a diameter of up to sixty a slow rate. The flowers are pollinated by Bee, Bats. The plant is not self-fertile. It can fix Nitrogen. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.The fruits are high in the tree, waiting for them to fall. Quick pick up, because Brazilian insects love jatobá.


Grows well in lowland tropical and subtropical areas up to an altitude of 900 metres. It prefers a mean annual temperature in the range 20 – 30°c, with a mean annual rainfall of 1,500 – 3,000mm, which can be evenly distributed through the year or monsoonal. It can tolerate 4 months or more of drought. Young plants can tolerate some shade but require more sun as they grow with mature plants requiring a position in full sun. Tolerates and will grow on all textures of soil from sand to clay but develops best on deep, fertile, moist and well-drained sandy soils. Tolerates poor fertility soils and waterlogging. Established plants are drought tolerant. Succeeds in a pH in the range 4.8 – 6.8. The tree develops best when grown on ridges or slopes and high riverbanks. Young plants usually grow at an angle with a drooping leader for their first 2 – 3 years, before straightening up and developing a straight bole. Trees generally have a moderate rate of growth – in a good site they were up to 11 metres tall after 13 years, though in a poorer site that were only up to 9 metres after 20 years. The plant commences fruiting when 8 – 12 years of age, so long as it is receiving full overhead light. A few to more than 100 pods are produced each year, though only part of a tree produces fruit in any one year. Planting in the open, for shade and ornamental purposes, produces attractive and spreading trees more rapidly. Coppices well and thus maintains itself in frequently cut-over areas; however stumps of large trees do not coppice. There are conflicting reports on whether or not this tree has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, so it is unclear as to whether this tree fixes atmospheric nitrogen.

Seed – freshly sown, still moist seed does not require pre-treatment, but if the seedcoat has dried and hardened then it will require some treatment to help it absorb moisture more rapidly.

Edible Uses:…..…CLICK & SEE
Fruit – raw or cooked. The dry, whitish-yellow pulp around the seed has a sweet flavour and is commonly eaten raw; used in making custards and ice cream; and fermented into an alcoholic beverage. It is eaten like sweets by children in Jamaica. The protein content is high for a fruit. The pulp contains 3.2% sugar, 1.1% fat, and 35.8% crude fibre. It has its own peculiar smell and sweet flavour, slightly reminiscent of bananas, and is generally considered pleasant but not very attractive. The texture is that of dry flour turning to a paste in the mouth, and some people find this unpleasant. It is very dry and largely starchy, so it is a good source of calories. The fruit is an indehiscent oblong pod, 5 – 15cm long and 3-5cm wide, containing 3 – 4 large seeds. A tea made from the bark is a quite popular drink for lumberjacks working in the forests in Brazil, because it is a natural energy tonic

The poop-brown skin of the fruit is rock hard. The intention is to break it carefully. A large nutcracker is fine. Inside a large nut surrounded by bone-dry light yellow powdery pulp. That pulp is for eating. Brazilians think that jatobas stink of sweaty feet. Is in something. It looks more like a mix of old Dutch cheese and French brie. Delicious. It is pure to eat, but with water or beer, because the pulp sticks to the teeth.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark is analgesic, astringent, balsamic, depurative, febrifuge, haemostatic, pectoral, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge. It is commonly used in local folk medicine as a cure-all, being especially useful for coughs. Besides being used to give energy and stamina, a tea made from the bark has been used for centuries as a tonic for the respiratory and urinary systems by the indigenous people of the Amazon Basin. The tea is also used internally to treat stomach problems and back pains, as well as externally for athlete?s foot and foot fungus. It is known for its ability to fight fungus and yeast infections such as Candida albicans. The macerated bark is used as a treatment for diarrhoea. The bark, sap or resin, and leaves are used medicinally for cystitis, hepatitis, prostatitis and cough. The sap is used for treating coughs and bronchitis. The resin and sap exuding from bore-holes in the bark is considered fortifying. It is used for treating chronic cystitis, urine retention, anaemia, prostatitis, blennorrhagia and chronic bronchitis. The resin and sap are used externally for treating fresh wounds. The solid resin found at the base of the tree is balsamic, bechic, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge. The fruit has a mild laxative effect. It is also used to treat mouth ulcers. The leaves and wood are used in the treatment of diabetes

The fruit is majorly used for treating mouth ulcers and diabetes. It also helps in aiding respiratory ailments such as asthma, laryngitis, and bronchitis. Jatoba is considered as a medicine meant for healing hemorrhages, bursitis, bladder infections, arthritis, prostatitis, yeast and fungal infections.

Other Uses:
Large shade tree. Public open space. Xerophytic. Other Uses: The roots and trunk yield a pale yellow or red resin-like gum known commercially as ‘South American copal’. The gum exudes and forms hard lumps that become buried in the soil at the base of a tree. Sometimes as much as a barrel of gum has been found around the roots of a large tree or at the site of a former tree. The gum is used mainly in varnish but also for incense and local medicines. The copal is also used for patent leather and in stains for tin ware. About 35 tonnes/year are collected in Brazil for local use. The thick bark is a good source of tannin. The bark was traditionally used by S. American tribes to make lightweight canoes. The hard, durable, tough wood is one of the best from the region. The heartwood is salmon pink to orange-brown when fresh, becoming russet to reddish-brown when seasoned, often marked with dark streaks; it is clearly demarcated from the 3 – 12cm wide band of white, grey, or pinkish sapwood. Texture is medium to rather coarse; grain mostly interlocked; lustre is golden; it is without distinctive odour or taste. The wood is heavy to very heavy; hard to very hard; elastic; durable, even in contact with the soil, being resistant to fungi, dry wood borers and termites. It seasons normally, with only a slight risk of checking and distortion; once dry it is moderately stable to stable in service. The wood has a fairly high blunting effect, stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide tools are recommended; except in planing, it can be machined to a smooth surface; nailing and screwing are good, but require pre-boring; gluing is correct for interior use only, but needs to be done with care because of the density of the wood. The wood has a wide range of applications, including for high class furniture, cabinet making, construction, heavy duty flooring, ship building, carving, turnery, tool handles etc. The wood is used as a fuel and to make charcoa.

The wood is very hard, measuring 5.6 on the Brinell scale and 2,350 lbf (10,500 N) on the Janka scale, approximate measurements of hardness. For comparison, Douglas fir measures 660 lbf (2,900 N), white oak 1,360 lbf (6,000 N), and Brazilian walnut 3,800 lbf (17,000 N) on the Janka scale. It features a tan to salmon color with black accent stripes that over time turn to a deep and vibrant red.

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.


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