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Melicoccus oliviformis


Native to:



Parts of northern and central South America.

Under story tree, well drained soils on slopes. Up to 150 meters above sea level. 10 meter tall tree.

Melicoccus oliviformis

Ecological value:

Wood is prone to attacks of wood-eating organisms. Medium growth
rate. Understory tree. Succeeds in a range of soils. Slow growth rate but long-lived. Associated plant community: Melicoccus bijugatus, Melicoccus bijuga.

Material uses:

The wood is moderately heavy but prone to attack from wood boring insects. It’s primarily used in general construction such as beams and boards, and as fuelwood.

Edible uses:

Fruit can be eaten raw. Sweet-acidulous pulp around a large seed. Used for jellies. Grown as a shade-tree in agroforestry systems. M. Bijugatus is the most widely cultivated species.

Medicinal use:

No records of medicinal uses found.

Other details:

Ornamental. Believed to be one of the ancient Maya fruit trees. Both male and female plants are needed in order to cultivate fruit. Melicoccus is a genus of 10 flowering evergreen plants native to Central and Northern South America.


Maria Gabriela Cano Pinzon/Christine Facella


“Melicoccus Oliviformis - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 14, 2023.
Lorenzi. H., ‘Brazilian Trees. Volume 2. 4th Edition’, Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil, 2002
Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M., ‘Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory’, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 1987
Image source: Daderot.

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