The tree is erect, to 80 ft (25 m) high, with pyramidal crown and copious yellow latex in the bark. The leaves are deciduous, opposite, oblong or elliptic, to 6 in (15 cm) long, dark-green and glossy above; leathery, with wavy margins. Borne singly or in 3's, the flowers are 2 3/4 in (7 cm) long, rose-colored, 5-petalled, with many stamens. The fruit is nearly round or ovoid, 3 to 5 in (7.5-12.5 cm) wide, weighing up to 32 oz (900 g); yellow when ripe. The rind is yellow, hard, fleshy on the inside, 3/8 to 3/4 in (1-2 cm) thick, and contains gummy, yellow, resinous latex. The white, pithy pulp, of pleasant odor and agreeable, subacid flavor, contains 1 to 4, rarely 5, oblong, angular seeds, dark-brown and 2 to 2 3/8 in (5-6 cm) long. The infertile seed compartments are filled with pulp called 'filho "which is the part preferred.
Origin and Distribution
The bakuri was first reported in European literature in 1614. The tree is common, wild, in the Amazon region of northern Brazil from Maranhao, Goias to Paraguay. It is abundant in the State of Para, especially around Marajo and Salgado. Its native territory extends across the border into Colombia and northeast to the humid forests of Guyana. It is seldom cultivated but when the Indians clear the land for planting or pastures, they always leave this tree standing for the sake of its fruits. In Marajo, it is viewed as a weed because it proliferates from fallen seeds and, if felled, produces abundant suckers from the roots. In the district of Marapanim, there is a hamlet called Bacurteua because of its many bakuri trees.
The bakuri requires a moist, lowland, tropical habitat.
In Brazil, the tree flowers in June and July, after the shedding of the leaves. The first fruits mature in early December and the season extends to the following May, the peak of the crop ripening in February and March.
The pulp is much eaten raw but is mainly used to make sherbet, ice cream, marmalade or jelly.
|Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*|
|Vitamin B,||0.04 mg|
|Vitamin B,||0.04 mg|
|Ascorbic Acid||33.0 mg|
|Amino Acids (mg per g of nitrogen [N = 6.25])|
*Analyses made in Brazil.
The sapwood is yellowish-white; the heartwood dull-yellow to orange-brown with many fine, dark, often black streaks. It is hard but easy to work and fairly durable. It is valued for construction, furniture, flooring, ship-building and general carpentry.
Medicinal Uses: The latex derived from the bark is used in veterinary practice in Guyana. The seeds contain 6 to 11% of an oil that is mixed with sweet almond oil and used to treat eczema and herpes.