Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fruits From The Trunk

The Jabuticaba, otherwise known as the Brazilian Grape Tree, is a plant native to South America, including Paraguay, Argentina but mostly Brazil. The grape-like juicy fruit it bares can be plucked and eaten from the tree's trunk. It is often used as an ingredient in jellies or cold drinks. After three days off the tree the fruit begins fermenting, so it's also turned into wine or strong liquor.

The flowers appear twice every year and emerge directly from the trunk and branches. Instead of growing shoots these trees flower directly from the trunk. The fruit that is eventually produced is four to five centimeters in diameter and stores up to four seeds. There have been medical reports suggesting some potential benefits from the fruit. The skin can be dried out and used to treat asthma and diarrhea. It has also been show to alleviate inflammation from swelled regions. Furthermore some potent antioxidant anti-cancer compounds have been isolated from the fruit (PubMed).

The tree likely evolved to fruit from the trunk so that animals that could not climb very high could still reach the fruit, spread the seeds and propagate the species. This theory fits with the tree's name, which is derived from the Tupi word Jabuti (tortoise) and Caba (place), suggesting they were the place where you one could find tortoises feeding. (Images: Filipe Setlik)

1 comment:

HBG said...

i wanna try Jabuticaba juice!