Spondias tuberosa, Spondias cirouella, Imbuzeiro

Spondias tuberosa, Spondias cirouella

Family: Anacardiaceae
Origin: Brazil
Small tree 10-20 ftFull sunDry conditionsModerate waterWhite, off-white flowersEdible plant

Spondias tuberosa (Imbuzeiro) is a small tree that grows best in full sun, requires moderate water in the growing season and becomes fairly drought tolerant in dry climates. It prefers USDA climate zone from 9-11 and can reach up to 10-20 ft in height. It produces beautiful white and off-white flowers and edible fruit. The plant has a shallow system of soft, tuberous roots called cunca, which store water.

The fruit has a greenish-yellow tough skin and tender, melting pulp and sweet flavor when ripe. Its single stone is adherent to the fruit. The roots and the fruit of Spondias tuberosa are edible and have many health benefits. For example, the juice of the fruit is often blended with boiled milk and sugar or used to make ice cream or jelly and it is also used as a tonic due to its high vitamin C content. The roots can be consumed in emergency as they readily yield potable water and can help you stay hydrated.

Growing in pots in cold regions is possible, however, they do require a sheltered position and protection from strong winter winds, so prior to the cold season make sure you mulch your potted plant and move it away from frost pockets. If you are growing it indoors, make sure to provide it with adequate light, regular water and fertilizing. Also, it is important to note that good drainage is necessary to keep the soil from becoming saturated.

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