Bacuri and Bacuripari

GUTTIFERAE--This is a large family (1350 species) that contains many fine-flavored fruit crops. Popenoe (1920) went so far as to proclaim one member of this family, the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana L.), as perhaps the finest flavored of all of the fruit in the world. Other species in the family from South America also possess a superior flavor and may actually have greater potential for further commercialization than the mangosteen due to superiority in adaptation to diverse climates.

Platonia esculenta (Arruda) Rickett and Stafleu. Bacurí. The bacurí is native to northern South America and is now grown extensively throughoutthe Amazonian lowlands. The tree can attain a height of 25 m underoptimal conditions. Fruit production is reported to be quite heavy incomparison to other Guttiferae (Cavalcante 1974), although specificyield records are not available. The fruit are yellow, with a leatheryshell enclosing a creamy white flesh, which is usually divided into 6 sections (similar to mangosteen). The flavor is excellent, being sweet and aromatic and highly appreciated. Care must be taken when eating the fruit because the leathery shell contains a yellow latex that is quite bitter. The fruit range from 300 to 900 g and are 10 to 12 cm in diameter (Donadio 1983). There can be up to 6 seeds per fruit, weighing about 20 to 40 g each. Often the seeds abort, and edible flesh fills the space which would otherwise be occupied by the normal-sized seed. In contrast to mangosteen, the tree is tolerant of many different environmental conditions, including poor drainage (Martin et al. 1987). Trees are quite sensitive to temperatures below 0°C and to desiccating winds. Propagation is usually by seed, but bacurí is graft compatible with other Garcinia and Rheedia species. ----------------------------------

Rheedia macrophylla Planch. et Triana. Bacuripari. The bacuripari is native to the Amazonian lowlands, where it grows as an understory tree. The tree can grow to 9 m, forming an attractive, pyramidal canopy (Campbell 1983). Trees are propagated by seed and may require 7 to 10 years to come into production. Fruit are variable in shape, averaging 4 to 5 cm in diameter and 5 to 6 cm in length. The fruit have a thick, hard outer wall containing a bitter latex, as in bacurí. Inside the hard shell is a white, creamy flesh surrounding 3 to 4 large seeds. The flesh is scanty in comparison to mangosteen or bacurí. The bacuripari is outstanding because it grows and produces a significant crop in shaded conditions (Campbell 1983). The trees are also tolerant of full sun and wind exposure, making them more adaptable to varied climates than the mangosteen. There is considerable variation in fruit quality among bacuripari from different regions of South America, and there may be different species involved.
Wherever bacurí, bacuripari or other Rheedia sp. are grown, the flavor is considered excellent. Although not superior to mangosteen in terms of flavor or edible flesh percentage, these other species have better adaptation to varied climatic and edaphic conditions, allowing for their production in many regions. The latex in both of these fruit can be a major obstacle to commercialization, because those unfamiliar with the consumption of these fruit are likely to ingest it, leading to an unpleasant taste experience. Silva (1991) reports that bacurí fruit can be stored a few days after harvest to reduce the amount of latex in the fruit. There has been little selection for superior clones among either bacurí or bacuripari, although there is considerable variation present among seedling trees. --------------------------------------
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