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Hedonisia Hawaii Botanical Plant Inventory

Brazilian Plum

Plant History & General Information:

Commonly known as Imbu, Umbu, or Brazilian Plum. The round fruit is light yellow to red in color, around 2–4 cm in size, and has a leathery shell. The flesh is soft and juicy, with a sweet taste and distinct aroma.  The fruit comes from a small tree, seldom higher than 6 m, with an expansive crown of up to 10 m in diameter. The fruit of the imbu are round and can be of varying size: they can be as small as cherries or as large as lemons. The peel is smooth and green or yellow when the fruit ripen, the small firm fruits are juicy and flavorful and their succulent flesh hides a large dark pit.

  • Location on Property:  Garden P
  • Scientific Name: Spondias tuberosa
  • Region of Origin:  Northeast Brazil
  • Type: Useful, edible
  • General History:  The name of this tree and fruit comes from the indigenous phrase y-mb-u, which means tree that gives drink. The productive cycle of this wild, spontaneously growing tree begins after ten years of growth. It bears fruit once a year and can produce up to 300 kilos of fruit in a single harvest when it reaches maturity.

2) Plant Uses: 

  • As Food:  This tree is an important resource for one of the poorest and driest regions of Brazil, where local agriculture is based on corn, beans, sheep, and goat.  The fruit of the imbu tree is collected by hand gently, as it is easily damaged and during picking the fruits are set in baskets and bags (in the past these fruits were also collected by beating the branches with long poles, to the detriment of their flavor).  The imbu can be eaten fresh or made into jams or other sweetened preserves like fruit cheese.  Another delicacy is the compôte made by mixing the fruit and sugar together in jars. The fresh pulp, or if the fresh fruit is not in season, the vinagre is mixed with milk and sugar to make umbuzada, a rich beverage that is a common substitute for a full meal.

3) Growing Instructions

  • Growing:  The seedlings have a long juvenile phase and come into bearing in 8-10 years.
  • Best time to Harvest:
  • Sunlight Requirements:  full sun
  • Soil Requirements:
  • Propagation:  by seeds or cuttings
  • Difficulties with this plant:

History of this Plant at Hedonisia: /


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