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Amazon Tree Grape

Amazon tree grape, Pourouma cecropiaefolia, is indigenous to the Amazon rainforests of Western Brazil and adjacent areas of Peru and Ecuador, and has been cultivated in this region as well as tropical Bolivia and Colombia for centuries.  It has numerous names in Portuguese and Spanish but is often known as cucura. 

The trees grow from 23 to 50 feet in height.  The leaves are dark olive green and have a scent similar to wintergreen when crushed.  The trees grow on high, dry land, but tolerate periodic flooding.  However, they cannot tolerate prolonged drought.  The wood is coarse and soft and is frequently made into charcoal.

Produced in clusters of 20 or more, the fruit is grapelike except for its wintergreen aroma. Each tree grape is round or ovoid, ranging from 3/8 inch to 1-1/2 inches in size The skin is purple when ripe and is very rough to the touch, inedible but easily peeled. The pulp is white, mucilaginous, juicy, mild flavored and low in acid. Each grape contains one conical seed with a fibrous, grooved coat.  The fruits are very fragile and susceptible to fungus, which is why they are not sold commercially except where grown.  The grapes are eaten fresh and are made into jam and wine.

Patricia Rain
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