|Branchlet with leaves, flowers and fruit of Pouteria lucuma: Fruit cut in half shown on top left of image|
(Ruiz & Pav.) Kuntze
This evergreen tree is up to 20 m tall, and has greyish-brown, fissured bark, which produces a milky white exudate. The end of branchlets and the petioles are covered with short, brown hairs. The leaves are simple, oblanceolate to elliptical, up to 25 cm long and 10 cm wide, and glabrous (or sometimes slightly hairy on the underside) grouped at the end of the branches. Flowers are solitary or in fascicles, small, axillary, with hairy sepals and a corolla forming a tube 1.0-1.8 cm long, greenish white, with five lobes, five stamens, five staminodes, a pubescent ovary, and a style 0.8-1.5 cm long. The fruit is globose, 6–12 cm long, glabrous, and russet to yellow when mature; the pulp is bright yellow; the one to several seeds are 1.8-3.5 cm long, dark brown, and glossy.
Representations of lúcuma have been found on ceramics at burial sites of the indigenous people of coastal Peru. The Moche people had a fascination with agriculture and often chose to represent fruits and vegetables, including lúcuma, in their art.
Distribution and habitat
In addition to Peru, the fruit is grown also to a limited extent in Bolivia, Chile and Costa Rica. Attempts at growing lúcuma in Florida's climate are typically not successful. The fruit is successfully grown in Vietnam, where it is known as lêkima.
In Peru, harvesting season is from October to March and in Chile from June to November.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||414.5 kJ (99.1 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||1.3 %|
|Water||64.8 - 72.3 %|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
When eaten raw, the very sweet fruit is bright yellow and has a mealy and dry texture. In Peru, it is more commonly used as a flavor in juice, milk shakes, and especially ice cream. Its unique flavor in such preparations has been described variously as being similar to sweet potato, maple syrup, or butterscotch. In Peru, manjar de lúcuma (dulce de leche with lúcuma purée) is a dessert.
Lúcuma pulp has a 64-72% moisture content. The pulp also contains glucose, fructose, sucrose, inositol, citric acid, and succinic acid. However, only limited nutritional information is available for lúcuma powder, indicating moderate content of protein and iron, each providing 14% of the Daily Value in a 100-g (3.5 oz) serving, which supplies 420 Calories.
- "CAPÍTULO I: LA LÚCUMA (in Spanish)" (PDF). University of Piura, Peru.
- Morton JF (1987). "Lucmo". Purdue University, republished from p. 405–406. In: Fruits of Warm Climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.
- Janick, Jules; Paull, Robert E. (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts. CABI. p. 837. ISBN 9780851996387.
- Pennington, T. D. (1990). Flora Neotropica Monograph Sapotaceae. New York Botanical Garden. pp. 383–385. ISBN 9780893273446.
- Duarte, Odilo; Paull, Robert (2015). Exotic Fruits and Nuts of the New World. CABI. pp. 117–123. ISBN 9781780645056.
- Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. The Spirit of Ancient Peru:Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997.
- Lesser-known and under-utilised plant resources Ameenah Gurib-Fakim - 2005 - Page 59
- "Lucuma powder per 100 g". Conde Nast, USDA National Nutrient Database, version SR-21. 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2015.