From Palm Beach County Extension Service, University of Florida,
by Gene Joyner, retired agent




The Pitomba
Eugenia luschnathiana


The Pitomba (Eugenia luschnathiana) is a member of the Myrtaceae family and comes from Brazil where many other delicious tropical fruits of that family occur such as grumichama, cherry of the Rio Grande, Surinam cherry and many others.

Habit of growth is an upright spreading evergreen tree with the width of about 15 feet and a height of about 20 feet at maturity. Leaves are dark green above, lighter green underneath and the trunk is a beautiful light brown and tan. Snowy white yellow flowers up to an inch and a half across are borne during the spring months and the fruit ripens about a month to six weeks later. Flower season is usually April through June and the fruit season is May through July. Occasionally there is a light fall crop.

Fruits average about 1 inch to an inch and a half across and are dark golden orange at maturity with a large white single seed. Flesh quality is soft melting with a flavor that reminds many people of apricot. It is generally consumed as a fresh fruit, but makes excellent jams, jellies or fruit leathers.

Trees grow readily over a wide variety of soils, but have less micronutrient problems under acidic conditions. If grown close to the coast usually they have excellent salt tolerance if in good condition nutritionally. Trees prefer sun for optimum fruiting, but will tolerate partial shade.

Pitombas are easily propagated by seeds, but superior varieties that have larger or better quality fruit can be veneer-grafted. There are no named varieties of pitomba available currently, but people do select from larger or more heavier bearing varieties and propagate those by grafting. Seeds are used by most nurserymen for propagation and seedlings take two or more years to begin fruiting.

Rate of growth on most of these is about two feet or more a year, and they make excellent hedges where sufficient plants can be bought or accumulated. For people with limited growing space, pitombas make excellent container specimens and can grown and fruit quite well in seven-to-ten-gallon-sized containers.There are few, if any, pest problems. Mature fruit are attacked by caribbean fruit fly. Mature trees are quite cold hardy and take down to about 27°F without injury. Young plants will get injured at about 30°F.



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Bibliography

Joyner, Gene. "The Pitomba." ifas.ufl.edu. Palm Beach County Extension Service. (Retired).  N.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2015.

Published 6 Mar. 2015 LR
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