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