From the Archives
of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
by Graham Lomax
Scientific name: Eugenia luschnathiana
Out of all the Eugenias, and Syzgiums I have in my garden, one stands out in the crowd. This is the Pitomba (Eugenia luschnathiana), a fruit tree native to Bahia, Brazil.
reputed to be one of the slowest growing fruit trees in the world, it
makes up for this in the early fruiting age. My tree fruited 20 months
from seed, and although only 2 fruit set, the results are encouraging.
Pitomba is slow-growing, 6" to 8" per year, and would make the average
gardener a little impatient, but my advice is, bear with it. The tree
is bushy in habit, and attains a height of 15' to 20' with 2" to 3"
long, bright, glossy leaves on the top, and pale, downy, green
underneath, lanceolate in shape. Flowers are typically Eugenia
e. g. Grumichama, Brazilian Cherry, Water Cherry, Cherry of the Rio
Grande etc. The fruit is green in colour when young, ripening to an
orange-yellow, in about 6 weeks. The colour change takes 2 days, and in
that time the fruit seems to double in size. The ripened fruit is very
soft and juicy and contains 2 seeds, round on top and flat on the
bottom. The fruit 1" to 1½" looks like an apricot and tastes
very much like an apricot.
Pests of the Pitomba are mealy bugs
which in turn bring in the sooty mould, and, I would guess, fruit fly,
birds, and fruit bats, although as yet I have no evidence of this.
In summary I would encourage other fruit enthusiasts to try the Pitomba, as in my book it is a winner.