Eugenia stipitata

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Detail of ripe fruit.
© Frutales de la Amazonia

Local names:
English (eugenia), Portuguese (araçá-boi), Spanish (arazá-buey,arazá)

Eugenia stipitata is an ornamental leafy tree or shrub, 3-15 m tall, of densely branched habit, without apical dominance; stem with brown to reddish-brown; bark flaking; young branches covered with short, velvety, brown hairs that are lost with age.

Leaves opposite, simple, without stipule; petiole short, 3 mm long; blade ovate to somewhat broadly elliptic, 8-19 cm long, 3.5-9.5 wide; apex acuminate; base rounded and often subcordate; margins entire; leaves dull, dark green above, with 6-10 pairs of impressed lateral veins; pale green, shortly pilose, with scattered hairs below.

Inflorescence racemose pedicles long; bracteoles linear, 1-2 mm long; calyx lobes rounded, broader than long, overlapping in bud; petals 5, white, obovate, 7-10 mm long, 4 mm wide, ciliate; stamens about 70, 6 mm long; ovary (3 min.) 4 locular, each locule with 5-8 ovules; style 5-8 mm long.

Fruit an oblate or spherical berry, 2-10 x 2-12 cm, weighing 50-750 g, light green at first, turning pale or orange yellow when ripe, soft, with a thin, velvety skin enclosing a juicy, thick pulp that accounts for as much as 60% of the fresh fruit. There are approximately 12 seeds in each fruit.

The genus was named after Francois Eugene, Prince of Savoy (1663-1736), an Austrian general who, with Marlborough, won the Battle of Blenheim and was a distinguished patron of art, science and literature.


E. stipitata is a species of the dense, humid, tropical high forest. It can withstand a drought of up to 2 months.

Native range
Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru

Tree management

The fruits should be harvested once a week because they mature rapidly. At a spacing of 3 x 3 m and with adequate fertilization and rainfall, the 1st fruiting year can yield between 3 and 5 t/ha. The seedling, when planted in the field with manure, grows rapidly, although more in diameter than in height. Well-fertilized seedlings can start to fruit after 18 months in the field. Potassium seems to be an especially important nutrient for E. stipitata.

The seeds are recalcitrant and they lose more than 70% of their viability after 40 days in cold storage. There are about 29 seeds/kg.

E. stipitata is a species of the dense, humid, tropical high forest. It can withstand a drought of up to 2 months.

Fruits may be collected when they start to turn yellow, as they continue to mature off the plant. Careful postharvest handling is important because of the thin skin and delicate pulp. Germination rates are high (80-100%) when seeds are sown soon after being removed from the fruit. However, germination may take 2-4 months to start and 6-8 months to finish. Storing the seeds in moist charcoal powder speeds up germination. Germination is epigeous. Early growth is slow, even in good substrate. The seedlings need about 12 months to attain a height of 25-45 cm (in polythene bags), at which time they are ready for establishing in the field.

Even though E. stipitata is a relatively slow grower, it is a suitable species for rehabilitating exhausted land.

  The fruit is edible, but because of its strong acidity it is not eaten directly but is popular as a strong or weak juice. A jelly can be made from the pulp and seed. However, excessive cooking destroys the attractive aroma and flavour. The dry weight of the fruit consists of 8-10.75% protein, 5-6.5% fibre, 69-72% other carbohydrates, 0.16-0.21 calcium, some phosphorus, potassium and magnesium and 10-12 ppm of zinc. In 100 g of fruit there are approximately 7.75 mg of vitamin A, 9.84 mg of vitamin B1 and 7.68 mg of vitamin C. The surprisingly high protein content presumably comes from the inclusion of the seeds. The fruit has some value as a source of vitamins and minerals.

Ornamental:  Arboriculture (cultivation of an ornamental species for recreational purposes) is widely practised for this species in its native range.

Intercropping:  A potential tree for fruit-tree-based production systems.