Melicoccus bijugatus, commonly called Spanish lime, genip, guinep, genipe, ginepa, quenepa, canepa, mamon, limoncillo or mamoncillo, is a fruit-bearing tree in the soapberry family Sapindaceae, native or naturalised over a wide area of the tropics including South and Central America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and other parts of the Caribbean, and parts of Africa and the Pacific.
In 1888 German taxonomist Ludwig Radlkofer placed Melicoccus in the tribe Melicocceae together with eight other genera. In his monograph on the Neotropical members of the tribe Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez suggested that although Talisia and Melicoccus appeared to form a monophyletic group, the other genera probably did not belong to the same lineage.The specific epithet bijugatus refers to the bijugate leaves, leaves which consist of two pairs of leaflets.
Trees can reach heights of up to 25 m and come with alternate, compound leaves. The leaves have 4 elliptic leaflets which are 5-12.5 cm long and 2.5–5 cm wide. They are typically dioecious plants however polygamous trees occur f rom time to time. Flowers have 4 petals and 8 stamens and produce void, green drupes which are 2.5–4 cm long and 2 cm wide. Their pulp is orange, salmon or yellowish in color with a somewhat juicy and pasty texture.
This fruit can be sweet or sour. In the southern areas of Mexico, it is generally eaten with chili powder, salt, and lime. The sweet varieties are generally eaten without condiments of any kind.
It is grown and cultivated for its ovoid, green fruit, which grow in bunches. The fruit, somewhat like a cross between a lychee and a lime, has a tight and thin, but rigid layer of skin, traditionally cracked by the teeth. Inside the skin is the tart, tangy, creamy pulp, which is sucked by putting the whole fruit inside the mouth because the seed takes most of the volume of what is inside the skin. Despite the light color of the fruit's flesh, the juice stains a dark brown color, and was often used by indigenous Arawak natives to dye cloth.The species is also commonly planted along roadsides as an ornamental tree.
Quenepa Fruit is full of fiber for lowering cholesterol and preventing constipation, also Vitamin A that boosts your immune system and prevents formation of urinary stones; Vitamin C which is very important as a great antioxidant; calcium which keeps your teeth and bones strong and helps prevent cancer; phosphorus which is important for digestion and regulating hormones.
Quenepa also contains a large amount of tryptophan which is important for good sleep... and lysine which is important for proper growth and for preventing herpes.
Quenepa Fruit lowers blood pressure and helps with asthma, and because Quenepa is full of antioxidants they also work to prevent cardiovascular disease, boost your immune system and prevent strokes.
Studies are being done on Quenepa as a anti-diabetic food because particular proteins in Quenepa lower blood sugar levels.
Quenepa Fruit is low in fat, calories, and cholesterol free! Some people say if you want to lose weight just keep eating Quenepa all day long it will keep you busy.
And the leaves of the Quenepa tree can be boiled and made into a tea which is great for intestinal problems.
The large seed of the Quenepa Fruit is also edible and can be cooked.. and once cooked they taste great. Roasted, crushed, and mixed with honey Quenepa seeds soothing away diarrhea, and in South America roast Quenepa Seeds are used as a substitute for cassava flour for baking.
In Colombia Quenepa juice is a staple and can be bought in stores, it’s sweet and wonderful tasting.
Remember Quenepa Fruit must be ripe otherwise they contain toxins, and because of the large seeds they are a potential choking hazard for children.
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