A fruit tree of the Andes, in Ecuador, the tree is called lugma, from other side,it’s called lucuma in Chile, The native habitat of this tree is the high Andean valleys of Peru, Chile, and Ecuador.
It has been used by the Incas for at least 2,000 years, p.d., and still is not practically known in the rest of the world.
Lucuma is a handsome tree, small to moderately tall, with slightly leathery leaves, it sometimes grows as a central leader tree, but more usually it has multiple leaders.
Lucuma is a subtropical fruit tree of Andean valleys, especially in Peru, also it’s grown in Ecuador, Colombia, north of Chile and Bolivia.
It is being cultivated in Costa Rica, Mexico, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. Also there is some trials to planting in Florida and California .
Peru is the First producer for the dried pulp market, by (16,000 metric tonnes of fresh fruit in Peru alone (given 8 tonnes per hectare).
The tree grow will across a wide range of soil types, including somewhat calcareous or even slightly saline soils, so long as the soil is fairly well drained. the tree need good drain to avoid root rot diseases.
Trees flowering in mid winter to spring. The flowers are white to yellow, and narrowly tubular. The male anthers are arranged around the ‘mouth’ of the flower ‘tube’. The female style projects from the bud prior to the flower opening, may be they can then pollinate the female part, if it hasn’t already been done.
There are some author says lucuma trees are self fertile, and “appear to be insect pollinated”, the fruit mature after 8 or 9 months to go from flower pollinating.
“Meanwhile in the Andes it flowers and fruit year round”
lucuma tree almost propagation by seeds, for that there are different varieties, for example in Peru, over 100 improved lineages have been identified, either with heavier fruit production, or improved fruit quality.
In Chile La Molina University start deliberate breeding program to get new species with highly production and better fruit quality, now there are ‘San Antonio’, ‘Merced’, and ‘Vergata’ varieties are known as Chilean cultivars .
In New Zealand there is only one cultivar ‘La Molina’, which was at one time available from a nursery, it is a Peruvian cultivar, the fruit have soft flesh , with orange flesh.
Dr. Waleed Abobatta
A. R. C.