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Spondias tuberosa - Arruda ex Kost.

Common Name Imbu, Umbú, Brazil Plum
Family Anacardiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Semi-arid scrublands[416 ].
Range S. America - north-eastern Brazil.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Spondias tuberosa Imbu, Umbú, Brazil Plum

alvaroboliveira wikimedia.org
Spondias tuberosa Imbu, Umbú, Brazil Plum
Rodrigo.Argenton, wikimedia.org


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Spondias tuberosa, also known as Imbu or Brazil Plum, is a slow-growing tree native to northeast Brazil. It has a low, flat top, wide and highly dense crown and it reaches a height of about 6 m upon maturity. The bark is smooth and gray. The leaves are compound, with each leaf comprising 3-7 thin leaflets. The flowers are white, fragrant and located at the ends of branches. The fruits are round, light yellow to red, and covered with leathery shell. The flesh is succulent, with a pleasant subacid flavor. It is edible, usually eaten raw or cooked. The wood is used for internal work, crates, boxes and paper pulp. The plant has no medicinal uses. Plants are grown from seed or cuttings.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Spondias tuberosa is a deciduous Tree growing to 6 m (19ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses: Drink

Fruit - raw or cooked[46 , 301 ]. The greenish-yellow, thick-skinned fruit has a soft, melting, almost liquid flesh with a pleasant subacid flavour suggestive of a sweet orange[301 ]. It is also made into ice creams, jams, jellies and drinks[301 ]. A custard-like dessert called imbuzada is made in northern Brazil by adding the fruit juice to boiled sweet milk[301 ]. The yellow-green, globose fruit is about 4cm in diameter, containing a single, large seed[416 , 419 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
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Other Uses

Containers  Paper  Wood

Other Uses The wood is light in weight, soft, easy to work and of low natural durability. It is used for internal work, crates, boxes and to supply pulp for making paper[419 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the 'Caatinga' dry forest region of northeast Brazil. The climate is hot and dry, there are usually 6 to 11 months without rain each year. The mean annual rainfall varies from 250 - 1,000mm, and the mean annual temperature is from 24 - 26°c. The plant grows best in the subhumid and frost-free tropics[200 ]. Grows well in areas with a prolonged dry period[335 ]. Requires a sunny position[419 ]. Plants are not too fussy over soil, not needing very fertile conditions[200 ]. However, very poor soil, or shallow land, is unsuitable[200 ]. Established plants are very tolerant of dry conditions, able to withstand extended periods of drought[335 , 419 ]. The plant can store starch and water in special storage organs in the roots, known as 'tuberous aquifers'. This makes it able to withstand very long periods of drought[419 ]. A pH in the range 6 - 7 is ideal[200 ]. A slow growing tree[419 ]. Flowering Time: Late Winter/Early Spring. Spacing: White/Near White.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a sunny position in individual containers. Germination is usually fast and abundant[419 ]. Quite large cuttings[200 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Ambu, Umbuzeiro, Ombuzeiro, Ambu, Giqui, Imbuzeiro, Tapereba, imbu, imbuzeiro, umbu, umbuzeiro.

Brazil, Australia, Puerto Rico, South America,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Spondias dulcisGolden Apple, Ambarella,Tree15.0 9-12 FLMHSNDM422
Spondias mombinYellow Mombin, Hog Plum, Caja Fruit, TaperebáTree20.0 10-12 FMHNDM422
Spondias purpureaPurple Mombin Red Mombin, Spanish Plum, CiruelaTree10.0 10-12 FMHNDM422

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Arruda ex Kost.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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