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Melicoccus_bijugatus - Jacq.

Common Name Mamoncillo, Spanish Lime, Guayo
Family Sapindaceae
USDA hardiness 9-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry coastal limestone woodland[307 ]. Along the sides of roads, secondary thickets and woodlands at elevations up to 600 metres in Jamaica[426 ].
Range Northern and western S. America - Colombia and Venezuela.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Melicoccus_bijugatus Mamoncillo, Spanish Lime, Guayo

Melicoccus_bijugatus Mamoncillo, Spanish Lime, Guayo


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Melicoccus bijugatus or commonly known as Mamoncillo is an evergreen and slow-growing fruit tree native to northern South America. It grows up to 25 m in height and up to 60 cm in trunk diameter. It has alternate, compound leaves comprised of four elliptic leaflets. The crown is round and dense. The think is smooth and light gray. The flowers are small and green. Aside from being planted as an ornamental tree, it is also popular for its edible fruits which are green drupes with a sweet or sour flavor. It can be consumed raw when ripe, or made into jams, pies, jellies, candies, etc. The seeds are large, usually roasted and used as cassava substitute. The wood of Mamoncillo is fairly hard and heavy, and ideal for cabinet work, construction, and interior works. Propagation is through seeds, air layering, or grafting.

Physical Characteristics

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Melicoccus_bijugatus is an evergreen Tree growing to 18 m (59ft) by 18 m (59ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Melicoccus bijuga L. Melicoccus carpopodea Juss. Paullinia sphaerocarpa Rich. ex Juss.


Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit is juicy, aromatic and somewhat sweet with a pleasant, acid flavour. A sweet and gelatinous pulp with a grape-like flavour[200 ]. Usually eaten out of hand, they can also be cooked in pies, jams and jellies etc[301]. They make a cooling drink[301 ]. The fruit is up to 3cm in diameter, containing a single, occasionally two, large seed[200]. The large, starchy seeds are roasted and used as a substitute for cassava[200, 301, 317 , 335 ]. The elliptic seeds can be up to 28mm long[447 ].

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.

A decoction of the bark is widely used by local people to treat dysentery[200 ]. An infusion of the leaves is used to decrease or retard perspiration[348 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Seaside and Shade tree. Street tree. Specimen. Xerophytic. Other Uses The heartwood is light brown to pale yellow-gray; the sapwood light brown. The wood is of medium weight, fairly hard but does not resist decay. It is sometimes used for cabinet work, construction and interior works[307 , 447 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the moist, lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 600 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 30°c, but can tolerate 13 - 34°c[418 ]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -3°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 800 - 1,600mm, but tolerates 500 - 2,700mm[418 ]. Prefers a fertile, well-drained soil in a sunny position[307 ], though it can also succeed in poor soils[335 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 5 - 8.7[418 ]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[307 , 335 ]. Plants can withstand the strongest salt-laden winds[307 ]. Seedling plants take 7 - 10 years to begin fruiting[307 , 335 ]. Cuttings can fruit in 4 - 5 years[335 ]. The flowers are pleasantly scented and attract bees[447 ]. There are some named varieties[301 ]. Trees are intolerant of pruning[307 ]. Some members of this species are hermaphrodite, whilst others can be dioecious[307 ]. Most forms are dioecious, in which case it is necessary to grow both male and female forms if fruit and seed are required[335 ]. Flowering Time: Late Winter/Early Spring Mid SSpring. Bloom Color: White/Near White. Spacing: 20-30 ft. (6-9 m).

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - seedlings often do not fruit as well as their parent[200 ]. Air layering. Greenwood cuttings. Grafting.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Mamoncillo, Spanish Lime, Guayo, Honeyberry, Limoncillo, Genipe, Ginep, Ginip, Grosella de miel, Guayo, Guenepa, Guinep, Honey-berry, Kanappy, Kenep, Kinep, Limoncillo, Mamon, Mamoncilho, Pitomba-das-guianas, Quenep, ackee, genip, guinep, honeyberry, mamoncillo, quenepa, spanish lime,

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

French Guiana; Guyana; Suriname; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Colombia, Africa, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Asia, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Cameroon, Caribbean, Central Africa*, Central America, Colombia*, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, North America, Pacific, Panama, Philippines, Puerto Rico, SE Asia, Senegal, Singapore, South America, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, USA, Venezuela, West Africa, West Indies,

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
Melicoccus bijugatusMamoncillo, Spanish Lime, GuayoTree18.0 9-12 SLMHSNDM422

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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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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