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Talisia esculenta - (A.St.-Hil.) Radlk.

Common Name Pitomba
Family Sapindaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Rainforests, on land that does not become inundated[416 ]. Dense primary forest as well as secondary formations, always in alluvial lowlands, at the bottom of valleys[419 ].
Range S. America - Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Talisia esculenta Pitomba

Talisia esculenta Pitomba


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Pitomba (Talisia esculenta), commonly found in South America particularly in Paraguay, Brazil, and Bolivia, is an evergreen or semi-deciduous tree growing up to 14 m in height and up to 40 cm in bole diameter. It is moderately fast growing. It has a dense and rounded canopy with alternate and pinnately compound leaves. The small, white flowers are produced in panicles. The brown to yellow rounded to ellipsoidal fruits, containing one or two large seeds each, are in clusters of 10 to 20. Its edible pulp can be consumed raw. The roots are antidote and can be used against jaundice when combined with annatto fruits (Bixa orellana) and fruit peel of assai (Euterpe spp.). The wood is very heavy and hard. It is used for ceilings, floor boards, door frames, boxes, carpentry, etc.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Talisia esculenta is a deciduous Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.


Sapindus esculenta A.St.-Hil.


Edible Uses

Fruit - raw[335 ]. A brown-yellow fruit with 1 or 2 large seeds covered in a thin, translucent, sweet and sour flavoured edible pulp[335 , 416 ]. Very tasty[419 ]. The fruit is about 3cm long and 2.5cm in diameter[335 ]. The fruit is borne in clusters of 10 - 20 fruits[377 ].

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.

The roots are antidote. A decoction, taken internally and also applied topically, is used in the treatment of poisonous animals[739 ]. Combined with the fruit of annatto (Bixa orellana) and the fruit peel of assai (Euterpe spp.), it is used in the treatment of jaundice[739 ].

Other Uses

Other Uses: The heartwood is a light yellowish-brown; it is nor clearly demarcated from the sapwood. The texture is medium; the grain is interlocked; lustre is tenuous, there is no distinctive taste or aroma. The wood is very heavy, hard; it is somewhat durable, especially if kept dry, with some resistance to insect attack but a low resistance to rot. It is used for internal work in buildings, such as ceilings, floor boards and door frames, and also for boxes, carpentry etc[363 , 419 ].

Cultivation details

A plant of the hot, wet, tropical lowlands[335 ]. Grows best in a sunny position in a deep, fertile soil[419 ]. A moderately fast growing plant when young, reaching 2.5 metres when 2 years old[419 ].


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Seed - the whole fruit can be sown if done so as soon as it is ripe. If being stored for a short while then it is better to extract the seed from the pulp[419 ]. The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe. Sow in individual containers and keep in light shade - do not allow the compost to become dry[419 ]. Most seeds germinate in 15 - 30 days[419 ]. Growth is moderate, taking 6 - 7 months before the plant is ready to be planted into its permanent position[419 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Piton, O-noconoma, Olho-de-boi, Pitomba-de-macaco, Pitomba-da-mata, pitombeira.

Found In

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

Brazil; Bolivia, Plurinational State of; Paraguay, Amazon, Australia, Colombia, Paraguay, 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

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(A.St.-Hil.) Radlk.

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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