Pouteria lucuma

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Branchlet with leaves, flowers and fruit of Pouteria lucuma. Fruit cut in half shown on top left of image.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Pouteria
Species: P. lucuma
Binomial name
Pouteria lucuma
(Ruiz & Pav.) Kuntze
  • Achras lucuma Ruiz & Pav.
  • Lucuma bifera Molina
  • Lucuma biflora J.F. Gmel.
  • Lucuma obovata Kunth
  • Lucuma obovata var. ruizii A.DC.
  • Lucuma turbinata Molina
  • Pouteria insignis Baehni
  • Richardella lucuma (Ruiz & Pav.) Aubrév.

Pouteria lucuma is a species of tree in the family Sapotaceae, cultivated for its fruit, the lúcuma. It is native to the Andean valleys and grown in Peru, Ecuador and Chile.[1][2]


Evergreen tree up to 20 m tall, greyish-brown fissured bark, presence of milky white exudate.[3][4][5] The end of branchlets and the petioles covered with short brown hairs.[4][5] Leaves simple, oblanceolate to elliptic, up to 25 cm long and 10 cm wide, glabrous (or sometimes slightly hairy on the underside) grouped at the end of the branches.[3][4] Flowers solitary or in fascicles, small, axillary, with hairy sepals and a corolla forming a tube 1-1.8 cm long, greenish white, with 5 lobes; stamens 5, staminodes also 5; ovary pubescent; style 0.8-1.5 cm long.[3][4] Fruit globose, 6–12 cm long, glabrous, russet to yellow when mature; pulp bright yellow; seeds one to several, 1.8-3.5 cm long, dark brown, glossy.[3][4]

Lucumas from Chile.


Lúcuma has been found on ceramics at burial sites of the indigenous people of coastal Peru.[2] The Moche people had a fascination with agriculture and often chose to represent fruits and vegetables, including lúcuma, in their art.[6]

The fruit was first seen and reported by Europeans in Ecuador in 1531.[2][7]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The area of origin of P. lucuma is located in the Andes of Ecuador and Peru,[5] at temperate elevations between 2,700–3,000 metres (8,900–9,800 ft).[2]


Attempts at growing lúcuma in Florida's climate typically fail.[2] In addition to Peru, the fruit is grown also to a limited extent in Bolivia and Costa Rica.[2] In Peru, harvesting season is from October to March and in Chile from June to November.[1]

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 414.5 kJ (99.1 kcal)
1.5 %
Dietary fiber 1.3 %
0.5 %
1.5 %
Vitamins Quantity
Thiamine (B1)
0.01 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.14 mg
Niacin (B3)
1.96 mg
Vitamin C
2.2 mg
Minerals Quantity
16 mg
0.4 mg
26 mg
470 mg
6 mg
Other constituents Quantity
Water 64.8 - 72.3 %
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Moche culture pottery representing lucumas.


When eaten raw, the fruit has a dry texture.[2] In Peru, it is more commonly used as a flavor in juice, milk shakes, and especially ice cream. Its unique flavor in such preparations has been described variously as being similar to sweet potato, maple syrup, or butterscotch. A dessert called "merengue con salsa de lúcuma" is served in Chile. In Peru, "manjar de lúcuma" (dulce de leche with lúcuma purée) is a dessert.


Lúcuma pulp has a 64-72 % of moisture content.[3] The pulp also contains sugars like glucose, fructose, sucrose and inositol; and acids like citric acid and succinic acid.[3] However, only limited nutritional information is available for lúcuma powder, indicating moderate content of protein and iron, each providing 14% of the Daily Value in a 100 gram (3.5 oz) serving which supplies 420 calories.[8]


  1. ^ a b "CAPÍTULO I: LA LÚCUMA (in Spanish)" (PDF). University of Piura, Peru. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Morton JF (1987). "Lucmo". Purdue University, republished from p. 405–406. In: Fruits of Warm Climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Janick, Jules; Paull, Robert E. (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts. CABI. p. 837. ISBN 9780851996387. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Pennington, T. D. (1990). Flora Neotropica Monograph Sapotaceae. New York Botanical Garden. pp. 383–385. ISBN 9780893273446. 
  5. ^ a b c d Duarte, Odilo; Paull, Robert (2015). Exotic Fruits and Nuts of the New World. CABI. pp. 117–123. ISBN 9781780645056. 
  6. ^ Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. The Spirit of Ancient Peru:Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997.
  7. ^ Lesser-known and under-utilised plant resources Ameenah Gurib-Fakim - 2005 - Page 59
  8. ^ "Lucuma powder per 100 g". Conde Nast, USDA National Nutrient Database, version SR-21. 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 

External links[edit]