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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Subfamily: Sapindoideae
Genus: Melicoccus

See text

Melicoccus is a genus of ten species of flowering plants in the family Sapindaceae, native to tropical regions of northern and western South America.[2]

They are evergreen trees growing to 30 metres (98 ft) tall, with alternate pinnate leaves with 4 or 6 opposite leaflets (no terminal leaflet). The fruit is a drupe. Several species, but principally M. bijugatus, are widely cultivated in their native areas and elsewhere in Central America and the Caribbean for their fruit.

Some species of the related genus Talisia are sometimes included in Melicoccus.



The genus Melicoccus was first decscribed by Patrick Browne, an Irish doctor and botanist, in 1756. This description was based on M. bijugatus trees which were cultivated in Jamaica. In 1760, Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin described the first species in Browne's genus, which he named M. bijugatus. In 1762 Linnaeus used a spelling variation of the name Melicocca bijuga. Over the next two centuries, Linnaeus' spelling variation was used in almost all publications. A proposal was made in 1994 to conserve Melicocca over Melicoccus, but the proposal was rejected, leading to a restoration of the original version of the name.[2]

In 1888 German taxonomist Ludwig Radlkofer placed Melicoccus in the tribe Melicocceae together with eight other genera. In his monograph on the Neotropical members of the tribe (Talisia and Melicoccus) Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez suggested that although Talisia and Melicoccus appeared to form a monophyletic group, the other (Old World) genera probably did not belong to the same lineage.[2]


  1. ^ "Melicoccus P. Browne". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2006-03-29. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  2. ^ a b c d Acevedo-Rodríguez, Pedro (2003). "Melicocceae (Sapindaceae): Melicoccus and Talisia". Flora Neotropica 87: 1–178. JSTOR 4393917.