Spondias purpurea

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Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Subfamily: Spondiadoideae
Genus: Spondias
Species: S. purpurea
Binomial name
Spondias purpurea

Spondias purpurea is a species in flowering plant in the cashew family, Anacardiaceae, that is native to tropical regions of the Americas. It is most commonly known as jocote, which derives from the Nahuatl word xocotl, meaning any kind of sour or acidic fruit.[1] Other common names include red mombin, purple mombin, hog plum, ciruela huesito (Venezuela), sineguela, and siriguela.


Fruits of Spondias purpurea.
Sineguelas from the Philippines

It is a small to medium-sized tree up to 25 feet tall[citation needed]. The leaves are deciduous in the short dry season, but only fall shortly before the new leaves develop; they are pinnate, with 7-23 leaflets, each leaflet 3–5 cm long and 1.5–2 cm broad[citation needed]. The flowers are small, reddish-purple, produced in large panicles[citation needed]. The fruit is an edible oval drupe, 3–5 cm long and 2-3.5 cm broad, ripening red (occasionally yellow) and containing a single large seed[citation needed].

It is now widely cultivated in tropical regions throughout the world for its edible fruit, and is also naturalised in some areas, including the Philippines and Nigeria[citation needed]. Numerous cultivars have been selected for fruit quality[citation needed]. It is also abundant in Jamaica and Central America[citation needed]. In Florida growth is relegated to near-tropical areas of the state, and the tree is killed or greatly harmed by cold winter temperatures from Palm Beach County northward.[2]


The fruits are often eaten ripe, with or without the skin[citation needed]. It is sometimes eaten unripe with salt and vinegar or lime juice[citation needed].

In Haiti, it is known under the name of 'siwèl' and spread throughout the mountainous areas of the country, mostly in the northern and southern mountain ranges[citation needed].

One typical dish in Salvadoran cuisine consists of a syrup made of panela, jocote and mango[citation needed].

The single large seed, which takes up most of the fruit, is not eaten[citation needed].

"Sirgüelas" or plums in syrup, Oaxaca, México

In Panamá, the tree is used throughout the countryside as a living fence.

Cultural significance[edit]

The "Pacto del Jocote", peace treaty was signed in Costa Rica on April 11, 1842 under a jocote tree in Alajuela between Francisco Morazán and Vicente Villaseñor overturning the government of Braulio Carrillo[citation needed].

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Spanish Royal Academy Dictionary
  2. ^ Boning, Charles R. (2006). Florida's Best Fruiting Plants: Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. pp. 150–151. 

External links[edit]

  • Miller, A and Schall, B. 2005. Domestication of a Mesoamerican cultivated fruit tree, Spondias purpurea. PNAS 102:12801–12806
  • Purple mombin