The fruits of the Cryptocarya alba trees are commonly known as Peumo. The Cryptocarya alba is a perennial evergreen tree growing mainly in Argentina and Chile. The dark red ripe fruits or berries of these large trees are edible. Oil is extracted from the seeds of these plants.
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Peumo Scientific Name
The scientific name for these trees is Cryptocarya alba.
Here is a general description of these beautiful fruits:
Size: The berries of these trees grow somewhere between 15 mm and 18 mm in length and between 7mm and 10 mm in breadth.
Color: Raw fruits are green in color turning a brilliant shade of red as they ripen.
Taste: The fruits have a rather unpleasant taste unless they are infused in warm water.
These trees can grow up to 65 ft (20 meters) in height. They have simple, opposite and alternate leaves growing between 2.5 cm and 8.5 cm in length. The breadth of these smooth shiny ovate leaves ranges from1 cm to 4 cm. The smooth stem is brownish grey cork cambium. Older stems have some detachable scales. The greenish yellow flowers grow in 3 to 4 mm long clusters. Each flower has six uneven fleshy and hairy petals.
The Peumo trees mainly grow in Chile and Argentina between 33° and 40° southern latitude. The distribution range of these perennials extends to 5000 ft (1500 m) above sea level. These water plants grow in marshes, river shores and bogs.
It is quite easy to cultivate these hardy plants. They can tolerate low temperatures down to -8 °C. These trees are also snow tolerant and can survive being covered up by snow for up to two weeks every year. They are known to flower between November and January in the southern hemisphere.
Sunlight: Full sunlight is required for the proper growth of these plants.
Water Requirements: They grow in water having their roots in a permanent water-body.
Temperature: These evergreen plants grow in cold weathers. These water plants are not very drought tolerant.
Elevation: They grow well in mountain slopes at elevations between 500 meters and 2000 meters.
The edible berries are handpicked or plucked using a harvester after they are properly ripe.
Peumo Health Benefits
The berries of these medicinal plants are highly beneficial for human health. They are rich in various vitamins and minerals that help in the growth and immunity of the body.
The fruits or berries of these evergreen trees are edible. The Peumo trees also have ornamental value for their attractive appearance. The hard and moisture-resistant wood also has many uses while their bark is used in leather tanning industry as well as for dying orange color. It is also used as a fodder plant.
Peumo Seed Oil
Oil can be extracted from the edible seeds of these fruits. This oil contains various polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids. It is rich in linoleic and oleic acid. This oil is an excellent source of Tocopherols and beta-sitosterol.
Peumo Side Effects
There are no known side effects of these berries. However, it may cause allergic reactions in some people. It is advisable to consult a physician in case of any adverse effects.
Peumo Interesting Facts
Here are some interesting facts about these trees:
- These trees are very easy to cultivate as their seeds germinate very easily.
- The Peumo plants manage to survive even when they are entirely covered up by snow!
Here are some images of these trees and their berries:
The Cryptocarya alba is quite well known as a fruit producing ornamental tree. Peumo fruits are quite popular in regions where they are cultivated. The industrial and medicinal values of these trees are also quite important.
- by Deepamala Bhattacharya
- December 9th 2011