Botanist's Glossary

Cupuaçu - Theobroma grandiflorum

  • Description
    • Cupuacu (Sterculiaceae family) is a tropical tree that grows in Brazilian forests and is closely related to the cacao tree. It is cultivated for its fruits - large "pods" that take 3 to 4 months to mature. Approximately 20 centimeters long and weighing 1 to 2 kg, these fruits contain 20 to 45 seeds (cocoa beans) surrounded by a sweet-and-sour pulp.
  • Traditions
    • In ancient times, cupuacu fruits were traded along the Rio Negro and the Orinoco, where doctors of tribes would use the juice to aid difficult births. The natives used it as an internal remedy to treat abdominal pains. The pulp is still used today to make fruit juices and sorbets.
  • Properties
    • Cupuacu seeds can be pressed to make a butter with a soft and creamy consistency. Capable of absorbing over four times its volume of water, this butter is ideal for intensely moisturizing and replenishing the skin after sun exposure.