Ximenia americana L. var. americana
Sleumer, Hermann O. 1984. Olacaceae. Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 38: 1-159. (Published by NYBG Press)
Type. Hort. Cliffort. 483 (lectotype, BM, cf. Lucas, 1968, p. 5).
Variety Description - Glabrous sprawling or low-branching shrub or several-stemmed tree, to 12 m tall; bark reddish to grayish-brownish. Branches more or less flexuous, dark. Branchlets with axillary spines, or usually ending in robust thorns to 7 cm long, covered with roundish lenticels and reddish cork. Leaves often closely arranged on short lateral twigs, usually deciduous in the dry season or maybe flowering time, variable in shape, size, and texture, narrowly to broadly lanceolate, ovate, elliptic, obovate, or sometimes (sub)orbiculate, generally obtuse at both ends, though apex often minutely apiculate or mucronulate (to 1 mm long) and sometimes emarginate, membranaceous to (sub)coriaceous, entire, dark to yellowish-green when fresh, turning brownish-blackish and becoming brittle in drying, glabrous or rarely short-pubescent in the petiolar canal, (2-)2.5-5(-8, -10) x (l-)2-3(-4, -6) cm, lateral nerves 3-5(-7) pairs, inconspicuous; petiole 3-7(-10, -12) mm long. Inflorescence axillary or near the end of short lateral branchlets (brachy-blasts) in form of 2-8(-10)-flowered subumbellate racemes or cymes; peduncles 1-15 mm long; pedicels (3-)4-7(-12) mm long, with 1 basal bract or ebracteolate. Flowers functionally bisexual. Sepals 4(-5), subacute, ciliate, rarely puberulent within, 0.5-1.5 mm long. Petals 4(-5), linear-oblong, acute or rather obtuse, finally recurved for ca. ½ their length, white to yellowish-green, sometimes purple-tipped, fragrant, white-bearded inside to within 1.5-3 mm of apex. Stamens 8(-10); filaments sigmoid at apex, 2.5-4 mm long; anthers 2-4 mm long. Ovary lanceoloid, 2.4-3.5 mm long; style filiform, (1-)2.5-5.5 mm long. Drupe plum-like, ellipsoid to subglobose, apiculate, yellow to orange, rarely scarlet, (1.7-)2.5(-3.5) cm long, 1.5-3 cm diam., subtended by not-accrescent calyx or sepals; pericarp (sarcocarp) pulpy, green to yellowish; endocarp crustaceous; seed 1, white, 1.5-2.5 x 1-1.2 cm.
Local names and uses. The wood is hard, heavy, close-grained, and used as a substitute for sandalwood because of its fragrance and whitish-yellowish to brownish color, but seldom large enough for furniture. The bark is astringent. The sour pulp of the fruit is edible. The nuts are purgative and are reported to contain hydrocyanic acid.Ximenia americana is accepted as the basic species which comprises numerous local forms of doubtful taxonomic significance. Variety argentinensis DeFilipps has leaves glaucous beneath and is found in the southern part of the neotropical area of X. americana. Variety microphylla Welwitsch ex Oliver is limited to subequatorial Africa.Parasitism. Root-hemiparasitism of X. americana var. americana (Heckel, 1899, 1900; Barber, 1907; DeFilipps, 1969) is known to be host non-specific; also autoparasitism and even the formation of haustoria attached to non-living objects occur.
Distribution and Ecology: Pantropical and -subtropical. From Florida, the Keys and West Indies to C and S America; southern limit from S Brazil to C Argentina (Rio Colorado). In thickets behind beaches along seashores, but also inland in dry savanna scrub or forest, sometimes even in light rain forest, scattered, on calcareous or sandy ground, from sea level to ca. 1200 m alt. Dispersal: The succulent pericarp is eaten by various animals. The kernel is light enough to float, and there is, in addition, a layer of air-bearing tissue beneath the hard endocarp which allows the fruit to be water-borne for months (DeFilipps, 1976).
albaricoque, ameixa, Ciruelillo, limoncillo, manzanilla, jía manzanilla, pepenance
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