Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Spondias purpurea
(red mombin)

Toolbox

Datasheet

Spondias purpurea (red mombin)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 22 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Spondias purpurea
  • Preferred Common Name
  • red mombin
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report

Pictures

Top of page
PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Spondias purpurea (red mombin); tree habit. Mandaguarí, Brazil. April 2014.
TitleHabit
CaptionSpondias purpurea (red mombin); tree habit. Mandaguarí, Brazil. April 2014.
Copyright©Mussangui-2014/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Spondias purpurea (red mombin); tree habit. Mandaguarí, Brazil. April 2014.
HabitSpondias purpurea (red mombin); tree habit. Mandaguarí, Brazil. April 2014.©Mussangui-2014/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Spondias purpurea (red mombin); leaves. Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2009.
TitleLeaves
CaptionSpondias purpurea (red mombin); leaves. Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2009.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Spondias purpurea (red mombin); leaves. Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2009.
LeavesSpondias purpurea (red mombin); leaves. Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2009.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Spondias purpurea (red mombin); leaves and fruit. Waikapu, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June 2009.
TitleLeaves and fruit
CaptionSpondias purpurea (red mombin); leaves and fruit. Waikapu, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June 2009.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Spondias purpurea (red mombin); leaves and fruit. Waikapu, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June 2009.
Leaves and fruitSpondias purpurea (red mombin); leaves and fruit. Waikapu, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June 2009.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Spondias purpurea (red mombin); close view of ripe fruits. São Carlos, Brazil. February 2011.
TitleFruits
CaptionSpondias purpurea (red mombin); close view of ripe fruits. São Carlos, Brazil. February 2011.
Copyright©Leoadec/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Spondias purpurea (red mombin); close view of ripe fruits. São Carlos, Brazil. February 2011.
FruitsSpondias purpurea (red mombin); close view of ripe fruits. São Carlos, Brazil. February 2011.©Leoadec/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Spondias purpurea (red mombin); fruit in hand, showing pulp. Olinda, Maui, Hawaii, September 2009.
TitleFruit
CaptionSpondias purpurea (red mombin); fruit in hand, showing pulp. Olinda, Maui, Hawaii, September 2009.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Spondias purpurea (red mombin); fruit in hand, showing pulp. Olinda, Maui, Hawaii, September 2009.
Fruit Spondias purpurea (red mombin); fruit in hand, showing pulp. Olinda, Maui, Hawaii, September 2009.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Spondias purpurea L.

Preferred Common Name

  • red mombin

Other Scientific Names

  • Spondias dulcis Blanco

International Common Names

  • English: purple mombin; spanish plum tree
  • Spanish: ciruelo del fraile (Bolivia); ciruelo mexicano (Chile); jocote colorado
  • French: mombin rouge

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Mombin-Pflaumenbaum, Roter

EPPO code

  • SPXPU (Spondias purpurea)

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Sapindales
  •                         Family: Anacardiaceae
  •                             Genus: Spondias
  •                                 Species: Spondias purpurea

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page

Spondias purpurea is a well-defined and taxonomically separate species from other Spondias spp. (Barfod, 1987). No taxonomic treatment is available of the varieties or of the species’ genetic diversity (Duarte and Paull, 2015).

Description

Top of page

General description

In the lowland tropics, the species is a small, low-branched deciduous tree or shrub (3-6 m) and in the highlands a spreading, thick-trunked tree that can reach 7-15 m. The open canopy can spread up to 15 m (Leon, 1983), with a trunk that can reach a diameter of 50 cm. The bark is grey and usually smooth. The main branches tend to grow horizontally and all branches are fairly brittle. Cuts and bruises in the bark produce a thick and transparent exudate.

Leaves

The compound leaves have 9-19 nearly sessile obovate to lanceolate or oblong-elliptic, alternate, 2-6 cm long by 1.25 cm wide leaflets that are bright red or purple, becoming green when mature.

Flowers

The axillary inflorescences come in 1-10 cm long panicles with a few flowers that usually appear at the older and defoliated nodes. Each panicle has male, female and bisexual flowers. The flowers have 4-5 sepals and 4-5 tiny red to purple petals that are usually 2.5-3.5 mm long at anthesis. Pollen is normally not formed because the mother cells of the micro-sporangia do not develop (Juliano, 1932).

Fruit

Fruit are parthenocarpic. An oblong to obovoid, sub-globose or even pear-shaped drupe, measuring 2.5-5.0 by 1.0-3.5 cm, with a smooth and glossy peel. The fruit appear solitary or in groups of two or three. The ripe fruit is normally dark or bright red but can be purple, orange, red-and-yellow, and sometimes even yellow, and can be confused with the yellow mombin. The mesocarp is fleshy and juicy, 5-7 mm thick, acid in flavour, very aromatic, yellow, and fibrous, and is attached to a fibrous and hard endocarp that can be 1.25-2.5 cm long and normally has no seeds but the vestiges of unfertilized ovules (Avilan et al., 1989, Duarte and Paull, 2015).

Distribution

Top of page

The red mombin is native to Central America and Southern Mexico, and natural populations are found in both dry and wet areas, including a wide range of semi-deciduous forests (Duarte and Paull, 2015).

Distribution Table

Top of page

The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020

Biology and Ecology

Top of page

Climate

Red mombin is adapted to dry and semi-humid tropics up to 1600 m elevation, as well as to the subtropics. In Guatemala, it is grown from sea level to 2100 m and it is also grown in the subtropics of the Peruvian central coast northwards. It flowers well in wet or dry climates but fruit from dry areas are of better quality. In very cool climates, it can grow but does not flower.

The plant grows best under full sunlight and in places with a prolonged dry season where defoliation is an adaptation mechanism. There seems to be no photoperiod response. It can be found in areas with an average annual precipitation varying from 300 to 1800 mm. In dry areas, it usually sprouts and flowers at the onset of the rainy season.

The spreading and low-branching habit makes the tree less prone to damage by wind, but the brittle branches can be a negative factor when strong winds occur (Duarte and Paull, 2015).

Soil

The tree is able to grow normally on rocky substrates, slopes or different soil types, including those of little agricultural value due to a wide physiological and anatomical plasticity (Pimenta-Barrios and Ramirez-Hernandez, 2003). A mycorrhizal symbiosis can be associated with the root and this favours plant growth by promoting phosphorus absorption (Janick and Paull, 2008).

Flower and Fruit development

Flowering time varies with climate, but usually occurs during the dry season when trees are defoliated or just as the young new leaves emerge. New vegetative shoots are produced and may constitute the major part of the potentially flower-bearing ramets. In areas with year-round precipitation, flowering may occur continuously. In dry areas, depending upon the tree’s phenology, flowering can be controlled by carefully planned irrigation (Macia and Barfod, 2000). If trees are treated with 12% urea to induce defoliation, flowering is advanced by 30-40 days (Almaguer-Vargas et al., 1991).

The parthenocarpic fruit takes about 115 days from anthesis to the start of ripening (Silva et al., 2001). The new vegetative shoots and the fruit mature at the same time. Fruit usually ripen during the dry season, when a high number of hours of exposure to full sunlight produce more sugars and hence better fruit quality (Janick and Paull, 2008).

Uses

Top of page

Red mombin is eaten green, half mature or ripe (Leon, 1983). Green fruit are eaten with salt and vinegar as a snack or boiled in syrup; ripe red fruit are mainly eaten fresh. The soft exocarp is easily injured and so the mesocarp is often processed into marmalade, juice, wine and liquor. The pulp is used to flavour ice cream. In Mexico and Guatemala, dry fruit are eaten in a dessert made with brown sugar; a fermented drink is also prepared in these countries (Duarte and Paull, 2015).

Uses List

Top of page

Human food and beverage

  • Fruits

References

Top of page

Almaguer-Vargas, G., Espinoza-Espinoza, J. R., Marti­nez-Bravo, A., Amador-Gomes, J., 1991. Chemical defoliation for advancing harvest in guava (Psidium guajava L.) and Spanish plum (Spondias purpurea L.)., Proceedings of the Interamerican Society for Tropical Horticulture: Volume 35. 37th Annual Meeting, Vina del Mar, Chile, October 7-12, 1991, 35:71-75

Avilan, L., Leal, F., Bautista, D., 1989. Manual de Fruticultura; Cultivo y Producción , [ed. by América C.A]. Caracas, Venezuela:437-441

Barbeau, G., 1990. Frutas Tropicales en Nicaragua. Dirección General de Técnicas Agropecuarias, MIDINRA [ed. by Ciencias Sociales]. Managua, Nicaragua, p. 113.

Barfod, A., 1987. Anacardiaceae. In: Flora of Ecuador 30 [ed. By Harling, G., Andersson, L.]. Arlöv, Sweden, pp. 9-49.

Duarte, O., Paull, R., 2015. Exotic fruits and nuts of the New World., Wallingford, UK: CAB International:ix + 332 pp. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20153017861

Janick, J., Paull, R. E., 2008. The encyclopedia of fruit & nuts., Wallingford, UK: CAB International:xviii + 954 pp.

Juliano, J. B., 1932. The cause of sterility in Spondias purpurea Linn., Philippine Agriculturist, 21:15-24

Leon, J., 1983. Underutilized fruits of Central America and northern South America. Proceedings of the Tropical Region American Society for Horticultural Science, 27: 1-20.

Macia, M. J., Barfod, A. S., 2000. Economic botany of Spondias purpurea (Anacardiaceae) in Ecuador., Economic Botany, 54(4):449-458

Pimenta-Barrios, B. E., Ramirez-Hernandez, B. C., 2003. Phenology, growth, and response to light of ciruela mexicana (Spondias purpurea L.), Anacardiaceae., Economic Botany, 57(4):481-490

Popenoe, J., 1979. The genus Spondias in Florida., Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society, 92:277-279

Silva, S. de M., Martins, L. P., Alves, R. E., Filgueiras, H. A. C., 2001. Carbohydrate-related changes in red mombin (Spondias purpurea L.) fruit., Proceedings of the Interamerican Society for Tropical Horticulture, 45:38-41

Distribution References

CABI Data Mining, Undated. CAB Abstracts Data Mining.,

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Links to Websites

Top of page
WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map