GENIP: Guyana’s Favourite Fruit

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The scientific name for genip is Melicoccus bijugatus, and it has a whole variety of other common names, including Spanish lime, guinep, genipe, ginepa, quenepa, quenepe, chenet, canepa, mamon, limoncillo, skinip, kinnip, It is known as huaya in Campeche and Mérida, ackee (in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados) or mamoncillo. The genip tree is a fruit-bearing one in the soapberry family Sapindaceae, native or naturalized across the New World tropics including South and Central America, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Sint Maarten / Saint Martin, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean.
Melicoccus bijugatus is native to northern South America and naturalised in coastal and dry forest in Central America, the Caribbean and parts of the Old World tropics. It is believed to have been introduced into the Caribbean in pre-Columbian times and is also found in India. This fruit, known as quenepa in Puerto Rico, grows particularly abundant in the municipality of Ponce, and there is a yearly celebration in that municipality known as Festival Nacional de la Quenepa (National Genip Fruit Festival).
Trees can reach heights of up to 25 m and come with alternate, compound leaves. The leaves have 4 elliptic leaflets which are 5–12.5 cm long and 2.5–5 cm (0.98–1.97 in) wide. They are typically dioecious plants however polygamous trees occur from time to time. Flowers have 4 petals and 8 stamens and produce void, green drupes which are 2.5–4 cm long and 2 cm wide. Their pulp is orange, salmon or yellowish in color with a somewhat juicy and pasty texture.
This fruit can be sweet or sour. In the southern areas of Mexico, it is generally eaten with chili powder, salt, and lime. The sweet varieties are generally eaten without condiments of any kind.
eing tropical, M. bijugatus prefers warmer temperatures. Its leaves can be damaged if the temperature hits the freezing point, with serious damage occurring below −4 °C.[citation needed] It is grown and cultivated for its ovoid, green fruit, which grow in bunches. The fruit, somewhat like a cross between a lychee and a lime, has a tight and thin, but rigid layer of skin, traditionally opened by biting into with the teeth. Inside the skin is a creamy pulp (technically the seed coat, or aril), which is sucked by putting the whole fruit inside the mouth (hence the name mamoncillo as mamar means “to suck”) because the seed takes most of the volume of what is inside the skin. Despite the light color of the fruit’s flesh, the juice stains a dark brown color, and was often used by indigenous Arawak natives to dye cloth.
The species is also commonly planted along roadsides as an ornamental tree.

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