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Spondias mombin

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Spondias mombin
File:Spondias mombin MS4005.JPG
S. mombin, fruiting.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Spondias
Species: S. mombin
Binomial name
Spondias mombin

Spondias lutea L.

Spondias mombin or Spondias purpurea var. lutea, is a tree, a species of flowering plant in the family Anacardiaceae. It is native to the tropical Americas, including the West Indies. The tree has been naturalized in parts of Africa, India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. It is rarely cultivated.

The mature fruit has a leathery skin and a thin layer of pulp. The seed has an oil content of 31.5%.[1]

Use as food

File:Bai makok.jpg
Bai makok, the name for the leaves of the Spondias mombin in Thai

The fruit pulp is either eaten fresh, or made into juice, concentrate, jellies, and sherbets.

In Thailand this fruit is called makok (Template:Lang-th) and is used in som tam as a secondary ingredient. The young leaves, which taste slightly bitter and sour, are sometimes served raw together with certain types of nam phrik (Thai chilli pastes).

As a member of the Sumac family (Anacardiaceae), exposure to the sap of this species may result in an identical allergic reaction to that of the more widely known Poison Ivy plant (Toxicodendron). Those with a known sensitivity to urushiol should exercise caution in consuming or handling this species.

Use in Medicine

The fruit-juice is used as a febrifuge and diuretic. The roots are well-known febrifuge on the Ivory Coast, being sometimes used with leaves of Ximenia, Premna hispida, Ficus sp., and Alchornea. They are pulped, boiled in water, and drunk, or used as a lotion or for baths. The bark is used as a purgative and in local applications for leprosy (Kerharo and Bouquet). The bark decoction is used for severe cough, causing relief through vomiting. The dry pulverized bark is applied as a dressing to the circumcision wound. The bark contains a certain amount of tannin. A decoction of the mashed leaves is used by the Ibos (Nigeria) for washing a swollen face. The leaves, ground with sugar, are rubbed on the mouth and gums. A leaf infusion is a common cough remedy or used as a laxative for fever with constipation. A leaf decoction is used for gonorrhea. The leaves with the leaves of Vitex quinata and Terminalia avicennoides, are used on the Ivory Coast for fresh wounds preventing inflammation. All these leaves are used for leprosy. Crushed with lemon they are effective for worms in children. With Alchornea leaves and lemon a gargle is made from the leaves. They are crushed to obtain the juice. A decoction of pounded leaves is used as an eye lotion and the juice pressed from young, warm leaves is given to children for stomach troubles. The young leaves are used as an infusion taken internally or as a warm astringent lotion by women in confinement in Sierra Leone. In the Congo the young leaves pounded to a frothy pulp are used as a bed for paralytics, who are then massaged with them to the accompaninent of incantations.[2] In Suriname's traditional medicine, the infusion of the leaves is used as a treatment of eye inflammation, diarrhea and venereal diseases.

The extract has shown anti-inflammatory activity in Wistar rats.[3]


Spondias mombin has several common names. Throughout the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and Mexico it is called jobo (derived from the Carib language [4]). Among the English-speaking Caribbean islands it is known as yellow mombin or hog plum, while in Jamaica it is called Spanish plum, gully plum or coolie plum. In Brazil, the fruit is known by several different names, such as cajá, taperebá and ambaló. In Peru, it is known as uvos or mango ciruelo. In Ghana, it is hog plum or Ashanti plum. It is called "Akukor" in the Ewe language of Ghana. In Nigeria, the fruit is called Iyeye or Yeye in the Yoruba language,[5] ngulungwu in Igbo and isada in Hausa.[6] Other common names include hug plum, true yellow mombin, golden apple or Java plum, Ambaralla in Sri Lanka. In Assamese it is called Omora (অমৰা). Similarly in Bengali, it is called Amra. In Surinam the fruit is called Mope. In Goan Konkani, it is called "Ambado". In Malayalam, it is called "Ambazham" and "Junglee Aam" in Hindi. In Costa Rica, it is called yuplón.

Plant Description

A small deciduous tree up to 20 m (60 ft.) high and 1.5 m (5 ft.) in girth, moderately buttressed; bark thick, corky, deeply fissured, slash pale pink, darkening rapidly, branches low, branchlets glabrous; leaves pinnate, leaflets 5-8 opposite pairs with a terminal leaflet, 10 X 5 cm (4 X 2 in.), oblong or oblong lanceolate, broadly acuminate, glabrous; flowers (Jan.-May) sweet-scented, in large, lax terminal panicles of small white flowers; fruits (July-Sept.) nearly 4 cm (1.5 in.) long, ovoid yellow, acid, wrinkled when dry; 1 seed.

The fruits have a sharp, somewhat acid taste and are edible.

See also


  2. Woody Plants of Ghana. F.R. Irvine. Oxford University Press, 1961. Great Britain. p. 565-566
  3. Nworu CS, Akah PA, Okoye FB, Toukam DK, Udeh J, Esimone CO.,"The leaf extract of Spondias mombin L. displays an anti-inflammatory effect and suppresses inducible formation of tumor necrosis factor-α and nitric oxide (NO)." J Immunotoxicol. 2011 Jan-Mar;8(1):10-6
  4. Spanish Royal Academy Dictionary
  5. See Ayoka et al. (2008, p.130), Oladele (2008, p.5). Note that Aiyeloja & Ajewole (2006, p.57) give agbalumo as the local name in Osun State, however other sources identify agbalumo elsewhere in Nigeria with the African star apple, Chrysophyllum alibidum and related species; see for example Aiyeloja & Bello (2006, p.18) and Oyelade et al. (2005).
  6. Aiyeloja & Bello (2006, p.19)


Aiyeloja, Adedapo Ayo; and Opeyemi Isaac Ajewole (May 2006). "Non-timber forest products’ marketing in Nigeria. A case study of Osun state" (PDF online reproduction). Educational Research and Reviews (s.l.: Academic Journals) 1 (2): pp.52–58. ISSN 1990-3839. OCLC 173185259. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
Aiyeloja, Adedapo Ayo; and O.A. Bello (April 2006). "Ethnobotanical potentials of common herbs in Nigeria: A case study of Enugu state" (PDF online reproduction). Educational Research and Reviews (s.l.: Academic Journals) 1 (1): pp.16–22. ISSN 1990-3839. OCLC 173185259. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
Ayoka, A.O.; R.O. Akomolafe, O.S. Akinsomisoye, and O.E.Ukponmwan (2008). "Medicinal and Economic Value of Spondias mombin" (PDF online reproduction). African Journal of Biomedical Research (Ibadan, Nigeria: Ibadan Biomedical Communications Group) 11: pp.129–136. ISSN 1119–5096. OCLC 54453367. 
Oladele, O.I. (2008). "Contribution of Neglected and Underutilized Crops to Household food security and Health among Rural Dwellers in Oyo State, Nigeria" (PDF). International Symposium "Underutilized plants for food, nutrition, income and sustainable development", Arusha, Tanzania 3–7 March 2008. Symposium Proceedings, online publication of presented papers. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Centre for Underutilised Crops (ICUC). 
Oyelade, O.J.; P.O. Odugbenro, A.O. Abioye, and N.L. Raji (April 2005). "Some physical properties of African star apple (Chrysophyllum alibidum) seeds". Journal of Food Engineering (London: Elsevier Science) 67 (4): pp.435–440. doi:10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2004.05.046. OCLC 108380173. 
Adepoju, O.T.; O.E. Oyewole (2008). "Nutrient Composition and Acceptability Study of Fortified Jams from Spondias Mombin (Hog Plum, Iyeye in Yoruba) Fruit Pulp". Nigerian Journal of Nutritional Science 29 (02): pp.180–189. ISSN 0189-0913. 
Tolu Odugbemi (Revised 2008). Outlines and Pictures of Medicinal Plants from Nigeria. University of Lagos Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-978-48712-7-3. 

External links