Family: Rubiaceae

Latin name: Genipa americana

Vernacular name: Huito

Ethnobotany
The large fruits are eaten raw, or cooked with sugar to flavor liquor (“huitoachado”) and make a type of preserve. The juice is used as a dye for many needs, including the skin. The fruit is also used for respiratory ailments, and can be cooked into a cough and sore throat remedy. The wood is excellent for carving.

Agroforestry
Huito prefers alluvial soils, and grows very quickly (producing in 3 years), even in heavily flooded fields. It can be planted, but more often than not is cultivated from human, animal, or water-dispersed seeds. It should be spaced at least six meters apart. The canopy is large, but light, with frequent shedding of leaves. It serves as an excellent climbing tree to utilize for harvesting other trees that are difficult to climb. Popular in homegardens, the fruit attracts animals, which are then hunted.

The light canopy of a huito tree.

The light canopy of a huito tree.

Chopped huito fruit being prepared for a throat remedy.

Chopped huito fruit being prepared for a throat remedy.

Climbing a huito tree to reach palm fruits.

Climbing a huito tree to reach palm fruits.

The large fruits have many uses.

The large fruits have many uses.

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