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Loganiaceae, Strychnos spp. (?), Panama

March 12, 2010

I found these fruit growing on a vine near the beach on an island off the Pacific coast of Panama. The fruit had an agreeable aroma so I tried it, and it was surprisingly good. Smells like cantaloupe. The texture is similar to ripe jackfruit. I didn’t eat too much for wont of not inadvertently poisoning myself. Any identification information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks to readers, I have come to the conclusion that this is most likely one of the many species of Strychnos. Many of the species have toxic properties, such as S. guianensis, used to make curare in S. America. Thus, despite the somewhat agreeable aroma and taste of the fruit, I will most likely not eat it.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2010 10:08:36 pm

    Did the fruits have one large seed in the middle (drupe), or several small ones (berry)? Was there any milky sap when you broke the stem? Were the leaves simple or compound?

  2. March 30, 2010 10:08:13 pm

    I hope you are all right. There is a high possibility that this fruit is in the genus Strychnos. Here’s a link to an image of Strychnos spinosaat wikimedia commons:

    I got there by using Gentry to track down 3-veined opposite leaves and large fruits. The Panama Tree Atlas lists one unidentified Strychnos species in Panama, and the image they have of the leaves is very suggestive of your plant. They do not have a flower or fruit image, however.

    The species that contains strychnine is, according to wikipedia, Strychnos nux-vomica, is a tree, and is not native to here. However, I’d worry about the toxicity of any plant in the genus.

    • April 7, 2010 10:08:10 pm

      the fruit had several smaller seeds, although not that small, all kind of packed together. There wasn’t much fruit around the seeds. Fruit was very aromatic, smelled somewhat like melon.

    • April 7, 2010 10:08:12 pm

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, the fruit in the photo on the link you provided does look very similar. It would be helpful to see the inside. I’ll peruse the internet for more photos.

  3. April 7, 2010 10:08:32 pm

    looks a lot like a passiflora. but without seeing the seeds or botanical guts it is difficult. happy trails

    • April 8, 2010 10:08:23 am

      Its not a Passiflora. The seeds are much larger, less numerous. They’re about the size of loquat (E. Japonica) seeds, packed together and surrounded by a thick fruit pulp.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    June 8, 2010 10:08:10 am

    looks like pepino dulce

  5. Anonymous permalink
    November 12, 2011 10:08:31 pm

    weiss moshe , Borojoa patinoi Cuatrec ?

  6. Anonymous permalink
    August 30, 2012 10:08:20 am

    i am in jamaica. the fruit looks like one we call mamee or mamee apple. there is another name but i can’t remember.


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