Scientific Name: Eugenia dysenterica
Popular Names: Cagaita and Cagaiteira.
Botanical Family: Myrtaceae
Geographic distribution and habitat: The cagaita is a native Brazilian fruit, originating from the Cerrado. It occurs in Brazil in several Brazilian states as a native plant, mainly in the Center, Southeast, North and Northeast, being common in some states, such as Goiás, Minas Gerais and Bahia.
General features: A medium-sized tree that can reach 3 to 4 m in height with crooked branches. Green leaves, bright and when young light green, being slightly translucent. White and aromatic flowers. The fruit is globose and flat, pale yellow in color, with 1 to 3 white seeds wrapped in cream colored pulp, with acidic flavor.
Climate and soil: It occurs preferentially on high ground, in the Cerrados of altitude, above 800 meters. Prefers well-drained, clay or sandy soils. It occurs wildly in cerrado regions.
Uses: The pulp is consumed naturally. Despite the pleasant acid taste and soft texture, the cagaita should be consumed observing some precautions. This is because the fruit, if consumed warmed by the sun and in large quantities, has a strong laxative effect. The leaves have a constipating effect. In addition to the medicinal attributions and produce a very tasty juice, the fruit is used in the manufacture of processed products such as popsicles and ice cream. Academic research points out that cagaita is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. The pulp, with or without the peel, is energetic, with low calorie content.
Curiosities: Some of the species of this genus play an important socioeconomic role in certain regions, as they have fruits used for feeding (Eugenia neonitida, E. rontifolia, E. uniflora, E. edulis, E. dysenterica and E. candolleana, among others). used in ornamentation, produce essential oils of commercial value and are used in folk medicine in the treatment of various diseases.
Eugenia dysenterica DC, Myrtaceae, is a much appreciated fruit, native to the Brazilian cerrados. The cagaita is only sold in small volume and in its region of origin, being collected from native plants in several Brazilian states, more in the central region of the country. The fruits are small berries, yellow when ripe and have from 14 to 20 g, they are 3 to 4 cm in length and 3 to 5 cm in diameter. The bark is bright, yellow and membranous. The seed, one to three per fruit, cream and oval in weight, weighs on average 1.5 g. The flesh is juicy, acidic, but pleasant, with a laxative effect when hot or in large quantities. The fruits fall off their feet after ripening within 30 to 40 days after flowering. They have a good riboflavin content of 421 mcg; niacin, with 0.13 to 0.137 mg and 72 mg of ascorbic acid; 0.42 mg of vitamin B2. Its use, besides the natural one, is to make juice, jelly, sweets and liqueurs. In addition, its wood and bark can be used for tanning, in addition to leaves for medicinal purposes. The fruits are very perishable and should be picked and placed in boxes in small layers and consumed soon or placed in a refrigerator. Production takes place between October and December.
Studies from the Federal University of Goiás (SOUZA et al., 2008) show that there is little difference between populations regarding yield and that the fruit is able to harvest on average between 30 and 40 days after flowering in the rainy season.
Minerals - Calcium - 8-10 mg; iron - 0.02 mg; phosphorus - with 30 mg; sodium - with 2.9 mg.
Vitamins - 0.42 mg of vitamin B2; 18-72 mg vitamin C; 0.137 mg B3; vitamin A- 44.3 mcg.
According to Silva et al. (2008), have 20 kcal; 94% humidity; 0.82 g protein; 0.44 lipids; 3.08 g carbohydrate; 1.04 g of fibers; 8 mg of calcium; 0.02 mg of iron. They have a high value of fatty acids, polyunsaturated, linoleic and linolenic, with 10.5 and 11.8%, respectively.