DUENDE
(Cavendishia grandifolia)

 

 

A plant of duende

 

 

Family: Ericaceae

Other names: Neotropical blueberry

Duendue is a little known fruit from Central Tropical America.  It is believed to have originated in Ecuador.  This fruit has shot into prominence during the last few decades when it was discovered to be a much better source of antioxidants than the temperate blueberries, containing.  Analysis of this blue berry carried out at the New York Botanical Garden revealed that this fruit could have 2-4 times anti oxidants than the temperate blueberries. 

            As duende is grows in the tropics of the Central America or Neotropics, so it has been christened as a neotropical blueberry.  This fruit has now started gaining commercial importance.

Description:

A terrestrial shrub with one main erect stem or pendent branches to 3 m long;  stem subterete, broadly angled, striate, glabrous, weakly glaucous, drying irregularly flattened due to high pith/wood ratio;  twigs subterete, striate, glabrate. 

Leaves thick-coriaceous, elliptic, oblong-elliptic, or lance-elliptic, 26-45 x 7-20 cm, base rounded or obtuse, apex long- or short-acuminate to cuspidate, margin conspicuously thickened, slightly revolute at middle becoming tightly revolute at base, moderately pilose on both surfaces when young otherwise glabrate;  3-5(-7)-plinerved from base, midrib and lateral nerves stout, weakly impressed or slightly raised above, conspicuously raised beneath, reticulate veinlets raised on both surfaces;  petiole subterete, sometimes flattened adaxially, rugose, glabrate, 12-25 mm long and 3-7 mm diam. 

Developing fruits of duende

Inflorescence 20-30-flowered, surrounded at base by 6-8 coriaceous, persistent, ovate bracts, 7-15 mm long;  rachis sharply angled when dry, glabrous, 13-30 cm long and 5-8 mm diam., green or green suffused with pink;  floral bract ovate, oblong-ovate, 28-40 x 17-23 mm, basally clasping and auriculate, glabrous although distal 1/4 and especially apex ciliate, dark rose;  pedicel terete, slightly swollen distally, glabrous, ca. 25 mm long and 3(-5 distally) mm diam., rose-red, becoming essentially a hollow cylinder (except for included stele) when dry;  bracteoles oblong, obtuse, 7 x 3 mm, glabrous, each margin with 5-6 stout, tooth-like, callose glands. 

Flowers with calyx glabrous, ca. 13 mm long when fresh but drying 7-8 mm, rose-red;  hypanthium a fleshy, apophysate rim 3 mm long;  limb cylindric, smooth, 10 mm long (drying 4-5 mm);  lobes triangular, acute, ca. 2 mm long, connivent after anthesis, each margin bearing along its edge an oblong, usually curved or crescent-shaped, slightly thickened gland ca. 2.5 mm long which is black when fresh, the glands not contiguous at lobe apex;  sinuses obtuse;  corolla cylindric, constricted at throat, glabrous, 33-34 mm long and 8 mm diam., light yellowish-green with white lobes (lobe margins purple), the lobes deltate, spreading at anthesis, ca. 1 mm long;  stamen ca. 27 mm long;  filaments weakly coherent at base, geniculate and there densely short-pilose on ventral surface, alternately ca. 4 mm and 8 mm long;  anthers alternately ca. 26 mm and 21 mm long;  thecae alternately ca. 11 mm and 8.5 mm long;  style ca. 35 mm long.

Fruit a berry, small, blue.

Utilization:

The small blue coloured fruits of duende are not only edible but are also pleasant to eat.  As already stated, they have a very high content of antioxidants. The demand for these fruits is picking up.  Some health supplements based uponf these fruits have also appeared in the market.

Cultivation:

The blueberries of duende are mostly collected from wild growing plants.  But in view of the sudden spurt in demand for these fruits, attempts are being made to domesticate it.

            New plants can be raised from seed as well as cuttings.  The young should be planted 1.5 m apart in rows 2-25 m apart.

            There is no special skill required for growing duende plants.

 

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