The lúcuma (Pouteria lucuma) is a subtropical fruit native to the
Andean region. Lucuma has been found on ceramics at burial sites of
the indigenous people of coastal Peru. The Moche people had a
fascination with agriculture and often chose to represent fruits and
vegetables, including lucuma, in their art.
The fruit is also available in large quantities in Lao People's
The fruit was first seen and reported by Europeans in the
Chinchasuyu region of the Inca Empire in 1531. It is sometimes known
as lucmo. It is also called "eggfruit" in English, a common name
also given to the closely related canistel (Pouteria campechina).
The name "eggfruit" refers to the fruits' dry flesh, which is
similar in texture to a hard-boiled egg yolk. The lucuma has
particularly dry flesh which possesses a unique flavor of maple and
sweet potato. It is a very nutritious fruit, having high levels of
carotene, vitamin B3, and other B vitamins. The round or ovoid
fruits are green, with a bright yellow flesh that is often fibrous.
It grows at temperate elevations, between 1,000-2,400 metres.
Temperatures of its elevated native range make the species
technically subtropical, even though its native region is strictly
tropical. It has been grown successfully in subtropical foothills of
California. Attempts at growing lucuma in Florida's climate
typically fail. In addition to Ecuador, Peru, and Chile, the fruit
is grown also to a limited extent in Bolivia and Costa Rica. It
grows well in most tropical regions, but is not widely favored.
Within its own genus there are multiple species considered to have a
superior flavor, such as the Mamey (Pouteria sapota), Abiu (P.
caimito), Canistel (P. campechina), Green Sapote (P. viridis).
It has recently become popular as a dried powder flavoring, and
production of fruits dried for export is increasing on a large
scale. Lúcuma is a popular flavoring for ice cream in its native
range, and in Chile and Peru even exceeds the demand for the only
other commercially obtainable flavors in Peru, i.e. strawberry,
chocolate, and vanilla