Cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum), also spelled Cupuassu, Cupuazú,
and Copoasu, is a tropical rainforest tree related to cacao. Common
throughout the Amazon basin, it is widely cultivated in the jungles
of Colombia, Bolivia and Peru and in the north of Brazil, with the
largest production in Pará, followed by Amazonas, Rondônia and Acre.
Cupuaçu trees usually range from 5 to 15 meters (16 to 50 feet)
in height, though some can reach 20 meters (65 feet). They have
brown bark. Their leaves are 25–35 cm (10–14 in) long and 6–10 cm
(2–4 in) across, with 9 or 10 pairs of veins. As they mature, their
leaves change from pink-tinted to green, and eventually they begin
bearing fruit. Cupuaçu fruits are oblong, brown, and fuzzy, 20 cm (8
in) long, 1–2 kg (2–4 lb) in weight, and covered with a thick (4–7
mm), hard exocarp.
The white pulp of the cupuaçu is uniquely fragrant (described as
a mix of chocolate and pineapple), and it contains theacrine
(1,3,7,9-tetramethyluric acid) instead of the xanthines (caffeine,
theobromine, and theophylline) found in cacao. It is frequently used
in desserts, juices and sweets. The juice tastes primarily like a
pear, with a hint of banana.
The wood is also commonly used for timber. The pulp is also used
in cosmetics products such as body lotions, as is highly hydratating,
similar to cocoa butter.
Cupuaçu supports a phylogenetically intriguing butterfly
herbivore the "lagarta verde" Macrosoma tipulata (Hedylidae) which
can be a serious defoliator