Researchers have identified a new tree species with edible fruits from the Agasthyamalai hills of Western Ghats in India, The Hindu reports.
The large yellow fruit, which has a sweet flavour, has subsequently become a new edition to India’s fresh produce portfolio.
With a spongy texture and one solid seed inside, the fruit is believed to grow to the size of a small lemon, making it the largest edible fruit from any native Syzgium species found in Kerala.
According to taxonomist P. Sunjanapal, who led the team of researchers, the fruit abounds in the region of Agasthyamala, from Pongalappara to Chemmungi.
“It has been located from the high altitude stunted evergreen forest in the windward side of the Agasthyamala phytogeographical region of southern Western Ghats,” a research paper on the tree, published in the International Journal of Advanced Research, is reported as saying.
This fruit tree is one of approximately 300 that have been reported from this state. The tree itself possesses terracotta, tender leaves as well as the clusters of large yellow fruits.
Its flowering a fruiting season has been identified as from October to March.
Researchers identified forest fires as the primary threat the species faced given that all of its habitats were “interspersed with grassy patches in rocky areas”.