Craboo Tree - Byrsonima crassifolia - Muréi
in Garifuna, also known as 'Nance', is native to Central
and South America, ranging from Southern Mexico all the
way to Peru and Brazil. In the Amazon it is called 'murici'.
It is also found in Cuba and most of the Eastern Caribbean.
In fact, the craboo's claim to fame is that it has the
widest native range of any fruit tree!
Craboo trees have elliptical-shaped leaves and bunches
of tiny, vibrant orange, yellow and red flowers that bloom
in May through June here in Belize. They can grow as high
as 10 meters (30 feet) and are found from Corozal to Punta
Gorda, and everywhere in between. They are drought tolerant
and grow well in sandy soils. The small yellow fruit averages
10-15 mm across and are ready in July and August. The
craboo tree is just one of 1100 species in the plant Family
Malpighiacea, known as the 'Barbados Cherry'
family. And as every Belizean knows, there are several
different varieties of craboo: some fruit are tiny and
bitter and others are large and sweet. The fruit don't
last long, but you can stretch their life by dropping
them in a bottle or jar of water. Most people enjoy them
mashed with milk, but you can eat them right off the ground
(the ripe ones fall to the ground), or buy a bag at the
markets. The fruits are rich in calcium and vitamin C.