Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

cambuca Marlierea edulis, a tree of the myrtle and eucalyptus family, grows wild in the southern coastal rainforests of Brazil. Its fruit is edible but, in the opinion of economic botanists, needs improvement before it is capable of exploitation. The medieval English game cambuca that is claimed as a distant ancestor of golf has nothing to do with it.

Nor does the similarly named Brazilian fruit cambuci (a myrtle too, Paivaea langsdorffii) which grows in the region of São Paulo, but is becoming increasingly rare. Its yellowy-green fruits, which look rather like ‘flying saucers’ some 6 cm (just over 2") in diameter, are appreciated locally. The juicy pulp has a sweet-sour flavour.