Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lipote Berries (Syzygium curranii)

Seedlings and rotten berries at the ground near the tree.
All throughout my life, I have known this tree as Duhat. That is what my parents told us it was. It is native in their hometown,in Catanduanes Island of Bicol and maybe that is where the seedling came from.

Just a couple of weeks ago, while browsing for plant nurseries where I could get some exotic fruit trees (I am really looking for grafted rambutan and lanzones. I consider them exotic though they are typical but seasonal fruits in the 

Philippines), I read an article about this familiar fruit tree we have in our background. Long ago I realized this tree is not duhat. The two has a resemblance but has different size, taste and leaves. That day, while browsing around (thanks to Google), I learned that it is indeed another species of the Mrytle family- Syzygium curranii aka Lipote.

Every summer, the lipote tree blooms with hundreds of flowers that will become black berries. Our relatives like lipote as well that when we brought them some, we cut the entire branch and present it to them that way. Imagine receiving an entire branch of fruit, who wouldn't be happy?

Lipote is a sour fruit. And since I'm not a fan of anything sour, my mother makes a solution so I could enjoy this fruit- placing some sugar. She placed the lipote berries in a bottle, place some sugar in it and shake it until the sugar dissolved and purple juice came out. Sometimes, we substitute the sugar with rock salt when we want it a bit salty.

I had fond childhood memories of this procedure coz siblings and I often rushed at the bilao (a woven circular tray made of bamboo) where father typically place the lipote berries he harvested. I always chose the berries that were big and fallen from the branch because these were the ripe fruits.

Hurray! We have in our backyard an exotic fruit you could not simply find everywhere in the metro.

Going back again to Google out of sheer curiosity, I read that this unknown and ignored fruit has a medicinal property that could help reduce incidence of hypertension, high blood cholesterol, heart disease and even cancer. I'm amazed!

For those interested to have a seedling of Lipote, please feel free to leave a comment. Every summer it blooms in full force that seedlings sprout abundantly in our backyard but simply end up drying or dying coz there is no place for another tree. I even planned of bringing some berries that I could plant in the mountain during my next hike. 

Lipote tree in out backyard.

A bunch of fruit in a branch.
Seedling that grow in between rocks.

Lipote seedlings.


  1. I'm interested in a seedling. I live in the USA.

  2. Hi Corn, thanks for the interest. However, I'm from the Philippines and I'm not sure if a live plant can be shipped abroad. Never tried it before. This month (May) the tree is fruiting abundantly and we are still waiting for seedlings to grow. I will try to transfer the seedlings in black plastic bags and see if the seeds will grow into a small trees.

  3. Hi! do you still have lipote seedlings, i'm interested to buy? I'm from Manila here's my email


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