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Mocambo (Theobroma bicolor) The Jaguar Tree

September 2, 2020

Mocambo Theobroma Bicolor is also commonly known as macambo, pataxte, pataxte cacao, pataste, patashe, cacao cimarrón, and even cacao blanco, inducing confusion with copuazú Theobroma grandiflorum.

In the Peruvian Amazon it is called macao, majambo, wakampe. There the pulp of the fruit is consumed as fresh fruit, its thick, large and hard peel is used as a container.

Its name comes from the fact that it has two colors, which is why it is called jaguar tree.


The mocambo tree characteristics

Trees from 7 to 12 m high. Its trunk is gray, the leaves are alternate, oblong or oval in shape. The fruit is woody, oblong or subglobose-ellipsoidal in shape.

Theobroma bicolor
Theobroma Bicolor
Mokkie / CC BY-SA

The pericarp is hard, with prominent ribs and reticulated intercostal spaces. Its color is greenish brown when unripe, turning yellow or reddish yellow when ripe.

The pulp covering the seeds is cream or pale yellow in color. This species is probably native to Central America and is widespread from Mexico to northeastern Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru.

The mocambo fruit characteristics

The fruit of Theobroma bicolor is a berry, the largest of the Theobroma genus. It reaches 25 to 35 cm in length and 12 to 15 cm in width.

The mocambo is a fruit rich in fiber and vitamin C.
The mocambo is a fruit rich in fiber and vitamin C. Source: Sabores de la selva on Pinterest

Its weight varies from 0.5 Kg to 3 Kg. The tree produces between 15 to 40 fruits per harvest. Each fruit contains, on average, about 40 seeds, 16 to 30 mm long and 14 to 25 mm wide, covered by a fibrous, succulent aril.

The fruit is composed, on average, of 27% pulp, 59% peel and 14% seeds. This means that there is a lot of waste if the peel is not used productively.

Uses of mocambo

Macambo has been used in food since pre-Columbian times by the Mayan people. Its use was so relevant that it is mentioned in the Popol Vuh, when a drink called pataxte was elaborated.

It is currently used in Mexico to make candies, such as marzipan and nougat, and even chocolate, mixing its beans with those of Theobroma cacao.

Mocambo Theobroma bicolor
Mocambo Theobroma bicolor
Juan Gpe Ignacio / CC BY-SA

It also prepares “aguas frescas”, popular drinks in Mexico. In the Oaxaca region, a traditional drink known as popo or capuchino oaxaqueño is made.

Nutritional value of mocambo

Experimental research has shown that the seeds of the T. bicolor contain about 51% fat, 17% protein and 13% fiber, which gives it a high nutritional potential and the possibility of becoming a promising ingredient for a functional food and to be a raw material of interest for the chocolate industry.

In this sense, chocolate coating has been made from seeds of T. bicolor and T. grandiflorum.


Torres, D. E. G., Assunção, D., Mancini, P., Torres, R. P., & Mancini‐Filho, J. (2002). Antioxidant activity of macambo (Theobroma bicolor L.) extracts. European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology104(5), 278-281. Fuente

Lim, T. K., & Lim, T. K. (2012). Theobroma bicolor. Edible Medicinal And Non Medicinal Plants: Volume 3, Fruits, 204-207 FUENTE

González, A. A., Moncada, J., Idarraga, A., Rosenberg, M., & Cardona, C. A. (2016). Potential of the amazonian exotic fruit for biorefineries: The Theobroma bicolor (Makambo) case. Industrial Crops and Products86, 58-67. Fuente

Jee, M. H. (1984). Composition of the fat extracted from the seeds of Theobroma bicolor. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society61(4), 751-753. Fuente

Quijano, C. E., & Pino, J. A. (2009). Analysis of volatile compounds of cacao maraco (Theobroma bicolor Humb. et Bonpl.) fruit. Journal of Essential Oil Research21(3), 211-215. PDF

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