Bibliography on Parmentiera aculeata, Cuajilote

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Although there are scores of helpful articles on medicinal plants, edible plants, and other useful plants, in 90% of these Parmentiera species is only listed in tabulations with a single word (comestible) or just has a very simple page that again, only has one single word to indicate that the plant has an edible part. There is no meaty discussion of the plant’s edible aspects other than Angon (2006). So clearly it would be helpful to have additional MA, MS theses and PhD dissertations on the edible aspects of this plant, especially recipes. An additional question is whether the cuajilote was eaten by grandparents but has been dropped by today’s generation in favor of oranges, apples, and other non-native fruits. Plus, is there evidence of Parmentiera species in middens or pollen samples from pre-Columbian Mayan sites?

In this bibliography we will not focus on the books on forests which omit Parmentiera species in their coverage. There are several books on Belize which sadly omit Parmentiera species in their plant lists and/or index. Plus on forest trees of the Maya there is a book, in Spanish, with nice color photos of the trunk of most trees of the Maya area, and photos of fruit and/or flowers: but has ZERO mention of usage of Parmentiera. So we do not include in our bibliography this otherwise nice compilation of trees of the Maya.

There are many capable scholars who write about plants and forests, but also I too am unlikely to include every single solitary edible plant in my eight years of research, for the simple reason that every time I visit an archaeological site, the really good local guides mention edible aspects of vines, roots, or leaves that I was previously not familiar with. Plus my lists are focused on Guatemala; in El Salvador, Tabasco, Quintana Roo, surely there are plants that I still need to learn about.

This is why I work, plant by plant, to rescue edible and utilitarian plants from obscurity, to assist the Mayan, Xinca, and Garifuna people to improve their health.


PDF, Articles, Books on Parmentiera aculeata

  • ANGÓN-Galván, Pedro
  • 2006
  • Caracterización parcial del fruto de Paramentiera edulis. Universidad tecnológica de la mixteca. 58 pages.

    Available Online:

    This thesis, and Balick and Arvigo’s guide to the useful plants of Belize, are, so far, the only books I have yet found which give more than a single cell in a tabulation, or a single word “comestible” for this plant.

  • ATRAN, Scott., LOIS, Ximena and Edilberto UCAN
  • 2004
  • Plants of the Petén Itza’ Maya: Plantas de los maya itza’ del Petén. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Memoir 38. 248 pages.

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    Cuajilote is mentioned in the Spanish list of plants (p. 214) but since this book on many capable years of research has zero index, it is a challenge to find where this plant is actually discussed. With over 14,000 books in my research library, even with many helpful student research assistants, it is not realistic to search every page of a multi-hundred page book to find a single plant. The CD is searchable but there is not much chance that with so many people in the office that a single CD disk can be found after having the book for over a decade.

  • COOK, Suzanne
  • 2016
  • The Forest of the Lacandon Maya, An Ethnobotanical Guide. Springer. 379 pages.

    Sold Online:

    This is the most complete book on the plants of the Lacandon area of Chiapas. We are proud to have provided photographs for this book to the author from the FLAAR Photo Archive of Flora & Fauna.

  • de MacVEAN, Ana Lucrecia
  • 2003
  • Plantas útiles de Petén. Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. 157 pages.
  • HELLMUTH, Nicholas M.
  • 2011
  • Re-Identifying Flora and Fauna in Maya Art & the Popol Vuh. Prepared for Tulane University, October 2011.
  • This was a lecture prepared at the request of a student organization at Tulane University. 65 full color slides with text.

    This PPT presentation shows several of the most noticeable errors of archaeologists and iconographers misidentifying plants and animals in Mayan art. This lecture also addresses whether the Popol Vuh discussion of plants and animals is entirely mythological rhetoric, or whether what is described actually exists out in the fields, forests, rivers, and oceans of the Mayan lands.

    I show several fruits that if pictured on a Mayan vase would instinctively and instantly be labeled as cacao (but are not even related to cacao, though their pods are identical to fruits pictured in Mesoamerican paintings, figurines, and incensarios).

  • HELLMUTH, Nicholas M.
  • 2012
  • Fruits that grow from the trunk similar to cacao: Cuajilote or Caiba: Parmentiera aculeata a forgotten fruit.; look in the A to Z index.

    Further reading on cuajilote, Parmentiera edulis or Parmentiera aculeata can be found in publications of the Jardín Botánico de Cuernavaca, Morelos, México, Medicina Tradicional, Escuela de Enfermería, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos.
  • LUNDELL, Cyrus L.
  • 1938
  • Plants probably utilized by the Old Empire Maya of Petén and adjacent Lowlands. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters; vol. 24, pp: 37-56. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Other plants in the region having edible inflorescences, leaves, or fruits are Chamaedorea spp. (roil, chiat), Crotalaria maypurensis HBK., Ceiba aesculifolia (HBK.) Britt. & Baker (piim, pochote), Parmentiera edulis DC. (cot), and Physalis philadelphica L. (paknul, tomatillo).
  • MORALES-Sánchez, Viridiana., OSUNA-Fernández, Helia., BRECHÚ, Alicia., LAGUNA-Hernández, Guillermo and Rosario VARGAS-Solís
  • 2015
  • Evaluación del efecto antirolítico del fruto de Parmentiera aculeata en rata wistar. Botanical Sciences. Vol. 93, No.2. Pages 293-298.

    Available Online:
  • PARKER, Tracey
  • 2008
  • Trees of Guatemala. The tree press.

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    p. 92 copies-and-pastes material from other books. Sadly there is no citation anywhere in the book for specific material: there is only a bibliography at the end of every family. So you have to estimate that 80% of what is in her book is from Standley and his team.
  • 1958
  • Arboles Tropicales de Mexico. FAO, United Nations. 413 pages.

    El fruto es comido frecuentemente por el Ganado y en algunas zonas las personas los comen hervidos. (page 376).

    Helpful book; but not much on uses. Now exists in new edition which I will need to track down in my seven metric tons of books.
  • VILLARREAL-Ibarra, Edelia., GARCÍA-López, Eustolia., LÓPEZ, Pedro., PALMA-López, David., LAGUNES-Esponiza, Luz., ORTIZ-García, Carlos and Azucena ORANDAY-Cárdenas
  • 2014
  • Plantas útiles en la medicina tradicional de Malpasito-Huimanguillo, Tabasco, México. Polibotánica. No. 37. Pages 109-134.

    Available Online:
  • WILLIAMS, Louis O.
  • 1973
  • Parmentiera, Fieldiana, Bot. 36 (4) :27-29.

    Cited by Standley and Williams 1974:209 as the reference for their page on Parmentiera DC.

Suggested webpages with photos and information on Monstera deliciosa


First posted, April 2018

PNYNN and Livingston reports

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