Jamaican Fruit and Vegetables
This is part of an ongoing project to illustrate some chemistry
of Jamaican fruits and vegetables and as such it will always be
in construction. Check back regularly and look
for the last modified date at the bottom of each page.
Like most tropical countries, you would expect there to be a
wide range of exotic fruits growing either under cultivation or
wild in the country. A survey between 1950 and 1970 by the Botany
Department at UWI, Mona estimated that there were 173 families of
flowering flora that were native or fully naturalized in Jamaica
and this was further subdivided into 996 genera or 2888 species
Sir Hans Sloane documented many plant species during his stay
in Jamaica in the 17th century and his collection was the basis
of the British Natural History Museum.
In terms of fruit and vegetables, here is a selection of what
you might find in the market or served at the buffet table of
In the individual pages describing the chemistry, I have
attempted to identify the important sugars, acids, volatile
components, pigments, etc.
I have been reminded that ..
"The great poetry of the New World..... like
its fruits, its savor is a mixture of the acid and the sweet. The
apples of its second Eden have the tartness of experience. In
such poetry there is a bitter memory and it is the bitterness
that dries last on the tongue. It is the acidulous that supplies
its energy. The golden apples of this sun are shot with acid. The
taste of Neruda is citric, the Pomme de Cythere of
Cesaire sets the teeth on edge, the savor of Perse is of salt
fruit at the sea's edge, the sea-grape, the "fat-poke", the sea
almond. For us in the archipelago the tribal memory is salted
with the bitter memory of migration"
A quote from Derek Walcott, "The Muse of History", in Is Massa
Day Dead? ed. Orde Coombs, Doubleday/Anchor, New York 1974. For
further information on this famous West Indian (born in St
Lucia), the 1992
Nobel Laureate in literature see http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/walcott.htm
The botanical names for the selection above were taken from:
"Flowering Plants of Jamaica", C.D. Adams, Robert MacLehose and
Company Limited, The University Press, Glasgow, 1972.
Return to links to the chemistry of other
Jamaican items, including bauxite, coffee, and spices.
Return to Chemistry, UWI-Mona,
Copyright © 1995-2013 by Robert John Lancashire, all rights
Created and maintained by Prof. Robert J.
The Department of Chemistry, University of the West Indies,
Mona Campus, Kingston 7, Jamaica.
Created Feb 1995. Links checked and/or last
modified 25th November 2013.