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Exotic Fruits and Vegetables of Oaxaca and Mexico, III

Page 3 of 5 pages, page 1, page 2, page 4 and page 5 (Chiles)

Limoncillo, see Spanish Lime


mamey zapote

Mamey (Pouteria sapota) is native to Mesoamerica and Cuba. The texture of mamey is similar to that of a cantaloupe on the outside and the texture of papaya on the inside. When mamey is ripe, it will feel like a ripe avocado, a bit soft in a few places. Mameys are sweet and taste somewhat like sweet potato and pumpkin. Mamey is eaten raw and often is made into milkshakes, smoothies or ice cream. Mamey can also be used to make marmalade and jelly. Mamey seeds are used in making tejate, a non-alcoholic drink made of maize, cacao, mamey seeds and flowers of cacao. The skin of the mamey fruit is not eaten. Click here for a larger image of mamey.

Mamón, see Spanish Lime


Mango display

Mangos (Mangifera indica L.) or mangoes in English originate from south Asia. They are a very common fruit in Mexico and come in a variety of sizes. Mangoes are the gods gift to mankind and they are my favorite fruit.

Mango leaes are said to help to lower blood sugar levels. A friend of mine boils 5 leaves of fresh criollo mango leaves, you need newer younger leaves, in a liter of water for a few minutes and then drinks the water through out the day. He had a blood sugar level of 345 mg/dL and brought it down with medicine, he then started drinking the mango leaf tea and was able to quit taking the medicine altogether.

Marigold, see Mexican Marigold

Manzanilla, see Camomile

Manzanita, see Tejocote



Maracuyá or passion fruit in English. Maracuyá can be made into a popular seasonal drink, blend the fruit of 4 or 5 maracuyá, orange juice, water and perhaps some honey for agua de maracuyá. For a larger image of maracuyá click here.


Marañón (Anacardium occidentale L.) or cashew tree produces the cashew apple or marañón in Spanish and the cashew nut or nuez de la india. It originates from the Amazon delta area of South America.

The cashew apple is ripe when it turns yellow and as it continues to ripen it will red. To eat or should I say drink the fruit, bite off the top of the fruit and then suck out the juice. On the bottom of the fruit is the cashew nut which is best left alone. The nut that grows inside the hard shell that contains a sticky toxic oil much like poison ivy. The nut must be roasted or steamed to allow processors to remove the shell easier. (The fumes from roasting or steaming are also toxic.) The fruit cost about a peso each or U.S. 5 cents each (Nov. 2017). For a larger image click of red marañón click here and for a larger image of yellow marañón click here.

Mexican Hawthorn, see Tejocote

Mexican Marigold

Tagetes erecta

Mexican marigold (Tagetes erecta) is also known as Aztec marigold and even African marigold even though the plant originates from the Americas. In Mexican Spanish, the plant is called cempasúchil and flor de muertos. The flower petals are edible and are said to have medicinal properties.

Mexican truffle, see Huitlacoche

Miltomate, see Tomatillo



Mint is called menta in Spanish. There are 6,870 species of of mint and oregano of which 303 grow in Mexico.[mint1] Click here for a larger image.

Míspero, see Níspero

Moringa gets its own page, Moringa


Nanche display

Nanche (Byrsonima crassifolia) are also nanchi, nance, chaparro and are called nantzincuáhuitl and nanzinxócotl in Nahuatl.[nanche1] Nanche originate from Mesoamerica. The fruit of the Nanche tree can be found year round but are most common August through November. By far most varieties of the fruit are yellow when ripe, but ripe nanche can also be red or even green. They can be eaten raw, cooked as a dessert and can be used to flavor mezcal. The above picture has a bowl of fresh yellow nanche. Nanche tastes like butterscotch, inside the fruit there is a small seed about twice the size of lime seed, its not meant to be eaten.

In the jar and on the plate above are brownish nanches curados. Nanches curados are made from nanche that has been soaked in mezcal (a type of alcohol) and panela (a slightly refined sugar) for seven months to a year. The panela causes the fruit to change color and gives the mezcal a different flavor.

The first image below is of red nanches or nanches rojos. Click here for a larger image of a red nanches. The second image is of red and yellow nanches. Click here for a larger image of the nanches.



Níspero or míspero (Eriobotrya japonica) originates from Asia. Nísperos are about the size of grapes and taste like them too, just a bit stronger flavor. The fruit is mostly used as an ornamental decoration and is often placed on Day of the Dead alters. The seeds are not edible. For a larger image of níspero click here.


Morinda citrifolia

Noni (Morinda citrifolia) or Indian mulberry is called "noni" in both English and Spanish. Noni originates from Southeast Asia and Australasia and grows easily in southern Mexico. Its not a commonly eaten fruit and I have never seen it for sale in the market. Noni has a bitter flavor and is said to have a pungent odor when ripening, I have been near this tree more than a few times without noticing the odor. For a larger image of noni click here.

Míspero, see Níspero

Nopal (Prickly Pear) gets its own page, Nopal

Nopal de Cruz

Nopal de Cruz

Nopal de cruz (Acanthocereus tetragonus) has three ridges and can be cooked and made into a side dish. I have seen it in the country side being used as fences. For a larger image click here.

Estrella de Nopal

Estrella de Nopal is similar to Nopal de Cruz but instead of having three ridges, it has five.

Nuez de la India, see Marañón



Ocote usually comes from the pine tree commonly called "pino de Moctezuma" (Pinus montezumae) but sometimes other types of pine trees will do. Its wood is mainly used in construction. Ocote, which is rich in resin, is also used as fire starter and is commonly found in Mexican markets in small bundles similar to the one found in the picture. A bundle like the one shown will cost 10 pesos or U.S .50 cents (Nov. 2019).

The wood can also be carved into a talisman, such as a cross, to protect one from mal de ojo or "evil eye." The resin itself is said to have some medicinal purposes, mainly for the skin.

Oreja de León, see Peperomia

Palo de Vibora

Palo de Vibora

Palo de Vibora. Used to clean kidneys. These wood chips are soaked in water for a few days. The chips are removed before drinking. It doesn't taste bad at all. For a larger image of palo de vibora click here.

Panela, see Sugarcane



Papaya (Carica papaya) is the same word in Spanish and in English. Papaya originates from Central and South America and is grown commercially along the coast of Oaxaca. When the papaya is yellowish orange, it is ready to be eaten. The skin is not edible and usually the seeds are thrown out although they too are edible. Eating the seeds (around nine) is believed to keep away parasites. For a larger image of papaya click here.

Passion fruit, see Maracuyá


peach criollo

Peach (Prunus persica) or durazno in Spanish originate from Asia. There are hundreds of types of peaches including this small sized peach which grows in Oaxaca, locally known as durazno criollo.



Pear (Pyrus L.) or pera in Spanish originate from the Old World. There are now over 3000 varieties. The first image is of a common pear that is imported from Chile or Argentina. Pears used to be a rare and costly treat and as such were and still are wrapped in a colorful tissue paper to help protect the fruit from bruising.

The first image below is of a small pear known locally as pera paraíso and is by far the tastiest, sweetest pear I have ever eaten. The second and much larger is a pear locally known as pera prieto which has a slightly darker color and a bit less sweet. Both of these pears are found in the market in May, June and July.


There are around 1000 species in the genus Peperomia, most of which are native to the Americas. Many are grown as indoor ornamental plants in the cooler climates of North America. Some species of Pepermonia are edible and some have medicinal uses as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.[peperomia1]

Oreja de León

Oreja de León (Peperomia maculosa)? Although not commonly found in Mexican markets, you can find 5 or 6 leaves selling for 10 pesos or .50 USD. The leaves, which taste like cilantro are used in Mexican cooking as a spice, especially in beans and soups. For a larger image click here.

Pepino Amarillo, see Cucumber, yellow

Piloncillo, see Sugarcane

Pimiento morrón, see Bell Pepper

Pitahaya or Pitaya, see Dragon Fruit

Plantains, see Bananas



Plum is called ciruela in Spanish. Most fruits that are called plums belong to the subgenus (Prunus) of the genus (Prunus) There is disagreement among taxonomist as to how many species of plums there are. Plums are native to Europe, Asia and the Americas. Dried plums are called prunes and in Spanish are called ciruelas pasas. Plums and prunes are commonly found in Mexican markets.

In Mexico and Central America there is a fruit called ciruela that looks like a plum but it is not, nor is it related to the genus of (Prunus). The fruit is called jocote or ciruela de huesito. For more about jocote go here: Jocote.



Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is called Granada in Spanish. For a larger image click here.

Prickly Pear fruit, see Nopal

Prune, see Plum

Pumpkin Seeds, see Squash Seeds


Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is verdolaga in Spanish. Purslane is an old world plant but now grows all over the Americas including in my yard. It is mainly used in soups in Mexico. Click here for a larger image of purslane and here for the closeup view.

(Quararibea funebris)

Quararibea funebris

(Quararibea funebris), commonly known as flor de cacao or rosita de cacao. The aromic flower is sometimes used as a spice, particularly with chocolate drinks. (Quararibea funebris) is native to Mexico and Central America. The flower of (Quararibea funebris) is used in making tejate, a non-alcoholic drink made of maize, cacao, mamey seeds and the flower of (Quararibea funebris).



Rambután or Rambutan in English originates from Asia and now prospers throughout Central America. The outer shell and the seed inside of the fruit in not to be eaten.

Ricinus communis, see Higuerilla

Rosita de Cacao, see (Quararibea funebris)

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Page 3 of 5 pages, page 1, page 2, page 4 and page 5 (Chiles)

Footnotes and Notes

  1. Mint1. Mentas y Oréganos. Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad. Spanish. Retrieved March 2018.
  2. Nanche1. Byrsonima crassifolia. Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad. Spanish. Retrieved March 2018.
  3. Peperomia1. Deane, Green. Eat the Weeds and other things, too. Peperomia. Retrieved Febraury 2019.

Photo Credits

Photo of (Quararibea funebris) is in the Public Domain and originates from Quararibea funebris. Spanish. Retrieved 7 April, 2019.

Photo of Mexican Marigold is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International. The photo originates from Tagetes erecta. Retrieved 7 April, 2019.

All other photos taken by Marc Wilkinson. I, the copyright holder, hereby publish these photos under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0).