Shrimp Grape. The high Andean or paramo landscape is the natural development environment of the shrimp grape shrub which is a fairly common species in the South American countries traversed by the Andes Mountains .
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- 1 Names
- 2 Features
- 3 Distribution
- 4 Propagation
- 1 Propagation by seed
- 5 Uses
- 6 Sources
In Venezuela it is known by the common name of Cacaguito. In Ecuador the species is known by the names of Joyapa, Gualicón, Lucho, Ilucho or Gualicón ilucho. In Peru it is mentioned with the name of Manzanita. In Colombia, according to the regions, it receives the following names: In the departments of Cundinamarca and Boyacá it is known as shrimp and uvita grapes. In the departments of Cauca , Putumayo and Nariño it is called Chaquilulo.
This shrubby species with height from 1.50 to 2.30 meters, has a wide crown and branches well, almost at ground level. Sometimes it grows next to tall trees, ascends its branches mimicking a liana species. Well branched specimens can reach up to 4 meters in height.
Leaves. The leaves are elliptical or oval shaped, 11 centimeters long by 6 centimeters wide, fleshy, with a wide base and alternate position.
Flowers. In the form of a bottle, red in color they are fleshy and have a size of 32 millimeters in length by 10 millimeters in width. They have dark pink bracts like leaves that protect the flower buds. The flowers are producers of a good amount of nectar , which is why they are highly visited by different species of hummingbirds or flower-suckers who act as pollinators. They do not pollinate themselves, but need pollinating agents (birds).
Fruits and seeds. The fruits are round, fleshy and dark purple in maturity; They have an average size of 1.6 cm in diameter and a weight of 2.6 g. Fruits up to 3.2 g in weight and 1.8 cm in diameter are likely to be found. Each fruit contains approximately 96 seeds and the number of fruits per Kg is 380.
On the total weight of each fruit (2.6 g): 78% is pulp (2.03 g), 14% is peel or skin (0.36g) and 8% is seed (0.21g). The number of fruits per bunch is 28. The peduncle or section that joins the fruit to the bunch weighs 0.57g. The seeds are tiny 1.5mm in diameter: the number of seeds per fruit is 96 and the number of seeds per Kg is 204000.
It is distributed from Peru to Colombia and Venezuela , also in western Nicaragua , Costa Rica and western Panama ; It grows in forests, thickets, moors, open savannas between grasses and bushes, in humid and stony soils, in rich, sandy soils, in open areas, on stones, bushes and rocks.
The shrimp grape shrub has great hardiness and resistance to grow on stony substrates or soils, shallow and poor soils; it is still seen growing on almost vertical slopes of ravines. Its altitude growth range ranges from 2000 to 3500 meters above sea level; It thrives well in regions with rainfall greater than 600 millimeters of rain per year.
It is recommended to use the cutting or stake technique since the propagation by seed is very slow.
Propagation by seed
The fruits selected for the extraction of the seed must be collected directly from the bush, they must be ripe; that is, they have a color from dark purple to black, their size must be large; the amount of fruit collected must take into account that each one contains about 96 seeds.
The fruits are left to rest for three days in the environment, the seeds are extracted; they are soaked and left in water for a day. The seed is allowed to dry in the environment for three hours before sowing. The seedling or seedbed is made with sifted soil previously disinfected with fungicide, for example orthocide and Lorsban to counteract the cutworms.
The seeds are sown in furrows 4 millimeters deep, watering should be done gently so as not to dig up the seed. The initiation of germination occurs 3 weeks after planting, reaching a germination percentage of 60%. The growth of seedlings in the nursery is extremely slow, so that four months after germination, the seedling is 3 centimeters tall.
Transplanting the seedling into a bag or bed causes high mortality of the plants. The seedlings are transferred to the bag when they reach 5 centimeters in height. The bagged plant must be in the nursery for 12 months to reach 20 centimeters and be taken to the field.
This plant offers uses of great importance, in which we find: its fruits are used in folk medicine against dysentery, chronic diarrhea : it can be consumed directly or in juices, sweets, etc. Furthermore, its decoction leaves are used as antidiarrheals and in typhoid fevers.