Q – “Isn’t that a persimmon?” A – “They are distantly related to persimmons, but are not the same.”
Cocona is a tropical plant from the Solanaceae family. The fruit is a yellow-orange color and the leaves of the plant are large and hairy. The pulp is typically used for nectar, jams, candies, other sauces and most commonly for juice. (Information from Wikipedia.)
The cocona was first seen in 1760 in an Indian garden alongside maize and beans. In the 1940’s, seeds from the upper Amazon were planted at the Experiment Station in Tingo Maria, Peru! The majority of the production here is in the jungle at an altitude between 3,000-4,000 ft. However, in Florida and Trinidad it is grown on the coast.
Here in Peru, the plant is grown for commercial use. The canned juice is being exported to Europe. It is said cocona production is being encouraged by Gerber Baby foods. (Information from Purdue.)
Recently, on a trip to Educador we were introduced to Naranjillo, also known as Lulo in Colombia. The are also from the Solanaceae family, but again are not exactly the same fruit.