We know the story of Adam and Eve who ate the forbidden fruit and were cast out from Garden of Eden. Coincidentally, my trek took me to Garden of Eden to locate a rare fruit and its tree of magical properties. This rare fruit cures a multitude of ailments while the resin from the tree is used to make love potions and magic rituals. Unfortunately I am ignorant of the love potion industry, but I am interested in fruits with healing properties.
The name of the fruit also piqued my interest and prompted my quest. This fruit is very tasty and appetizing, and carries the seductive name of “stinking toe”!
Yes, it is really called “stinking toe” because of its shape and smell. The fruit is shaped like a toe and encased in a rock hard shell that can only be cracked open by a hammer or large stone.
When the shell is broken, the exposed fruit smells like really stinky feet, hence the appropriate name. Despite the stinky feet smell however, the fruit is very delicious.
Bizarrefood.com refers to the stinking toe fruit as,”tasty and sweet, and downright addicting once you’ve tasted it for the first time”.
Although the tree is generally found deep in the rainforest, my research revealed that the stinking toe tree, although rare, can be found on the coast of Guyana, (formerly British Guiana) in South America. Since I am familiar with that region, it was an easy trek to get there. Several local senior residents knew of the stinking toe fruit, but no one seemed to know the location of a stinking toe tree.
I decided to fall back on Sherlock Holmes’ strategy. If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, you would have heard of “the Baker Street Irregulars”, a gang of street children who successfully gathered information for him. In similar fashion I enlisted my brother’s help in recruiting some local youths, and within two days I had a location. A tree was spotted in a village called Garden of Eden!
The stinking toe tree’s official name is Hymenaea courbaril, also called the Jatoba tree. It is a hardwood tree that usually grows up to 148 feet and may live for hundreds of years. The rainforest indigenous tribes have been using the jatoba leaves, bark, and fruit for centuries as herbal medicine. Recent clinical studies of the bark, leaves, and resin of the jatoba tree show that it has anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, molluscicidal, and anti-yeast properties. Present day medicinal use is widespread in South America as can be seen below in the chart from Raintree Tropical Plant Database.
As I mentioned earlier, I was successful in locating the stinking toe or jatoba tree. However, the tree was relatively young and not bearing any stinking toe fruit. But all is not lost…the local Baker Street irregulars, or to be specific, the local barefoot, stinking toe searchers are still on my payroll. As soon as I get a whiff of a stinking toe, I will pull on clean socks and boots, and dash off on a new trek!
The prehistoric Hymenaea tree family has existed on earth for millions of years, and the fossilized resin from these trees forms amber. As seen in Jurassic Park, some amber have been found with insects trapped inside for millions of years.