Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert: Book VIII, Chapter XXXI (Of the tree called paco and its fruit)

Book VIII, Chapter XXXI

Of the tree called paco[1] and its fruit.

Translated by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert

Paco means slave in the language of Cueva in Castilla del Oro; but in Nicaragua and in the islands of the Gulf of Orotiña, and in other parts, there is a fruit the size of a closed fist or a bit bigger, elongated and brownish in color, but also found in a green color; but the fruit of the trees that bear the greenish fruit is rounder and looks like a quince. The peel is as thick as that of a pomegranate, but a lot softer, and once the peel is removed its flesh is wrapped in something like a very light gauze that remains stuck to the pit; when you bite on it the flesh comes off but the gauze remains attached to the pit. And even when you remove the peel, some of the flesh come off without the gauze. This fruit is sweet and good-tasting, and healthy, and it is cold. The pit is very large, so what there is to eat is little, particularly when taking the gauze into account. The trees that produce this fruit are not smaller than walnut trees in Spain, and the leave is the shape of that of the walnut, but a lot smaller. The wood and shade of these trees is very good; the tree and the fruit are known by the same name, which is paco. What I called the pit of these trees is not really a pit but a seed; and the sack is attached to a stiff and fibrous-like shell, inside which there is a large seed that fills the space, and which somewhat resembles a peeled grafted chestnut, like the seeds of the pears of the Mainland. This seed is not edible, because it is very hard and bitter, and the Indians do not hold it to be a good or useful thing, nor do they eat it, except for the fruit, which as I said is called paco, and they praise it as healthy.

[1] Most likely Mangifera domestica.

Image retrieved from John Crater Brown Library at Brown University.