We’ve previously already covered the basics of all the different avocado varieties (you can check here). In this article, we will put a special focus on Maluma avocados, the benefits of Maluma avocados and how to identify Maluma avocados.
What is Maluma?
Maluma is a cultivar or avocado which was first discovered in South Africa. Mr. Dries Joubert first acknowledged the Maluma as an independent cultivar of avocado in the early 1990s and named it after his farm in Levbu – Farm Maluma. Joubert reported that his discovery was a chance seedling, not a specific breeding program. The exact origin of the cultivar remains unknown.
Maluma had been granted full export status in 2006, and after that – most avocado cultivators around the world began planting and selling Maluma avocados.
Maluma has a very creamy texture with a nutty taste, which makes it a preferred variety for making guacamole or avocado toast.
Sometimes, Maluma is also referred to as “Maluma Hass” because of the similarities in appearance to the Hass cultivar. However, there are some significant differences in appearance when it comes to Maluma avocados that other avocados do not have.
How to identify Maluma Avocados? What are the Characteristics of Maluma?
Because of the unknown origin, it was at first hard to pinpoint what the differences and similarities are between Maluma and other avocado cultivars in terms of botanical characteristics and, thus, how to properly identify maluma avocados. It appears to be closely related with Guatemalan varieties, while also bearing some Mexican gene characteristics.
Maluma is an “A” flower type avocado. The tree has more of upright growth with central leader tendency and an axial-irregular branching habit. The trees are not very large and tend to grow slower in a triangular shape, which makes Maluma great for smaller plantations as the trees can be placed closer together and are well suited for high-density cultivation practices.
The fruit itself is black when ripe, with medium skin thickness, and also a medium-sized seed. The skin is very rough and pebbly. It grows into a pyriform shape (pear-like) with an asymmetrical pedicel and can grow quite large – ranging from 150g all the way to 400g in terms of weight.
The general press-test works fine on the Maluma avocado, but the darkness of the skin makes it easier to know when it’s ripe – it is generally ripe when the skin has turned black and leathery.
How is Maluma Different from the Hass Cultivar?
Although they both look fairly similar and come from the Guatemalan family, Maluma and Hass cultivars are not synonymous, as many believe them to be (you can know more here).
Although both Maluma and Hass mature in about the same time in northern parts of America and Europe, when in the native South African conditions – Maluma tends to mature a month earlier in autumn than Hass does. In September, when Hass is usually still completely green, the Maluma experiences a noticeable color change.
The difference in the tree is easily noticeable – Maluma is more upright than Hass, but it is also generally smaller. The internodes in the branches are also shorter than those on Hass trees. The overall shape of the tree is triangular, while the Hass tree is more rounded. The growth vigor is thrifty, while the Hass portrays vigorous growth.
The fruit itself has a more prominent pear shape, with much glossier skin than the Hass variety features, while also being more pebbly. The fruit is also slightly larger and generally weighs more. Internally, the flesh is slightly paler than the flesh of the Hass variety. The taste of the flesh is less nutty than the Hass fruit, but the flavor is still stronger than the one of its counterpart. The texture is also a tiny bit creamier.
Benefits of Cultivating Maluma
Because of the aforementioned compactness of the tree, Maluma is great for high-density cultivation (you can check in this case study). Although the Hass is still generally more popular than Maluma, Maluma is slowly either taking its place or being cultivated right next to Hass because it tends to ripen 4-6 weeks earlier than Hass in autumn.
This is also the reason why some cultivators shift to Maluma from other avocado types when they don’t have the budget for the necessary equipment to prevent frost damage. Aside from earlier cultivation, Maluma is also very resistant to both cold and heat damage, so when cultivating in an area with inconsistent temperatures perhaps Maluma would be your go-to choice.
Maluma is a cultivar of the avocado tree that has been discovered very recently and had been slowly rising in popularity in the last decade since it has been approved for exportation. The dwarfing characteristics are very prominent on the tree itself, while the fruit ripens faster than the fruit of the Hass type, while also being bigger. This is why small-scale cultivators tend to reach for Maluma rather than other avocado types. It is also currently on demand because of its rich, creamy texture and nutty taste, making it a popular choice for avocado lovers across the globe.