Front Cover
 Board of control and staff
 Climatic restrictions
 Species and varieties
 Index of plants
 Historic note

Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida Agricultural Extension Service ; 156A
Title: Miscellaneous tropical and sub-tropical Florida fruits
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00020576/00001
 Material Information
Title: Miscellaneous tropical and sub-tropical Florida fruits
Series Title: Bulletin - University of Florida Agricultural Extension Service ; 156A
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Mowry, Harold
Mowry, Harold
Toy, L. R.
Wolfe, H. S.
Ruehle, George D.
Publisher: Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1958
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00020576
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAB2837
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
    Board of control and staff
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Climatic restrictions
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Species and varieties
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
    Index of plants
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
    Historic note
        Page 117
Full Text

Bulletin 156A June 1958
/, -! .4 (A Revision of Bulletin 109. Bulletin 156 Originally Printed in April 1953)

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida,
Florida State University and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director




Revised by


Fig. 1.-The ceriman in flower and fruit.

Single copies free to Florida residents on request to

f r ~ilFjt:l I



James J. Love, Chairman, Quincy S. Kendrick Guernsey, Jacksonville
Ralph L. Miller, Orlando James D. Camp, Ft. Lauderdale
J. J. Daniel, Jacksonville J. B. Culpepper, Ph.D., Executive Director,
W. C. Gaither, Miami Tallahassee


Willard M. Fifield, M.S., Provost for
Agriculture 1
Marshall O. Watkins, D.P.A., Director
J. N. Busby, B.S.A., Assistant Director
Forrest E. Myers, M. Agr., Assistant to
the Director


J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editor
M. H. Sharpe, Ph.D., Assistant Editor
William G. Mitchell, M.A., Assistant Editor
Jack W. McAllister, B.S., Assistant Editor
K. S. McMullen, M. Agr., District Agent
F. S. Perry, M. Agr., District Agent
W. J. Platt, Jr., M.S.A., District Agent
C. W. Reaves, M.S.A., Dairy Husbandman
T. W. Sparks, B.S.A., Assistant Dairy
Howard B. Young, M.S.A., Asst. Extension
N. R. Mehrhof, M. Agr., Poultry Husband-
man 1
J. S. Moore, M.S.A., Poultryman
A. W. O'Steen, B.S.A., Supervisor Egg-Lay-
ing Test, Chipley
L. W. Kalch, B.S.A., Asst. Poultry Husband-
T. J. Cunha, Ph.D., Animal Industrialist
J. E. Pace, M.S.A., Animal Husbandman
R. L. Reddish, Ph.D., Associate Animal
K. L. Durrance, B.S.A., Assistant Animal
Thomas G. Herndon, M.S.A., Farm Forester
A. S. Jensen, B.S., Assistant Forester
H. G. Hamilton, Ph.D., Agricultural
Economist 1
E. W. Cake, Ph.D., Marketing Economist
R. A. Eastwood, Ph.D., Economist in
Clifford Alston, M.S.A., Farm & Home
Development Specialist
C. C. Moxley, Ph.D., Associate Economist
E. W. McElwee, Ph.D., Ornamental
Horticulturist 1
Fred P. Lawrence, M. Agr., Citriculturist
Jack T. McCown, M. Agr., Assistant
William H. Mathews, M. Agr., Assistant
R. W. White, Jr., M.S.A., Assistant
S. A. Rose, M.S., Assistant Ornamental
W. W. Brown, M. Agr., Boys' 4-H Agent
G. M. Godwin, M. Agr., Asst. Boys' 4-H
Club Agent

1Cooperative, Other Divisions, U. of F.
2In cooperation with U. S.

B. J. Allen, M. Agr., Asst. Boys' 4-H Club
T. C. Skinner, M. Agr., Agricultural
Saint Elmo Dowling, M.A., Assistant
Agricultural Engineer
A. M. Pettis, M.S.A., Assoc. Agricultural
John D. Haynie, B.S.A., Apiculturist
V. L. Johnson, Rodent Control Specialist2
J. Russell Henderson, M.S.A., Agronomist
S. L. Brothers, B.S.A., Assistant Agronomist
F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Vegetable Crops
Specialist 1
Stanley E. Rosenberger, M. Agr., Assoc.
Marketing Spec. in Veg. Crops
J. D. Norton, M.S., Assistant Vegetable
Crop Specialist
Mason E. Marvel, M.S., Assistant Vegetable
Crop Specialist
James Montelaro, Ph.D., Associate Vegetable
Crops Specialist
James E. Brogdon, M. Agr., Entomologist
John H. Herbert, Jr., M.S.A., Assistant Soil
Granville C. Horn, Ph.D., Soils Specialist


Anna Mae Sikes, M.S., State Agent
Eunice Grady, M.S., Assistant to State HDA
Helen D. Holstein, M.A., District Agent
Mrs. Edith Y. Barrus, B.A., District Agent
Joyce Bevis, M.A., District Agent
Mrs. Bonnie J. Carter, B.S., Home Improve-
ment Specialist
Mrs. Gladys Kendall, B.A., Home Industries
and Marketing Specialist
Emily King, M. Ed., State Girls' 4-H Club
Anne Elizabeth Thompson, M. Ed., Asst.
State Girls' 4-H Club Agent
Alice L. Cromartie, M.S., Extension
Susan R. Christian, M.S., Assistant Nutr.
Farm & Home Development Spec.
Elizabeth Dickenson, M.A., Clothing and
Textile Specialist
Alma Warren, M.A., in L.S., Asst. Editor
and Visual Aids Specialist
Frances C. Cannon, M.S., Asst. Health
Education Specialist


Floy Britt, B.S.H.E., District Agent
J. A. Gresham, B.S.A., District Agent


Former members of the Agricultural Experiment Station staff
Revised by
Vice-Director in Charge, Subtropical Experiment Station, Homestead
Florida, in having a climate which is the nearest approach
to tropical in the continental United States, is peculiarly fitted
for the production of a wide variety of tropical and subtropical
fruits and plants. In sections that rarely experience heavy frosts
mean minimum temperatures are high enough not to retard
growth of numerous plants tropical in requirements. This is
evidenced not only by the many native species, both herbaceous
and arboreal, closely allied to or identical with the flora of the
West Indies, but also by the thrifty growth of numerous exotic
plants from both the New and Old World tropics.
Several fruits common to Northern states do not thrive in
Florida and no attempt is made to grow them in a commercial
Wide competition in the production of many of the tender
species does not have to be met, owing to the restricted area
adapted to their culture, and the returns per unit for these fruits
should be higher than for the abundant, commonly-grown vari-
eties of more temperate regions. Strict grading, careful and
attractive packing, and intelligent marketing are necessary in
order that top prices may be secured. Many of the tropical or
subtropical fruits can be marketed wholly or in part as manu-
factured products in forms such as jellies, marmalades, etc.,
which partially removes the uncertainty connected with the mar-
keting of perishable products.
The general fruit-consuming public is ignorant of the quali-
ties of most tropical fruits. The banana and pineapple, of the
tropics, and the citrus fruits, of the subtropics, are now the best
known and are considered almost indispensable in the fruit diet,
even though fruits of the temperate zone are available. The
avocado and mango are gaining in favor. Several others, as the
papaya, cherimoya, lychee, sapote, guava, and sapodilla, are well
known and highly prized in various parts of the tropical world
but are scarcely known in the United States except in those re-
stricted areas where they are grown.
Some fruits are not desirable for consuming fresh but can
be utilized to advantage in making jellies, jams, marmalades,

Florida Cooperative Extension

preserves, and butters. Such products are now being prepared
commercially but the quantity could be materially increased,
since undoubtedly there is a wide market for them when properly
prepared and attractively packed.
Much information concerning the chemical composition of
tropical and subtropical fruits may be found in three publications
of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station: Bulletins 237,
283, and 482. 1
Citrus fruits and strawberries-the state's two major fruit
crops-and some other fruits which are grown in greater or
lesser quantities, as pineapples, avocados, mangos, blueberries,
blackberries, grapes, figs, Japanese persimmons, papayas, guavas,
sapodillas, lychees, tropical black raspberries, peaches and pears,
are not included.
The list of fruits dealt with is intended to include those mis-
cellaneous species which by actual trial have shown their adapt-
ability to the soils and climatic conditions obtaining in Florida,
but most of which are not yet grown in quantity. Two of the
species included in the 1941 edition (Bul. 109), although adapted
to Florida conditions, have been omitted from this revision be-
cause they are grown almost exclusively as ornamentals and
their fruit is almost never utilized. These are Ceropia palmata
Willd. and Pleiogynium solandri Engl.

That portion of Florida south of Palm Beach on the East
Coast and Bradenton on the West Coast, exclusive of much of
the Everglades, is considered the most tropical. Localities out-
side this area that have the benefit of higher elevation or water
protection, or both, seldom experience frosts. Some of these
locations will support tropical species as well as will areas much
to the south. The periods of cold in many places are of such light
degree of intensity and of such short duration that the injury
sustained, if any, is usually slight. There is no frost line in the
state; all parts of the peninsular portion have at some time exper-
ienced frost. A record of minimum temperatures and other cli-

1 Abbott, Ouida D. General Properties of Some Tropical and Sub-Trop-
ical Fruits of Florida. Fla. Ag. Exp. Sta. Bul. 237. 1931. (Out of print;
consult in libraries.)
Stahl, A. L. Composition of Miscellaneous Tropical and Sub-Tropical
Florida Fruits. Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 283. 1935. (Out of print; consult
in libraries.)
French, R. B., 0. D. Abbott, and Ruth O. Townsend. Levels of thiamine,
riboflavin and niacin in Florida-produced foods. Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul.
482. 1951.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

matic data for the various parts of the state is available in Bulle-
tin 200 of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. 2
Tropical plants cannot be expected to thrive in locations
which are often subjected to temperatures below freezing. Many
of them can endure a few degrees of freezing if the cold is not
of sustained duration. Ordinarily there is no pronounced dor-
mant season with these plants. Some are deciduous, being with-
out foliage for short periods, but the time of leaf shedding may
be induced more by wet or dry seasons than by temperature alone.
Freedom from cold of an intensity that will cause material
damage, and ample soil moisture-coupled with drainage-are
basic requirements that must be met if tropical plants are to
be grown successfully. When the probable climatic requirements
of a plant are known its adaptability to a given area, insofar
as the temperature factor is concerned, can be determined in a
large measure by a knowledge of the past mean temperatures
of the location in question. While the sustained minimum tem-
peratures experienced usually decide whether a plant can with-
stand the cold of a given location, there are some very tender
species which seem to be permanently damaged by a chilling
at temperatures well above freezing. With most species, the
larger mature plants are less susceptible to cold injury than are
the younger, smaller ones. Several species, if given protection
for the first few years, can be grown without further attention
along this line other than during periods of severe cold that may
occur at rare intervals.
Many species that could not otherwise survive may be grown
to maturity and the range of many plants extended consider-
ably by heating during the few hours of dangerously low tem-
peratures. Natural protection should be chosen primarily; arti-
ficial heating is to be considered only as a form of insurance.
It is not possible definitely to outline the sections where many
species may be grown because of the divergence of minimum
temperatures in the various areas. Not only latitude, but near-
ness to large bodies of water, elevation, and other local topograph-
ical influences, as well as proximity of buildings or other trees,
exert a strong effect in the matter of cold protection.
With the species listed, the numeral in parentheses following
the common name is intended to indicate roughly the hardiness
of the plant. Thus those marked (1) are the most susceptible
to cold injury and their planting should be restricted to the most
I Mitchell, A. J., and M. R. Ensign. The Climate of Florida. Fla. Agr.
Exp. Sta. Bul. 200. 1928. (Out of print; consult in libraries.)

Florida Cooperative Extension

tropical portions. Plants somewhat hardier than those in the
above grouping but still quite subject to cold injury are indicated
by (2). The ones designated by (3) are considerably more cold-
resistant than those in the preceding classifications but not hardy
enough for state-wide planting. Species with the designation
(4) are the least subject to cold injury and may be planted any-
where in the state. Because of a lack of plantings in widely
differing locations it is probable that errors in this classification
will be found. On the whole, however, a general indication of
the temperature requirements is shown.

Most of the plants bearing edible fruits produce viable seed
and can be propagated by this means. The variation in the fruit
of seedling plants is so great in many species, however, that
resort must be had to other methods of propagation if the de-
sired characteristics are to be perpetuated. These (asexual)
methods include budding, grafting, layering, and cuttings.
Practically all commercial plantings of fruits of the temperate
zone in America consist of plants asexually propagated. Inferior
sorts are discarded and only superior varieties increased and
disseminated. The fruiting quality of seedling trees can be de-
termined only after they have produced fruit, while with asex-
ually propagated plants there is the assurance that each will
produce fruit identical with that from which the scion was taken.
Most species come into bearing earlier when budded or grafted
than when grown as seedlings.
Seeds.-Seeds usually constitute the easiest and least expen-
sive means of plant propagation. Some of the plants discussed
are as yet grown only as seedlings which vary but little from
the parent tree. With most species commonly propagated by
budding or grafting, rootstocks of the same species are almost
always used and are grown from seed. Seeds of many of the
plants discussed remain viable but a short time; to insure a fair
percentage of germination they should be planted soon after
the fruit has matured.
Small seeds are usually planted in flats (shallow boxes of
convenient size) constructed to provide good drainage and filled
with a suitable soil. For starting seedlings of most species any
good grade of garden soil containing 10 to 25 percent screened
peat moss or well composted organic matter is suitable. Seeds
of some species will grow better in a medium consisting almost

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

entirely of screened peat or sphagnum moss or of a 50-50 mix-
ture of vermiculite and peat moss. If much soil is used in the
medium it should be sterilized to destroy root-knot nematodes
or soil-borne fungi which might cause damping off of young seed-
lings. Small quantities of soil can be baked in an oven; larger
quantities may be steam sterilized or drenched with formalin
or treated according to the manufacturer's directions with pro-
prietary soil-sterilizing chemicals.
Cover small seeds lightly with sifted sand, sand and peat
moss, or sphagnum. Generally, the smaller the seeds the lighter
the covering needed. Water the flats sufficiently to prevent the
seeds from drying after they are planted. Take care to prevent
the soil from being washed away from the seeds during water-
ing. By placing the flats in a shaded location less watering is
required than when they are placed in full sunlight. Flats should
be so placed that dashing rains or the drip from trees will not
wash out or uncover the seeds.
After the seeds germinate move the flats to a more sunny
location to prevent the development of spindly weak plants.
Providing 50 percent shade will be satisfactory for most spe-
cies. As soon as the seedlings attain a height of several inches
transplant them to pots, tin cans, tar paper cylinders, or the
nursery row where they are kept until large enough for perma-
nent transplanting. Large seeds may be planted directly in
seedbeds, pots, or other containers.
Budding.-Budding is commonly used with many species
when perpetuation of desirable varieties is wanted. The shield
bud is preferred over other methods and is employed except on
plants with a thick bark. Shield budding is practiced only when
the stock is in active growth so that bark and wood separate
easily. The best season for budding depends largely on the spe-
cies and must be determined by trial. More success results
from midsummer budding with some, while with others the per-
centage of failures at that season is so high as to require that
they be worked during the cooler and drier months. Budding
strips made from rubber are now used almost exclusively in
Florida nurseries for tying the buds in place. Usually the bud
is inserted in the T incision a few inches above ground level in
the understock. Dormant buds from well-rounded, firm twigs
are usually used for propagation. Patch and chip buds are some-
times used to propagate species with thicker bark, but usually
grafting is more satisfactory with such species.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Grafting.-Grafting is generally done when the stock is dor-
mant, but in some species the period of most active growth is
best for grafting. The cleft, side-cleft, whip, side veneer, and
crown grafts are most common, the type depending considerably
on size of stock being worked. Success in grafting is also de-
pendent on making smooth, even cuts with a well sharpened knife
on both scion and stock and keeping the cambia of both in contact
by firm tying until they grow together. In some species the
stock and scion are slow to unite and the scion must be prevented
from dying out by covering it with either a water emulsion of
asphalt, grafting wax, or a thin plastic, gas-permeable film.
Cuttings.-Many species may be grown from cuttings. This
is a desirable method unless for some reason a rootstock of an-
other species is wanted. A suitable rooting medium is essential
for success with cuttings. In general, a rather coarse material
that is fairly retentive of moisture and relatively free of toxic
or rapidly decaying organic matter will be satisfactory for most
species. Clean coarse sand, a mixture of such sand or of coarse
quartz sand and peat moss, or a mixture of vermiculite and peat
moss, makes an excellent rooting medium for most species.
Flats or propagating benches, provided with adequate drainage
holes in the bottom, are filled with the rooting medium to a depth
of four to six inches. Leafy cuttings of mature or nearly ma-
ture wood four to six inches long, or longer in some species, are
used. All or a portion of the leaves are left on, depending on the
species, and the cuttings are inserted to about half their length
and so spaced that they do not touch each other. The medium
is then tamped firmly about them. Watering is required about
twice daily during warm weather to keep the medium from be-
coming too dry. Cuttings of many tropical and subtropical fruit
trees may be more readily rooted if bottom heat is used in the
cutting bed. Also, dipping the cutting base for a few seconds
into a solution of 0.2 percent indole butyric acid in 50 percent
alcohol before placing them in the rooting medium will hasten
rooting of cuttings in some species. These methods should be
tried on those species difficult to propagate otherwise. With
some species leafy cuttings root more readily in a constant mist
propagating box than in an ordinary cutting bench, with or with-
out the use of root-inducing hormones.
Layering.-In its simplest form layering consists of laying
a branch, still attached to the plant, horizontally on the ground,
or on soil in a box, and partially covering it with the soil, but

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

leaving the tip portion exposed. An oblique cut, partially through
the stem on the under side of the branch to be covered with soil,
hastens formation of roots in some species. Tying a wire tightly
about the branch at the site where roots are expected to form
will accomplish the same purpose as cutting the stem. The soil
must be kept moist. After roots have formed the branch is cut
loose from the parent plant, pruned to reduce its leaf surface to
approximately equal the water-absorbing capacity of its new
root system, and transplanted.
Air Layering or Marcottage.-Chinese or gootee layering,
also called marcottage or air layering, is accomplished by cutting
a branch partially through or by completely removing a ring of
bark from the branch to be rooted and wrapping at that point
with a large ball of sphagnum moss or other water-retaining
material. The moss or other rooting medium must be kept moist,
making the method rather slow and expensive. Wrapping the
moistened ball of sphagnum tightly with a sheet of plastic, trans-
parent, vinyl film 3 obviates the necessity of watering the root-
ing medium and makes air layering much more dependable and
less expensive. This film is moisture-tight but gas-permeable.
Air laying is best practiced during spring and summer, when
frequent rains and high temperatures and humidity contribute
toward quick rooting. By using transparent film you can see
when roots are formed. After rooting is well advanced, cut off
the branch, prune it back and plant it in a suitable container
and grow it in partial shade until it is large enough to plant in
the field.
Under the discussion of each species the common methods
of propagation are indicated. In the propagation of some species
the work of Wester 4 has been followed.


It is not possible to outline specific cultural directions, based
on Florida experiments, for each species because of the lack of
commercial plantings of most of them. Although some are being
grown on a commercial scale, the majority of the species are
being grown more or less as specimen plants, which has given
little opportunity for comparative methods of culture.

3 Grove, Wm. R. Wrapping air-layers with rubber plastic. Proc. Fla.
State Hort. Soc., 1947. 184-187.
SWester, P. J. Plant propagation and fruit culture in the tropics. Bul.
32, Bur. of Agr., Govt. Phil. Is., Manila. 1920.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Some soils suited to growing more tropical plants are of a
rocky, calcareous formation. Cultivation, as the term is gen-
erally understood, is not possible on such soils. Mulches have
proved their worth as a substitute for cultivation on these soils
and they are also of value on marls and sandy types. Large
amounts of decaying organic matter will tend to correct the
highly alkaline reaction of calcareous soils and thus bring about
a more favorable condition for the growing of most fruit trees.
A rather heavy mulch of any rough vegetation, such as grasses,
weeds, and leaves, will reduce soil moisture losses, prevent ex-
cessive heating of the soil on the warmer days of summer, tend
to control weed and grass growth and, as it decomposes, add
much-needed organic matter.
A cover crop grown in the middles will furnish mulching
materials for the trees and will be the source of appreciable
amounts of nitrogen if a legume is planted. Cowpeas, velvet
beans, hairy indigo, black medic, white sweet clover, and natal
grass are among those grown. For shady locations, especially
under the canopy of large trees, a creeping leguminous herb
Dolichos hosei, is one of the best cover crops for limestone soils.
Continued deep cultivation is not usually practiced, although
shallow tillage during dry seasons tends to conserve soil moisture
and lessen fire hazard by destroying weed and grass growth.
All fruiting trees and shrubs listed later require some fertili-
zation and either light cultivation or mulching for best growth
and fruit yields. Adequate irrigation also is important for most
species during dry periods. Generally, water and fertilizer (es-
pecially nitrogen and potash) requirements for bearing trees are
highest during the period from blossoming to fruit maturity.
Organic fertilizers or those partially composed of organic ma-
terials are generally preferred, especially for young plants. Ap-
plications of a complete fertilizer (containing nitrogen, phos-
phorus, potash, and magnesium) are made after the plants are
transferred to permanent locations. At first, and especially on
new land, the fertilizer applications should contain relatively
high percentages of nitrogen and phosphorus and little potash
and magnesium, but when fruiting age is reached the potash and
magnesium should be increased and the phosphorus content may
be decreased. Well rotted stable and poultry manures and any
well composted vegetation are of worth for both their organic
content and fertilizer value.
Most of the species listed that have been grown for many
years on calcareous soils at the Subtropical Station have shown

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

response to nutritional sprays containing zinc, copper and man-
ganese. Some, such as carambola and West Indian cherry, ap-
pear to have a high zinc requirement when grown on such soil.
Chloroses not corrected by zinc, copper and manganese have been
corrected in some species by application of iron compounds. When
such persistent chloroses fail to respond to zinc, copper and
manganese, soil or spray applications of chelated iron formula-
tions or spray applications of neutral iron oxalate should be tried.
The species vary widely in their tolerance and these relatively
new iron compounds should be tried with caution until specific
recommendations can be determined. On acid sandy soils the
requirements for such minor elements as copper, manganese,
iron and boron can readily be supplied by means of soil applica-
tions, especially with some adjustment of the soil reaction. Zinc
is best supplied by foliage sprays containing this element. On
calcareous soils, copper, manganese and iron are usually best
supplied by foliage sprays applied just prior to the appearance
of the spring growth.
Drainage is essential with most species. Some trees can
thrive on soils having a higher water table than can others. Few
can survive water-logged soils or those with water standing over
the surface for even relatively short periods. Higher lands that
do not suffer a deficiency of soil moisture or that can be ade-
quately irrigated are better adapted for the majority.
Little pruning is practiced for an increase in fruit produc-
tion. Most of this work is mainly for the purpose of shaping up
the tree and for the removal of weak, interfering, or dead branch-
es. With an increase of planting more consideration will nec-
essarily have to be given to pruning practices.
In the warmer months small plants when first set benefit
greatly by the erection of a shade of any sort that will partially
break direct rays of the sun. Addition of some muck and com-
post of decayed vegetation to the holes in planting will aid plants
in starting into thrifty growth. Stable manures, well rotted and
thoroughly mixed with soil, are used with good results.
Few parts of the state are free of winds which to a greater
or lesser degree are detrimental to the growth of fruit trees.
Spring winds, coming during the driest season, may cause injury
by their desiccating effect. Winds of moderate intensity, occur-
ring when the trees are carrying a crop, may reduce the yield
appreciably, as well as lower the grade of the fruit remaining.
These hazards may be materially reduced by windbreaks. Nat-
ural hammock growth is the most satisfactory windbreak but,

Florida Cooperative Extension

in the absence of heavy native growth, resort to artificial plant-
ings. Trees well adapted to this use in the more tropical areas
include the Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia), Casuarina
lepidophloia with Australian pine as the understock, the pongam
(Pongamia pinnata), the oxhorn bucida (Bucida buceras), and
the jambolan (Syzygium cumini). The Australian silk-oak (Gre-
villea robusta) and the taller bamboos (Bambusa spp.) are uti-
lized for his purpose in the central part of the state. The native
cherry-laurel (Prunus caroliniana) is satisfactory in the north-
ern area.
In the following listing will be found most of the fruits, with
exceptions as previously noted, which are being grown in the
state. None have been knowingly included that have not pro-
duced fruit in Florida and all photographs are of plants growing
in Florida or of specimens taken from such plants.
To facilitate the finding of a given fruit the arrangement is
alphabetical according to the botanical classification. Such an
arrangement of the common names is not possible, owing to the
multiplicity of these names for many plants. Synonyms are
given in parentheses with the common name or names following.
The family to which each species belongs is also included.
In addition to the publications referred to in footnotes, the
reader is referred to the following publications for additional in-
formation on many of the species: Wilson Popenoe's "Manual
of Tropical and Sub-Tropical Fruits" (Macmillan Company, New
York, 1920); David Sturrock's "Tropical Fruits for Southern
Florida and Cuba and Their Uses" (Arnold Arb. of Harvard
Univ., Jamaica Plain, Mass., 1940); Kendal & Julia Morton's
"Fifty Tropical Fruits of Nassau" (Text House, Coral Gables,
Florida, 1946); Macmillan's "Tropical Planting and Gardening"
(The Macmillan Company, Ltd., London, 5th Ed. 1948); and
W. H. Chandler's "Evergreen Orchards" (Lea & Febiger, Phila-
delphia, 1950).

Anacardium occidental L. Cashew. (1) ANACARDIACEAE.
The cashew, a relative of the mango, is native to the West
Indies and tropical America, but has become naturalized in
Africa, India, and other tropical countries. It is more important
commercially in India than in any American country. It is rarely
found in Florida, but bearing trees in several localities show that
it can be grown in the more protected areas. The tree is a spread-

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

ing, somewhat straggling evergreen, and while usually much
smaller, may reach a height of 30 feet. The prominently veined,
oblong or obovate, leathery leaves are 3 to 8 inches long and 2 to
4.5 inches broad. The fragrant, tiny, pink flowers are in loose
panicles at the end of young branches.
The fruit of the cashew, maturing in late spring or early sum-
mer, is of unusual appearance. (Fig. 2.) The so-called cashew-
apple is the enlarged fleshy fruit pedicel and receptacle, 2 to 4
inches in length and 1.5 to 3 inches in diameter, and is either
bright red or yellow in color. It is fragrant, juicy and somewhat
astringent, and can be eaten fresh but is more esteemed when
cooked. The kidney-shaped true fruit projects from the larger
end of the "apple." Its shell is rich in a caustic oil which causes
a cutaneous irritation similar to that caused by the botanically
related poison ivy. There is no danger from handling this fruit
unless the skin is broken to release the oil, which is eliminated
by roasting. The kernel is reported to contain about 15 percent
protein and more than 40
percent fat. After being
well roasted and shelled,
the kernels become the well-
known and delicious cashew
nuts of commerce.
The fleshy cashew-apple,
besides being eaten out-of-
hand when fully ripened, is
used in making ades, pre-
serves, jams, jellies, and pie
stock. The juice is said to
m a k e an excellent wine
which may be distilled to
make a very intoxicating
liquor. The oil from the
fruit shell is reported to be
very valuable.
The cashew grows fairly
well on poor, dry soils, but
responds readily to ferti-
lization a n d irrigation. Fig. 2.-The cashew-apple and nut,
lization a nd irrigation. Anacardium occidentale.
Young plants are extremely
tender to cold and should receive protection during the winter
months. Well grown trees begin to bear in four to five years.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Young tender leaves are often attacked by thrips, and sometimes
the tree is parasitized by spider mites and by one or more species
of scale insects.
Propagation is commonly by seeds, germinating in three to
four weeks, but budding and marcottage are feasible.

Annona cherimola Mill. Cherimoya. (2) ANNONACEAE.
The cherimoya, thought to be a native of the highlands of
Peru and Ecuador, is now cultivated in many parts of the tropics
and subtropics. It is considered by many as one of the really fine
fruits of the world. In California the tree is reported to be less
resistant to cold than the lemon and less resistant to heat than
other citrus trees.5 Schroeder 6 reports the tree as intolerent
to strong winds and very low atmospheric humidity. Cherimoya
trees have made poor growth in Florida and have borne little
fruit, most of which is poorly shaped and of indifferent quality.
The cherimoya is cultivated with limited success in California,
where a number of varieties have been propagated. Many of
these are under trial in Florida, but thus far none has shown
much promise of being desirable.
The trees grow fairly well when young but decline in growth
early and never reach large size. Practically all the leaves are
shed during the winter and many twigs and smaller branches
die, so that the trees present a ragged unhealthy appearance
until new foliage and flowers appear in spring. The light green
velvety leaves 4 to 10 inches long are arranged alternately, in
two ranks in common with other Annonas. The fragrant nar-
row flowers about 1 inch long are borne singly or sometimes
two or three together on short pendant peduncles, opposite the
leaves on young shoots or at old leaf scars on older wood. The
pistils have ceased to be receptive when the pollen is shed, so
that cross-pollination is necessary. Schroeder 7 has shown that
in California the cherimoya is not extensively pollinated by in-
sects and that hand pollination is a practical method of assuring
a fruit set. The fruit, in common with other Annonas, is com-
pound, formed by fusion of the carpels and receptacle. They
vary in cultivated types from short conical to ovoid to irregular
if the flowers were imperfectly pollinated, and range in length
Chandler, Wm. H. Evergreen Orchards. Lea and Febiger, Philadel-
phia. 1950.
SSchroeder, C. A. Cherimoya varieties in California. Fruit varieties
and Hort. Dig. 2 (3) :68-71. 1947.
7 Schroeder, C. A. Hand pollination of cherimoya improves fruit set.
Yearbook of the Cal. Avoc. Soc. for the year 1947 : 67-70.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

from 3 to 8 inches. The fruit surface is characterized by spirally
arranged tubercles (Fig. 3) or in some by slight depressions
marking the carpel surfaces. The flesh is creamy white and
soft, containing many dark brown to black seeds about 1/2 inch
long. At its best the flavor is rich and aromatic in a pleasing
blend of sweetness and mild acidity, but most seedlings and
some named varieties produce fruit of inferior quality.

Fig. 3.-Fruit and twig of the cherimoya, Annona cherimola.

The cherimoya can be grafted or budded on understocks of
cherimoya seedlings or on seedlings of sugar-apple or custard-
apple. These stocks are susceptible to root rot in poorly drained
soils and to temporary flooding on low ground.
Leaves of cherimoya are commonly attacked by a rust fungus,
Phakopsora cherimoliae (Lagh.) Cumm., in summer and fall.
This disease is often severe enough to cause premature defolia-
tion. Cherimoya fruits are sometimes attacked and destroyed
by larvae of a chalcid fly. The larvae feed on the seeds and the
fruits decay before attaining maturity. An ambrosia beetle
sometimes attacks and kills young Annona trees in the nursery.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Spray treatments every three to four weeks using DDT emulsion
at 2 pounds active ingredient per 100 gallons of water has been
found to give fair control of the insect.

Annona diversifolia Saff. Ilama. Papauce. (2) ANNONACEAE.
The ilama, native to the foothills of western Mexico and
Central America, is now represented in southern Florida by
a number of fruiting trees, and many young plants have been
distributed in recent years. It is sometimes called "the cheri-
moya of the lowlands." Its hardiness is comparable to that of
the sugar-apple.

Fig. 4.-Fruit of the ilama, Annona diversifolia.

The tree is somewhat larger than the cherimoya, which it
resembles in general appearance. The leaves are glabrous above
and glaucous beneath, obovate to oblanceolate, 3 to 8 inches long,

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

rounded at the apex; the two lower leaves of the flowering shoots
are much smaller, rounded, and clasping, and distinguish the
ilama from other cultivated annonas. The solitary flowers are
maroon-colored on some trees; greenish-yellow tinted lightly
with red in others. The fruit resembles the cherimoya in ap-
pearance (Fig. 4) but the surface is often tinged with pink or,
from some trees, covered with a whitish bloom. The pulp is
pink or white and is of fairly good quality, but is rather scanty
because of numerous rather large, tan-colored smooth seeds em-
bedded in it. The ripening season is from August to December.

Fig. 5.-The soursop tree, Annona muricata.

Florida Cooperative Extension

The ilama has proved a shy bearer thus far under Florida
conditions. Its foliage is attacked by rust but less severely than
the cherimoya.
Propagation is by grafting or by seeds. The ilama has been
grafted successfully to seedlings of pond apple, mountain sour-
sop, sugar-apple and custard-apple. The pond apple understock
has a slight dwarfing effect and growth has not proved satis-
factory on mountain soursop. Only a few seeds from Florida-
grown ilamas have germinated when planted under various con-
ditions 6 to 13 months after planting. Imported seed germinates
in about 30 days.

Annona muricata L. Soursop. Guanabana. (1) ANNONACEAE.

The soursop is also of tropical American origin. It is a small
evergreen tree of rather slender upright growth, reaching a
height of 15 to 20 feet and sometimes of 30 feet (Fig. 5). The
glossy, dark green, leathery leaves are 5 to 8 inches long and
are characterized by small pits in the axils of the larger veins
on the lower surface. They emit a strong and rather unpleasant
odor when crushed. The soursop has succeeded fairly well as
a dooryard tree on the lower East Coast but most specimens are
shy bearers. It requires more protection from cold than the
other annonas. Cold winds, near-freezing temperatures, or severe
drouth may cause defoliation, and light freezes kill twigs and
smaller branches.
The solitary flowers are 1 to 2 inches long with thick valvate
petals. The fruits are quite large, often weighing 4 to 5 pounds
or more. They are ovoid or irregularly heart-shaped when well
developed but many are variously distorted owing to failure of
carpel development. They are dark green in color when mature
with many recurved soft spines on the skin surface. The aro-
matic flesh is white, juicy, with a soft cottony texture and con-
tains many dark brown flattened seeds about 3/4 inch long. The
pulp has a distinctive, agreeable, acid flavor and is used mostly
for flavoring ices and refreshing drinks. Mature fruits and
flowers may be on a tree at one time but most fruits mature
during summer and fall.
The tree is commonly attacked in Florida by several species
of scale insect, mealybugs, and a lace-wing bug.
Propagation is by seeds or grafting. Seedings of a soursop
are the most satisfactory stocks. The native pond apple, A.
glabra L., has proved a dwarfing stock in limited trials.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

The mountain soursop, Annona montana Macfad., of the West
Indies has grown and fruited well in trials in southern Florida.
The foliage closely resembles that of the soursop, being distin-
guished chiefly by the larger size of the pockets in the axils of

Fig. 6-Foliage of the mountain soursop, Annona montana.

the leaf veins and by somewhat larger leaf size (Fig. 6). The
fruits are smaller and more spherical than soursop fruits and
have short straight yellow prickles protruding from the skin
surface. The ripe pulp is yellowish in color and the seeds are
tan colored and plumper than those of the soursop. While the
quality of the flesh is inferior to that of the soursop, it is used

Florida Cooperative Extension

in the same manner and is like by some. It is probable that
selections with improved quality might be found. The fruiting
season is July and August.

Fig. 7.-The custard-apple tree, Annona reticulata, in fruit.

Annona reticulata L. Custard-apple. Bullock's Heart. Jamaica-
apple. (2) ANNONACEAE.
The custard-apple, native of the American tropics, succeeds
only in the extreme southern portion of the state. In general
appearance the tree resembles the cherimoya, being of a spread-
ing habit and rather scraggly in growth (Fig. 7), reaching a
height of 20 feet. The thin glabrous leaves, 4 to 8 inches long
and one-fourth as wide, are lanceolate to oblong lanceolate with
prominent veins. The leaves are shed in late winter and the
tree is leafless for a short time.
The fruit matures during late winter and early spring, is
globoseovoid and is about a pound in weight (Fig. 8). It is
almost smooth on the surface, the areoles faint, and is buff or
reddish brown in color at maturity. The quality generally is
rather poor but it is reported that some seedlings produce fruit

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

of good quality. Chilling improves the sweet and rather insipid
flavor. Some con-
fusion has arisen 0WSaB'-3
because in Cuba
and in some
countries of --
Central America
this fruit is
known as "cheri-
Propagation is
by seed, budding
or grafting. This
species makes a
vigorous s t o c k
for some of the
other annonas. It
is susceptible to
the same diseases
and insects at-
tacking the cheri-
moya. Fig. 8.-Fruit and twig of the custard-apple.

Annona squamosa L. Sugar-apple. Sweetsop. Anona. (2)
The sugar-apple, from tropical America, is grown to a limited
extent in the southern counties and is the most successful of the
annonas in Florida. Its range is restricted mainly to the lower
East and West Coasts, but the tree has fruited also in the central
part of the state. The tree is small, reaching only about 10 feet
in height, and round-headed, with long slender branches. The
leaves, which are shed in late winter, are thin, narrow and glau-
cous. They are 2 to 6 inches long and sparsely hairy when young
but smooth at maturity.
The fruit is heartshaped, 2 to 4 inches in diameter, mostly
yellowish green in color and usually covered with a white or
bluish bloom (Fig. 9). A purple-fruited form is known. In the
sugar-apple the carpels are not completely fused but project as
rounded protuberances and are easily separated, which gives
it an appearance unlike that of other annonas. The pulp is white
or creamy white, softly granular, custard like, very sweet and
of agreeable flavor. Numerous dark brown or black seeds about

Florida Cooperative Extension

1/2 inch long are embedded in the pulp. The season begins in
midsummer and lasts for about three months, the fruits ripen-
ing irregularly. They are used almost wholly as a fresh fruit
and are commonly chilled before eating. During the season the
fruit may be found on local markets in southern Florida, but on
account of softness when approaching maturity it seldom reaches
its destination in good condition when shipped long distances.
The sugar-apple is susceptible to the same insects and diseases
as the cherimoya. Many of the fruits maturing during the rainy
season are lost by splitting.
Propagation is by seed, budding, or grafting. Custard-apple
seedlings make desirable stocks.

Fig. 9.-Fruit and twig of the sugar-apple, Annona squamosa.

Annona Hybrids. Atemoya. (2)
A hybrid between the cherimoya and the sugar-apple has
been named "atemoya," and has proved quite satisfactory for
southern Florida. It forms a larger tree than the sugar-apple,
which it resembles closely in tree habit, foliage, and flower, but
has fruit more like the cherimoya in structure and flavor. The
carpels show on the surface of the fruit as raised outlines with
stout fleshy protuberances at the tip of each carpel. The numer-
ous dark-brown seeds are about 1/ inch long and easily separated
from the pulp.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

The atemoya is eaten only as a fresh fruit, and the juicy,
white pulp is of agreeable flavor and custard-like consistency.
The Page atemoya has proved to set fruit better without hand
pollination and to have dependably better quality than the cheri-
moya under Florida conditions. It is somewhat less susceptible
to rust than the cherimoya but is susceptible to attack by the
same insects and many of the fruits that mature during the rainy
season split before attaining full maturity.
Propagation is by budding or grafting. Seedlings of custard-
apple, sugar-apple, or of the native pond apple may be used as
Antidesma bunius Spreng. Bignay. (2) EUPHORBIACEAE.
The bignay is native to southeastern Asia, Malaysia, and west-
ern Australia. It is not grown extensively in Florida but has
proved well adapted in the southernmost part of the state.
The attractive evergreen tree is of small size, sometimes
shrubby, with rounded head and drooping branches, and is rather
slow growing. The glossy green alternately arranged leaves
are somewhat leathery, from 4 to 8 inches long and 2 to 3 inches
wide, oblong, with tips obtuse, acute, or shortly acuminate and
base acute. Flowers are produced from April to June near the
tips of branches in terminal or axillary spikes or racemes, male
and female flowers being borne on separate trees. These flowers
are small but numerous and emit a strong and rather unpleasant
The drupe-like fruits are borne in racemose clusters of 20 to
40 or more, each slightly less than 1/2 inch in diameter and ovoid
in shape but often slightly compressed (Fig. 10). The fruits
change from green to red to almost black in color at maturity.
On some seedlings fruits of individual clusters ripen evenly, but
on others they do not. At maturity the fruits are juicy, sub-
acid, and well flavored. Each contains a compressed stone of
moderate size, but viable seed is not always produced under
Florida conditions. Isolated female trees have fruited abun-
dantly and pollination seems to be unnecessary except possibly
for viable seed. The ripening season is from July to December.
An excellent red jelly is made from a mixture of ripe and par-
tially ripe fruit with the addition of commercial pectin. It is
reported also to make an excellent wine.
Propagation is by seeds, cuttings, air layering, or grafting.
Seeds, when viable, sometimes take nine months or more to

Florida Cooperative Extension

Fig. 10.-Fruiting twig of the bignay, Antidesma bunius.

Antidesma dallachyanum Baill. (2) EUPHORBIACEAE.
This species, native to Queensland, forms a small, sometimes
shrubby tree very similar to A. bunius but with smaller leaves
and larger fruit. It is still comparatively rare in Florida. The
leaves are ovate to elliptical, obtuse or shortly and obtusely
acuminate, 3 to 6 inches long. Flowers are produced from April
to June in axillary spikes, male and female flowers on separate
trees. Male spikes are mostly paniculate but sometimes solitary.
Female spikes on the few trees examined were solitary.


. <

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

& PPLa RIRi INC trU.. .n,-,.. ..
Fig. 11.-Fruiting twig of Antidesma, dallachyanum.

The fruits are red, usually with a deeper shade on the exposed
side, in clusters of 10 to 30, each about 5/8 inch in diameter and
globose to ovoid in shape (Fig. 11). Fruits of a single cluster
ripen fairly evenly. The season of maturity is September and
October. They are quite acid at maturity and are reported to
make an excellent jelly.
Propagation is the same as for A. bunius, seedlings of which
may be used as understocks for A. dallachyanum.
A. platyphyllum H. Mann, from Hawaii, has produced fruit
for several years at the Subtropical Experiment Station. The
tree has shorter leaves and a somewhat more upright growth

Florida Cooperative Extension

than A. bunius. The fruits are smaller but produce bunches as
large as or larger than the bignay and they can be used in the
same way for making jelly. A fourth accession, carried at the
Station as A. montanum Blume, produces numerous long clusters
of fruit, similar in all important respects to the bignay in both
tree and fruit characters.
Scale insects and mealybugs frequently become troublesome
on the antidesmas. The trees are made unsightly by the devel-
opment of sooty mold following infestations of these pests, which
can be controlled by applications of oil emulsions or parathion.

Artocarpus hypargyrea Hance. Kwai muk. (1) MORACEAE.
This species, native to Southern China, is represented in Flor-
ida by several fruiting specimens in Dade County, but little is
known about its potential range within the state. Young trees
have survived temperatures two to three degrees below freezing
for short periods at the Subtropical Station and the species
appears to be adapted to limestone soil.
The tree is a slender, upright evergreen, to 20 feet or more in
height, with rough reddish to grayish brown bark and milky

; 1.. .- I I
1 2 3 4 5 6

Fig. 12.-Foliage, fruits and seeds of Artocarpus hypargyrea.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

latex. When well grown it is quite ornamental. The leaves are
oblong-ovate, 2 to 5 inches long, acute to short acuminate, entire,
dark green and glabrous above, dull green with very prominent
lateral veins beneath. The solitary, axillary, staminate and pistil-
late flowers are borne on separate spikes on the same tree. The
fruits ripen in the fall. They are subglobose to irregular in
shape and very soft when ripe, about one inch in diameter (Fig.
12). The very tender and easily ruptured skin is covered with

Fig. 13.-The jakfruit tree, Artocarpuzs integrifolia.

Florida Cooperative Extension

a fine short pubescence. When an unripe fruit is bruised or the
skin is punctured it exudes a white sticky latex. The texture of
the deep orange-red flesh is fine and tender, and the flavor is
pleasant, subacid to acid. From two to seven small, plump seeds
are embedded in the flesh.
Propagation is by seed.

Artocarpus integrifolia L. f. (A. integra Merr.). Jakfruit,
Jackfruit. (1) MORCACEAE.
The jakfruit tree, native to southern India and Malaya, has
in a few instances been grown to large size in southern Florida.
Although quite subject to frost injury, it is still somewhat
hardier than the breadfruit (A. incisa).
The tree is of large size, reaching a height of 60 feet under
good conditions, erect growing and of decided ornamental value
(Fig. 13). Its
leaves are firm
and slightly
leathery, d e ep
green, elliptic to
obovate, b 1 unt
pointed and 5 to 8
inches in length.
The juice of the
tree is milky. The
staminate a n d
t: pistillate flowers
are borne on sep-
arate spikes on
the same tree
(mono e ci o us)
f from December
--. to June.
The immense
... .: fruits, weighing
:from 10 to 40
pounds and ma-
:". turning in July and
August, are borne
Fig. 14.-Fruit hanging from limb of jakfruit tree. only on the trunk
or larger limbs.
(Fig. 14). They are roughly oblong in shape and may attain a
length of 2 feet, although Florida grown specimens have been

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

from 8 to 12 inches long and of about three-fourths that diameter.
The outer surface is covered with hard-pointed projections like a
coarse grater. Like the annonaceous fruits, the jakfruit is techni-
cally a syncarp, composed of many united carpels, which remain
distinct on the surface. The pulp is yellowish, soft and quite juicy
when the fruit is ripe. It contains many large white seeds. There
are several varieties, the degree of sweetness as well as the size

.:1 rrrlt

Fig. 15.--The carambola tree, Averrhoa carambocla.

Florida Cooperative Extension

and shape being variable. The pulp is eaten fresh, dried, or pre-
served. In some tropical countries the seeds are roasted and eaten.
Propagation is by seed or cuttings. Seedlings are rather diffi-
cult to transplant from the nursery row, but may be grown in
boxes for setting out. Success has been had also in transplanting
seedlings from open ground to boxes and later setting out in
permanent location.

Averrhoa carambola L. Carambola. (1) OXALIDACEAE.
The carambola is of unknown origin, but has long been cul-
tivated in Malaysia and southeastern Asia. It is quite tropical
in its requirements. Young trees are often killed by tempera-
tures below freezing. Older
bearing trees properly fer-
tilized have withstood 290
F. for short periods with
only minor damage. The
tree attains a height of 20
to 25 feet and is of upright
and symmetrical habit of
growth (Fig. 15). Its leaves
are odd pinnate with 5 to 11
leaflets which increase in
size toward the leaf tip and
are from 1 to 31/2 inches
long. They are sensitive to
touch and light, folding
when tapped or darkened.
The attractive pink or pur-
plish pink flowers are borne
Sin clusters mostly at leaf
axils of young or old
branches but sometimes
terminal in early spring,
midsummer and often
again in the fall.
The fruit is light golden
Fig. 16.-Leaf, whole fruit and cross- yellow, with a shiny waxed
section of fruit of the carambola. yellow, h a shiny waxed
appearance when ripe, ovoid
or ellipsoid, averaging about 4 inches in length, with 4 or 5
prominent longitudinal ribs. A cross-section of the fruit is dis-
tinctly star-shaped (Fig. 16). The skin is thin, smooth, and

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

translucent. The crisp juicy pulp is acid to sub-acid with a
pleasant fragrance, and usually contains several ovoid com-
pressed seeds partly enclosed in a shiny aril. There is great var-
iation in fruit quality, some strains being very sour while others
are mildly sub-acid or almost sweet. The sweeter ones may be
eaten fresh when ripe, but the fruit is mostly used for jellies and
preserves. A refreshing drink can be made from the juice. Usual-
ly two and sometimes three crops are produced during the year.
Carambola fruits have been shipped successfully in experi-
mental lots to Northern markets and have been favorably re-
ceived there. The tree when grown on limestone soils appar-
ently requires more zinc for normal growth than most fruit-
bearing species and benefits from several applications of zinc-
bearing foliage sprays annually.
Propagation is by seed and by side grafting. Budding and
marcottage are possible but less reliable than grafting for propa-
gation of desirable clons.
The bilimbi, Averrhoa bilimbi L., can be found in some gar-
dens in the warmer sections of extreme southern Florida. Like

Fig. 17.-Cut and whole fruit of the bilimbi, Averrho bilimbi.

Fig. 17.-Cut and whole fruit of the bilimbi, Averrhoa bilimbi.

Florida Cooperative Extension

the related carambola, it is probably a native of the Malayan
region, but it is known only as a cultivated species. It is some-
what more sensitive to low temperatures than the carambola.
It is distinguished from the carambola by its larger leaves,
densely crowded near the tips of thick fragile branches. The
leaves have 11 to 37 oblong leaflets, and the crimson flowers are
in panicles mostly arising from the trunk and thick branches.
The greenish yellow, translucent very acid fruits 2 to 4 inches
long are cylindrical or obscurely five-angled, with soft juicy
flesh containing a few small flattened seeds (Fig. 17).

Fig. 18.-The akee tree.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

The highly acid fruits are used for preparation of relishes or
pickles, or are preserved in syrup. The requirements of the tree
are similar to those of the carambola.
Propagation is by seed.

Blighia sapida Koenig. (Cupania sapida Voigt.) Akee. (2)
The akee, from the Guinea Coast of West Africa, is grown in
a limited way, susceptibility to frost damage restricting it to
the warmer sections. The tree is upright growing but broadly
spreading in habit, reaching a height of 35 feet in favorable
locations but more often under 20 feet (Fig. 18). Its large stiff
leaves are pinnate, with usually 10 oblong,
short-petioled leaflets 4 to 6 inches long.
Small greenish-white flowers are borne in
the axils of the leaves. Blossoming usual-
ly occurs in early spring, but a light June
bloom sometimes is found, or even a fall
The fruit, ripening from late sum-
mer to early winter, is a 3-celled cap-
sule, 3 to 4 inches in length and
yellow to red in color (Fig. 19).
The tree in full fruit is a strik-
ingly colorful sight. At maturi-
ty the fruit splits longitudinally '
to expose the round, shiny, black
seeds-one in each cell-to each
of which is attached the edible
white aril (Fig. 20). This aril
is firm and irregularly furrowed.
The Spanish name "seso vegetal"
(vegetable brain) is probably de-
rived from the brain-like ap-
pearance of the arils. The arils
are generally considered best
when fried in butter. -
Considerable uncertainty has Fig. 19.-The akee fruit.
existed regarding the poisonous
quality of over-ripe akees, and some have even held that the
pink portion lying between the white aril lobes was poisonous.

Florida Cooperative Extension

The careful tests of Dr. L. H. Baekeland 8 have shown that so
long as the arils remain fairly firm, without any softening or
pastiness, the akee may be eaten freely. Fruit picked ripe and
shipped in midsummer in ordinary vent crates was received in
good condition. Arils which show softening should be discarded.
It has long been known that unripe akees if eaten freely bring
on vomiting and are very dangerous to eat. There appears to
be no reliable data to show that the pink portion between the
arils is poisonous, provided it is bight in color. Recent studies 9
have shown that the seeds are toxic to laboratory animals.
Propagation is by seeds or by shield-budding.

Calocarpum sapota (Jacq.) Merr. (Sideroxylon sapota Jacq.
Calocarpum mammosum Pierre. Lucuma mammosa Gaertn.
Pouteria mammosa (L.) Cronquist). Sapote. Mamey sa-
pote. Mamey colorado. Marmalade Fruit. (1) SAPO-
The sapote, native of Central America, is tropical in its re-
quirements and its culture is restricted to the most protected
locations. Young trees are
very tender to cold but old f
trees can withstand 280
F. for several hours with
only slight damage. Sev-

Fig. 20.-Akee fruit opened
to show edible arils.

eral large bearing trees and a number of young trees are growing
well in scattered locations in southern Florida.
SBaekeland, Dr. L. H. The Akee. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. :180-181.
o Lynch, S. J., Edward Larsen and Donald D. Doughty. Proc. Fla. State
Hort. Soc. : 281-284. 1951.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

The tree is erect, attaining a height of 50 feet or more with a
thick trunk and stout branches. The simple, obovate to oblanceo-
late leaves to 16 inches long, are clustered toward the ends of
the stout branchlets, and are deciduous. They are light green,
pubescent beneath when young but becoming glabrous. The

Fig. 21.-Leaf, flowers and immature fruit of the sapote, Calocarpum sapota.

Florida Cooperative Extension

buds are covered with rusty brown tomentum. The small flow-
ers, produced in great numbers from October to December, in
clusters from the axils of fallen leaves on growth older than
the current season (Fig. 21), are polygamous, only a few ever
producing fruits.

Fig. 22.-The sapote fruit.

The fruits, ovoid to ellipsoid in shape and 3 to 6 inches long,
are russet brown in color with a somewhat scurfy surface (Fig.
22). A thick and woody rind encloses a firm pulp, reddish in
color and finely granular in texture. The flavor varies from
rich, sweet, and somewhat spicy to flat and insipid. Usually
there is but one large ellipsoidal seed. It is brown, hard, smooth

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

and lustrous except on the large ventral area which is whitish
and roughened. The peak of the ripening season of the few ob-
served bearing trees in Florida is from May through July. The
fruit is eaten fresh, used in sherbets, or made into marmalades.
Propagation is by seeds, which require about a month for
germination, or by side grafting young seedling stocks. Air
layering has proved possible in limited trials.
The green sapote or injerto, Calocarpum viride Pittier (Pou-
teria viridis (Pitt.) Cronquist), native to Central America, has
been grown in rare instances in southern Florida, but no fruiting
specimens are known there now. Trees 8 to 10 feet tall, growing
well at the Subtropical Experiment Station, were killed by flood
water in 1948. The tree resembles closely the sapote in foliage,
seed, and tenderness to cold. The oblate-sphaeroidal to ovoid
fruits are 21/2 to 4 inches in length, green in color and are thin
skinned. The flesh is pale red-brown in color, sweet, melting, and
somewhat juicy. It is commonly eaten fresh.
Propagation is by seeds, which retain their viability for only
a short time after removal from the fruit. It is probable that
grafting and air layering will also prove feasible.
Both sapote and injerto are attacked by one or more species
of bark-infesting scale insects, which must be controlled if the
vigor of young trees is to be maintained. Both species may be
seriously damaged or killed by flooding for several days.

Carissa carandas L. Karanda. (3) APOCYNACEAE.

The karanda, native to India, forms a large shrub with many
rigid, strong, thorny branches. When properly trained it is
suitable for a protective hedge. The shiny, somewhat leathery,
green leaves are broadly ovate, 11/2 to 3 inches long, with tips
rounded or obtuse, rarely mucronate. At the nodes and axils
are two simple or sometimes forked stout thorns, one to two
inches long. The fragrant flowers about three fourths inch
broad, are white or faintly flushed with pink, and are borne in
small terminal clusters. The corolla lobes are twisted anticlock-
wise in the bud. The globose to ovoid fruits, less than 1 inch
long are smooth, purplish black when ripe, with pale red acid
pulp containing several small flattened seeds (Fig. 23). When
cut the pulp exudes white droplets of gummy juice.
The karanda is not widely planted in southern Florida but
appears quite well adapted and thrives with little attention on
several soil types. The shrubs grow rankly when heavily ferti-

Florida Cooperative Extension

lized. Considerable variation in size of crop and quality of fruit
is exhibited among seedlings.
The fruit is somewhat too acid for eating fresh but is excel-
lent for jelly-making and for making refreshing drinks.
Propagation is by seed, but the seedlings are slow of growth.
Propagation by air layering and by rooting of cuttings is pos-

Carissa grandiflora. A. DC. Carissa. Natal-plum. Amatungula.
The carissa, a native of South Africa, is quite at home on a
wide variety of Florida soils. It is used extensively in the south-
ern half of the state as an ornamental shrub for foundation, spe-
cimen, and hedge planting. When planted as a hedge it forms
an almost impenetrable barrier.
Shrubby and dense in habit of growth, the plant does not de-
velop a tree shape, even though a height of 15 feet may be at-
tained (Fig. 24). The foliage is dark green and leathery and
the branches are heavily armed with strong two-pointed spines.
The fragrant flowers are in evidence several months of the year.
Fig. 23.-Fruits, foliage, and twig of the karanda, Carissa carandas.

i,.-~ -ri


Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits 39


Fig. 24.-The carissa shrub, Carissa grandiflora.

Fig. 25.-Foliage, flowers and fruit of the carissa.

Florida Cooperative Extension

They are white, solitary, about 2 inches across and very conspicu-
ous against the background of dark green foliage. The corolla
lobes are twisted to the left in the bud.
The dark red fruits, maturing in summer, are nearly ovoid
in shape and 1 to 2 inches in length (Fig. 25). The skin is
very thin, enclosing a firm, reddish pulp in which numerous small
seeds are embedded. When bruised or cut, the pulp exudes
white droplets of a gummy juice. The fruits are eaten fresh,
in salads, and as a sauce. The flavor is vaguely suggestive of
the raspberry.
Propagation may be effected by seeds, germinating in about
two weeks, but the seedlings are slow growing while young.
Layering of the branches near the ground is a very satisfactory
method of propagation, especially if the underside of the branch
is notched first. Marcottage is successful also. Cuttings may
be rooted with bottom heat, or if the young branches are cut half
through and allowed to hang thus until a callus is formed, the
cutting may be rooted without bottom heat.

Casimiroa edulis Llave & Lex. White-sapote. Matasano. (3)
The white-sapote, native to Mexico and Central America, has
proved adapted to Florida's soils where frosts are not too severe.
It is commonly grown in the more nearly frost-free sections,
but is not injured even when quite young by temperatures of
260 F., and has matured fruit in a protected location in Volusia
The tree as seen in Florida is usually of medium size, al-
though some quite large specimens are found (Fig. 26). Its
leaves are digitately compound, having three to seven leaflets,
but usually five (Fig. 27). These leaflets are 3 to 5 inches long,
elliptic, lanceolate or ovate in outline, shiny green above and
dull beneath. The inconspicuous flowers are greenish yellow
and appear during the winter. The fruit, which begins ripen-
ing in April, is dull green to greenish yellow in color, subglobose
to oblate in shape and 2 to 4 inches in diameter (Fig. 27). The
skin is very thin and easily broken and the cream-colored to
yellowish flesh is soft and sweet in desirable varieties. The
ovoid seeds, from one to five in number but usually three, are
large and hard. The fruit is eaten fresh, or occasionally in mar-
malade. There is wide variation in size and flavor of fruits
from different seedling trees, and most of them have a trace

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

of bitterness or a medicinal aftertaste. Several varieties are
propagated in a small way in Florida, among them Dade, Lenz,
and Golden. In addition there are some fruiting specimens of
California varieties, such as Pike, Whatley and Nancy Maltby.

Fig. 26.-The white-sapote tree, Casimiroa edulis.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Further selections may give varieties of larger size, fewer seeds
and better quality.
Propagation is by seed, germinating in three to four weeks,
by budding or by side grafting. Seeds should be planted soon
after removal from the fruit.
The wooly-leaved white-sapote, Casimiroa tetrameria Millsp.,
is quite similar to the common white-sapote except in foliage.

1F .0r,


Fig. 27.-Leaf, fruits and seed of the white-sapote.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

The lower leaf surfaces are covered with a dense velvety pub-
escence. The fruits are commonly somewhat larger than those
of the common white-sapote, but are otherwise identical. It is
questionable whether this is properly more than a botanical va-
riety of C. edulis.
The white-sapotes succeed better on sandy acid soils than
on the shallow limestone soils of Dade County, where the foliage
is more or less chlorotic unless the trees are fertilized heavily
with organic fertilizers and irrigated liberally. Several species

Fig. 28.-The star-apple tree, Chrysophyllum cainito.

Florida Cooperative Extension

of scale insects parasitize the trees and in some years fruit spots
of unknown cause are prevalent.

Chrysophyllum cainito L. Star-apple. Caimito. (1) SAPOTA-
The star-apple, native to the American tropics, attains a
height of 30 feet or more, and is of value both as an ornamental
and for its fruit (Fig. 28). The leaves are of striking appear-
ance. They are lanceolate to oblong in shape, 3 to 5 inches in
length, deep green and glabrous above and covered beneath with
a lustrous satiny yellowish-brown pubescence. The wild satin-
leaf (C. olivaeforme L.) of the hammocks of the Lower East
Coast is often mistaken for the star-apple but its fruits have
no commercial value.
Young star-apple trees are quite subject to frost injury and
may be killed outright at 310 F. Bearing trees have withstood
290 F. for several hours with only moderate damage. Trees
usually are slow to recover after damage from low temperatures.
The globose fruits are 2 to 4 inches in diameter with a smooth
skin, purple in some forms, green in others when ripe (Fig. 29).
The tender soft flesh has a mild sweet flavor and smooth tex-
ture when fully ripened. The interior of a transverse section
of the fruit suggests a star in the appearance of the brown seeds
and carpel segments. The ripening season is in April and May.
Many old trees in southern Florida have never fruited for some
unknown reason. Many of the fruits of bearing trees growing

Fig. 29.-Fruit and foliage of the star-apple, ( i.-, ..j.J. ,t, ,, cainito.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

at the Subtropical Station are mummified before maturity by
fungal infection.
Propagation is by seeds, which require about six weeks for
germination. Vegetative propagation is difficult, but marcot-
tage, and approach and cleft grafting are moderately successful.



Fig. 30.-Fruit and foliage of wampi, Clausena lansium.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Clausena lansium (Lour.) Skeels. Wampi. Wampee. (2)
The wampi is native to southern China and French Indo-
China. It is a small tree to 20 feet in height with odd-pinnate
leaves, having 5 to 11 alternate, ovate-elliptical, shiny, resinous
leaflets 3 to 5 inches long. The numerous small white flowers
are borne on large terminal panicles. The fruits are ovoid-glo-
bose, to 1 inch in diameter, pale yellow to yellowish green with
white aromatic, sub-acid pulp and with one to five green seeds or
sometimes seedless (Fig. 30).
The fruit usually is eaten fresh, but is reported to be suitable
for making pies, jellies and drinks.
The fruit from seedling trees varies considerably in size and
quality, but selection of better types has not yet been made in
Florida. Propagation has been by seed, but budding or grafting
should prove successful.
Swingle states that the wampi can be grafted on a Citrus root-
stock and thereby forced into early flowering and fruiting. Soft
wood cuttings have been successfully rooted in a constant-mist
propagating box.

Diospyros discolor Willd. Mabolo. (2) EBENACEAE.
The mabolo is not common in Florida but sufficient fruiting
specimens are now growing in several widely separated localities
on different soil types to show that it is adapted.
The tree is of medium size, with leathery, oblong, pointed
leaves 4 to 10 inches long, light green and smooth above, much
paler and more or less silky hairy beneath. The white flowers,
about 1/2 inch long, are borne near the ends of branchlets; the
pistillate few, solitary and axillary; the staminate more numer-
ous in small, rather tight clusters crowded close together along
the stem. Some trees apparently have ony staminate flowers
and produce no fruit. The fruits are globose or oblate, 2.5 to
3.5 inches in diameter, covered thickly with short reddish brown
hair (Fig. 31). The flesh is cream colored, rather dry, sweet
and aromatic, usually with several to eight rather large seeds.
Seedless forms are known with moister and sweeter flesh of
fairly good quality. The aroma of some fruits is quite strong
and disagreeable, but in others is mild and not unpleasant.
On limestone soils foliage chlorosis develops rather commonly,
but this condition can be overcome to a large extent by mulching
the soil and applying foliage sprays containing copper, zinc, and

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits


Fig. 31.-Foliage and fruit of the mabolo, Diospyros discolor.

Florida Cooperative Extension

manganese. Well cared for trees are attractive, especially when
in fruit.
Propagation is commonly by seeds, but desirable sorts can
be readily propagated by grafting. Simple side or veneer grafts,
using scions of mature wood from near the tips of pregirdled
branches, and vigorous young seedlings as stocks, have proved

Fig. 32.-Fruit and foliage of the black sapote, Diospyros ebenaster.

Diospyros ebenaster Retz. Black sapote. (2) EBENACEAE.
The black sapote, from Mexico, is still not common in Florida,
but a considerable number of trees have been fruiting for several
years in Dade County and occasional fruiting specimens may
be found in other localities as far north as Polk County. Young
trees are killed by freezing temperatures and must be protected
from cold during the first few winters. Older bearing trees will
withstand temperatures of 28 F. for short periods.
The tree is evergreen, of medium size (up to 25 feet), with
a fairly compact rounded habit and handsome in aspect. The
somewhat leathery leaves are bright green and shining, elliptic

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

to oblong in shape, usually obtuse at the apex, from 4 to 8 inches
long, and borne alternately on dark brown branchlets. The
flowers are small, white and inconspicuous. They are poly-
gamous, i.e., some are staminate and some are perfect. The
fruit is rounded oblate, from 2 to 5 inches in diameter, and dark
olive green at maturity with a conspicuous persistent green calyx
like that of the persimmon, its close relative (Fig. 32). A thin
skin encloses a soft pulpy flesh which is dark chocolate-brown in
color and gives the name to the fruit. The pulp is soft and sweet
but insipid. Addition of orange, lime or lemon juice improves
the flavor of the fruit which may be eaten fresh or cooked, al-
though some people object to the unattractive color of the flesh.
The flattened seeds about 3/ inch long imbedded in the flesh, vary
from none in an occasional fruit to as many as 10 in some fruits.
The ripening season usually is in fall and winter.
Propagation has been only by seeds, which germinate in
about a month, the seedlings growing with fair vigor. Seed-
lings have fruited in five years from seed, with a height of about
five feet and an equal spread.

Fig. 33.-Fruits and foliage of Dovyalis, abyssinica.
(Photo by Nixon Smiley.)

Florida Cooperative Extension

Dovyalis abyssinica (A. Rich.) Warb. (Aberia abyssinica Clos.)
This little known native of Ethiopia produces fruit superior
in quality for eating out of hand to the closely related kei-apple
and kitembilla, and when it becomes better known probably will
become more popular than either of these.
The plant is a bushy shrub up to 10 feet in height with the
bark on young wood bearing numerous raised brown lenticels.
The leaves are ovate, glabrous, shiny light green, 1 to 3 inches
long, arranged alternately on long, rather slender twigs, either
unarmed or nearly so, or armed with straight slender spines at
the leaf axils. Pistillate and staminate flowers are borne on
separate plants. For fruit production it is necessary to have
one staminate plant for several pistillate plants. Grafting scions
of staminate plants onto pistillate, or vice versa, is feasible. The
flowers are small, greenish-white and inconspicuous, borne in
the leaf axils, the staminate in clusters, the pistillate solitary.
The main flowering season is September to January, but scattered
bloom has been observed also from April to June.
The oblate globose fruits (Fig. 33) are about 1 inch in diam-
eter and apricot in color, having a thin tender skin, orange yellow
melting juicy flesh, and few small flattened seeds. The fruit is
tart with aroma and flavor suggesting fresh apricot.

A -

,. ,' ?2

Fig. 34.-Fruit and foliage of a natural Dovyalis abyssinica X D.
hebecarpa hybrid.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

Old bearing plants show considerable dying back of small
branches. Root galls caused by nematodes have been found on
roots of such plants.
Propagation is by seed and by grafting.
Dovyalis abyssinica X D. hebecarpa, a natural hybrid, was
recently distributed by the USDA as seedlings of P. I. 112086,
D. abyssinica. The first generation seedlings of this cross have
shown considerable vigor with many producing heavy yields of
large-size fruits (Fig. 34) and the plants either produce perfect
flowers or male and female flowers on the same plant. The fruit
is yellowish brown in color and less acid than the kitembilla.
Selections have been made and are being propagated by layering
or grafting on seedlings of D. hebecarpa. The fruit is used like
the other Dovyalis species.

Dovyalis caffra Warb. (Aberia caffra Harv. & Sonder). Kei-
apple. Umkokolo. (3) FLACOURTIACEAE.
The kei-apple, of South Africa, is a vigorous-growing, rather
dense, thorny shrub or small tree that can be grown all over the
south half of the State.
The plant makes a quick recovery if frozen back, and it is
possible for it to fruit the next season after being severely cold-
injured. It is reported to have withstood 20 F. apparently
without injury in California. 10
At maturity the kei-apple reaches a height of 15 to 20 feet,
but by pruning it can be grown as a hedge plant. The leaves are
shiny green, 11/2 to 21/2 inches long, on older wood in clusters
of two to four on short lateral spurs, but on young twigs borne
singly. The stems are armed with a long, sharp spine in each
of the axils. The yellowish, small and inconspicuous staminate
and pistillate flowers normally are borne on separate plants in
the leaf axils of younger branches. The blooming season is
February to June.
The fruit (Fig. 35) is rounded oblate in form, 1 to 1/ inches
in diameter, with a thin yellow to greenish yellow, smooth skin,
and yellow, melting juicy flesh, with five or more small, pointed,
flattened seeds. It ripens in summer and autumn, is aromatic
with an odor suggesting fresh apricot and is highly acid. Its use
is mainly for the preparation of sauces, preserves, and jelly.
"o Schroeder, C. A. The Kei Apple. Cal. Avoc. Soc. Yearbook 1947:

52 Florida Cooperative Extension

Plants should be spaced 10 to 12 feet apart for fruit produc-
tion but closer if planted as a hedge. Propagation is by seeds,
layers and buds.

Dovyalis hebecarpa Warb. (Aberia gardneri Clos.) Kitembilla.
Ceylon-gooseberry. (2) FLACOURTIACEAE.
The kitembilla, from Ceylon, has grown satisfactorily on both
the sandy soils of South Central Florida and the limestone soils
of the Lower East Coast. Although more tender than the kei-
apple, it possesses a degree of hardiness which makes it possible
to grow the plant as far north as Polk County and possibly far-
ther, in protected locations.
The plant is a shrub or small tree with upright slender spiny
branches, often drooping under the weight of their fruit, and
reaches a height of 15 feet (Fig. 36). Its foliage is light green,
with individual leaves lanceolate to oval, 2 to 4 inches long and
more or less velvety when young. The plants are normally
dioecious, with staminate and pistillate flowers on separate
plants, but an occasional isolated plant is found producing fruit
and having perfect flowers.
The velvet-coated fruit matures practically all year but mostly
from October to April. It is almost spherical, 1 inch or slightly

Fig. 35.-Portion of fruiting branch of the kei-apple, Dovyalis caffra.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

less in diameter, maroon-purple in color, with soft purplish, sub-
acid to acid, juicy flesh containing several small flattened soft
seeds. It is used for jellies and preserves. Care must be taken
to include some unripe fruit for jellies.
If seedlings are planted, several should be planted close to-
gether to assure fruiting. The size and quality of the fruit is
improved by insuring an abundant water supply during the
period of fruit development. Normally the plants are quite

Fig. 36.-The kitembilla bush, Dovyalis becrpa.

Fig. 36.-The kitembilla bush, Dovyalis hebecarpa.

Florida Cooperative Extension

On older plants the top should be thinned out by pruning to
prevent overcrowding of the numerous branches.
Propagation is by seeds which germinate in 10 to 15 days,
cuttings, and budding or grafting. Buds or scions should be
taken if possible from an isolated plant which is known to pro-
duce fruit. Cuttings strike readily.

Elaeagnus philippensis Perr. Lingaro. (2) ELAEAGNACEAE.
The lingaro, native to the Philippine Islands, is a climbing
or scandent evergreen shrub. It has shown itself well adapted
to conditions in Dade County, on both sandy and limestone soils.
The plant develops a hemispherical shape, when grown as usual
without support, with a height of 10 feet and a diameter of
20 feet or more. The leaves are small, oblong, pointed, light
green above and silvery-scurfy beneath. The new growth and
buds are an attractive bronze or russet color. In appearance
the plant resembles the more common Elaeagnus pungens, which
is grown as an ornamental in many Southern states. The flow-
ers are borne in small clusters from the axils of the leaves on
the new growth from January until March. They are yellow
inside and silver-scurfy outside.
The fruits, pink or pale red, are about the size and shape of
a very small olive, and are capped by the persistent calyx tubes

S37.-Fruit and foliage of the garo, Elaeags phppe

Fig. 37.-Fruit and foliage of the lingaro, Elaeagnus philippensis.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

(Fig. 37). They are smooth-skinned and contain a single slender
seed surrounded by a firm but juicy flesh. The flavor is rather
tart, although sweet, and the fruit is of value chiefly for making
a highly-colored jelly, although not unattractive for eating out
of hand when fully ripe. The fruiting season lasts all through
the spring, as only a few weeks are needed for the flowers to
develop into fruit.
Propagation is by seeds, which germinate in two or three
weeks, or by cuttings.

Eriobotrya japonica Lindl. (Photinia japonica Gray.) Loquat.
Japanese Medlar. (4) ROSACEAE.
The loquat, native to China, is grown as an ornamental or
garden tree and, being quite hardy, is found in limited numbers

Fig. 38.-Te lqa re ribty ao

Florida Cooperative Extension

throughout the state. The fruit is seldom matured in sections
north of Ocala, as it is on the tree during the winter months and
is damaged by temperatures slightly below freezing. The tree
thrives on numerous soil types, provided good drainage exists.
Fire blight, caused by a bacterium, sometimes kills blossoms
and branches during the spring months, but can be controlled by
carefully pruning out and burning infected parts. Spraying
with a mild copper fungicide after pruning, provides added
insurance for checking the disease, but is seldom necessary.
The tree is a symmetri-
cal evergreen, a t t a i n s a
height of about 25 feet and
has a fairly dense crown
(Fig. 38). Its large, stiff
leaves, 8 to 12 inches in
length with sharply dentate
margins, are glossy on the
upper surfaces and whitish-
to slightly rusty-tomentose
beneath. The bark of the

Fig. 39.-Loquat foliage and fruit.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

smaller branches is likewise covered with woolly tomentum.
The fragrant dingy white flowers are born in terminal panicles
mostly from October through February, but in extreme southern
Florida scattered bloom may also appear in spring and summer.
The fruit is firm-fleshed and juicy. It ripens mostly in winter
and early spring. The color varies from pale yellow to orange
and the form from globose to pear-shaped (Fig. 39). The size
is small, about 11/2 inches being the average length. The size
of the fruit is increased by irrigation and fertilizing liberally
during the period of fruit development. The seeds, usually two
or three to the fruit, are large, smooth, and brown, and are flat
on the common sides where more than one are in the same fruit.
The fruit is eaten fresh or may be utilized in the making of jellies,
preserves, pies, etc. Loquat jelly is of superior quality.
Most of the trees in Florida are seedlings, but several va-
rieties are grown also, among them the Advance, Champagne,
Early Red, Oliver, Pineapple, Premier, Tanaka, and Thales.
The latter two are sometimes classified as Chinese, and all
others as Japanese, but no clear-cut characters distinguish
these groups. In southern Florida the Oliver variety, the re-
sult of crossing the Olivier on the Tanaka, has proved the most
satisfactory all-purpose loquat. A seedling (SES-4) from the
original Subtropical Experiment Station planting, with large
pale yellow, rather tart fruits, has been propagated in a limited
way as a cooking type of loquat.
Propagation is by seeds, budding and marcottage, but graft-
ing is the preferred method. Seedling loquats are used exclu-
sively in Florida as rootstocks for budding or grafting. If bud-
ding is pacticed, a long shield bud inserted in late fall as a dor-
mant bud is used; then growth is forced by lopping the stock
early the next spring. Side veneer grafting is perhaps the easi-
est method of propagation and can be done at any season of the
year that satisfactory stocks are available. Cleft and whip grafts
are also satisfactory.

Eugenia aggregata Kiaersk. Cherry of the Rio Grande. (3)
Cherry of the Rio Grande was introduced from Brazil as
Myrciaria edulis Skeels. It does not belong to the genus Myrci-
aria and has recently been tentatively identified as E. aggregate.
It is not common in Florida but apparently is adapted and de-
serving of wider cultivation.

Florida Cooperative Extension

The shrubby evergreen tree to about 15 feet in height has an
upright compact habit of growth and is very attractive when
well fertilized and given sufficient water, especially when in fruit.
The smooth, glossy, dark green leaves, are narrow elliptic, 21/2
to 3 inches long, borne on short grooved petioles. The white
flowers are solitary but borne in pairs opposite each other in the
axil of a bract. Two conspicuous, leafy, heart-shaped or ovate
bracts about 5/8 inch long and 3/8 inch wide are borne below the
flower, free at the base, but overlapping and clasping the pedicel.
The fruit is a berry, oblong to obovate, 3/ to 1 inch long, % inch
wide, with the 4 calyx lobes persistent at the apex (Fig. 40).

Fig. 40.-Foliage and fruit of cherry of the Rio Grande,
Eugenia aggregate.

The ovate bracts persist at the base of the fruit but usually fall
away easily when the fruit is harvested. The fruit turns from
orange-red, through deep red to purple-red when fully ripe. It
has a thin skin and juicy sub-acid pulp of good flavor. Seeds
none or 1 to 2, white, rounded, about 1/4 inch in diameter. The
trees flower in March to May, with fruit maturing in about 3
weeks after the flowers open. The fruit is valued mainly for
eating fresh.
Propagation is by seeds, but grafting is reported to be suc-
cessful in South Africa.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

Eugenia dombeyi Skeels. (E. brasiliensis Lam.) Grumichama.
The grumichama, a Brazilian fruit, is still not common in
Florida but is deserving of wider cultivation. The tree is attrac-
tive when well fertilized and given sufficient water. It appears
to be better adapted to acid sandy soils than to shallow lime-
stone, but will succeed on the latter if the trees are adequately
mulched, fertilized and irrigated.

Fig. 41.-Foliage and fruit of the grumichama, Eugenia dombeyi.

The tree is evergreen, small in size and compact in habit, with
leathery, glossy, oval to obovate-oblong leaves 4 to 5 inches in
length and 2 to 21/2 inches in breadth. The fruit, pendant on
long slender stems 11/2 to 2 inches long, is globose to oblate,
scarlet to purplish-black in color and has four large persistent
sepals at the apex (Fig. 41). Fruit size from different seedlings

Florida Cooperative Extension

varies from 1/2 to nearly 1 inch in diameter, but is increased
generally by increasing richness of the soil and the water supply
during the period of fruit development. The skin is thin and
delicate. The flesh is soft melting and sweet with an agreeable
flavor. The plump rounded seeds usually are one or two, but
sometimes more in number. The ripening season extends from
March to August. There is a lapse of but a few weeks between
time of blossoming and mature fruit, but some seedlings bloom
later than others, thus extending the season.
Propagation is by seeds, germinating in about a month. Seed-
lings grow vigorously in potting soils consisting mainly of acid
peat, but are unthrifty in alkaline soils or in soils containing
little organic material.

Eugenia luschnathiana Klotzsch, Ex Berg. Pitomba. (2) MYR-
The pitomba, from Brazil, is little known in Florida, but is
deserving of wider cultivation. The tree is attractive, espe-
cially when in fruit. Its hardiness may be comparable to that
of the grumichama. In its soil and moisture requirements it is
similar to the latter but is somewhat more tolerant of limestone.
The tree, which is evergreen, is said to reach a height of 30
feet in Brazil, with a compact habit and dense foliage. The
leathery leaves are elliptical lanceolate, about 3 inches long,
glossy and deep green above and light green below. The orange-
yellow fruits are broadly obovoid, about 1 inch long, with the
apex broad and flattened, crowned by four or five green sepals
1/2 inch or more in length (Fig. 42). The thin, easily broken
skin encloses a juicy, soft, orange-colored pulp of an agreeable
tart aromatic flavor. The seeds, from one to sometimes several,
are attached to one side of the seed cavity. The season of ma-
turity in Florida is May to July. The fruit is said to be esteemed
for making jellies and is also used for making jams and sherbets.
Propagation is by seeds, the seedlings growing vigorously in
potting soils containing a high percentage of organic matter.

Eugenia uniflora L. (E. micheli Lam.) Pitanga. Surinam-
cherry. (3) MYRTACEAE.
The pitanga, native to Brazil, is grown extensively in the
southern half of the state as an ornamental shrub or hedging
plant. It is well adapted to such use. In Florida it is usually
seen as a broad, compact evergreen shrub up to 10 feet in height.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

The numerous ovate leaves 1 to 2 inches long are a rich wine
color when young, becoming deep green and somewhat glossy.
The resistance of this species to cold makes possible its suc-
cessful growth as far north as Orange County.


< ^__11---

I 1--1111 lii ['IIi' i*; i' ii'1 J i I I q ii
Fig. 42.-Foliage and fruit of the pitomba, Eugenia luschnathiana.

Only a few weeks intervene between flowering and maturing
the fruit. The creamy white slightly fragrant flowers about 1/2
inch broad are borne in the axils of the leaves. The main crop
matures in spring, but frequently a second crop is produced in
the fall or early winter.
The sub-globose to oblate fruits, borne singly or in small
clusters, pendant on slender stems, average about an inch in
diameter, and usually are prominently eight-ribbed (Fig. 43),
but in some with ribbing indistinct. Skin color varies from
light to very dark crimson or nearly black. The skin is very
thin and the pulp is soft and juicy. The flavor is sweet, acidu-
lous and aromatic in the better sorts, resinous and unpleasant
in some. As in many of the edible species of Eugenia, fruit

Florida Cooperative Extension

size is increased and quality is improved when the plants are
well nourished and watered during the period of fruit develop-
ment. The pulp usually surrounds one large, round seed or two
or three smaller seeds flattened on their common sides so as
to make a rounded whole. The color of the pulp is the same as
that of the skin.

Fig. 43.-Fruit and foliage of the surinam-cherry, Eugenia tniflora.

When fully ripened, the pitanga is eaten as a fresh fruit
either out of hand or mixed with other fruits in salads. It is
also esteemed for making jellies or sherbets. In season the fruit
is found in small quantities on the markets in the southern half
of the state.
Propagation is by seed which germinate in three to four
weeks. Fruits from seedlings of the nearly black-fruited type
show considerable variation in skin color. The pitanga is readily
cleft or side grafted, but considerable suckering below the graft

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

union occurs. Attempts to propagate by marcottage or by cut-
tings have been unsuccessful to date.

Euphoria longana Lam. (Nephelium longana Cam.) Longan.
Lungan. (3) SAPINDACEAE.
The longan, a close relative of the lychee, is a handsome, me-
dium-sized, evergreen tree up to 35 feet in height with dense
dark-green foliage and brown twigs. The leaves are compound,
to 12 inches long, with 6 to 12 alternate or nearly opposite ellip-
tic to lanceolate leathery leaflets 3 to 6 inches long. The small
flowers are borne thickly on large upright, branched panicles
at branch tips and leaf axils. Only a small percentage of the
flowers set fruit, but even so, the trees often overbear. The
Chinese practice severe thinning, sometimes removing more
than half of the panicles to increase the size of the fruit.

Fig. 44.-Fruit and foliage of the longan, Euphoria longana.

The fruits, maturing mostly in July and August, are globose,
1 inch or less in diameter, with a thin, nearly smooth, reddish
brown rind (Fig. 44) and a rather large brown seed enclosed
in a gelatinous whitish edible aril. The flavor is fairly sweet
and pleasant in fruit from some seedlings, but flat and of in-
different quality from others. The fruits are eaten fresh, dried,
or preserved.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Although generally recognized as less delicious than the ly-
chee, the longan merits wider planting both as an ornamental
and, in the better sorts, for its fruit. It is hardier than the
lychee and less exacting in its cultural requirements. It responds
well, however, to good care. On shallow limestone and light
sandy soils heavy mulching, the liberal use of natural organic
fertilizers, and an adequate water supply during the period of
fruit development is recommended.
Propagation is by marcottage and by seed.

Feijoa sellowiana Berg. Feijoa. Pineapple-guava. (4) MYR-
The feijoa, brought from the South American subtropics,
apparently is hardy throughout Florida. It has withstood tem-
peratures of 140 F. without injury. In Florida the plant is
valued as an ornamental. It lends itself admirably to this use,
as the growth is slow and the plant fairly free of injurious insects
or diseases.

Fig. 45.-The feijoa shrub, Feijoa sellowiana.

The feijoa is a shrubby plant that attains a height of about
15 feet and does not assume a tree form but branches from
the ground. It usually has a spread which is as great as or

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

greater than the height (Fig. 45). The foliage and bark are
grayish-the leaves small, not over 21/2 inches in length, light
shiny green on the surface and gray tomentose beneath. The
flowers, emerging in April, are striking in appearance. The
white, thick petals, which are edible, have a purplish tinge on
the inner side and are in strong contrast to the numerous crim-
son stamens (Fig. 46).

Fig. 46.-Feijoa foliage and blossoms.

The fruit, oblong to round in shape and gray-green in color,
ripens in August and September (Fig. 47). It falls to the ground
with maturity. A maximum size is about 3 inches in length.

Florida Cooperative Extension


Fig. 47.-Feijoa foliage and fruit.


Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

The flavor is good, resembling to a degree that of a blend of
strawberry and pineapple. Numerous very small seeds are em-
bedded in the white pulp. Like that of the common guava, the
fruit is eaten fresh or utilized in jelly making.
There are some named varieties, as the Andre, Coolidge,
Choice, and Superba, but most grown are seedlings. In some
instances plants have failed to bear fruit despite profuse bloom-
ing. This may be due to lack of pollination and seemingly can
be overcome by interplanting of varieties or of seedlings from
different sources.
Propagation is mainly by seeds which germinate within two
to three weeks. Cuttings and layers can be used, but both are
very slow. Grafting on seedling stock is the best method of
perpetuating varieties.

Flacourtia indica Merr. (F. ramontchi L'Her.) Ramontchi.
Governor's-plum. (2) FLACOURTIACEAE.
The ramontchi, native to Madagascar and southern Asia, is
well adapted to Florida locations experiencing little frost. While
it may attain a height of 25 feet under favorable conditions, it is
always shrubby in habit, and usually is seen as a dense rounded
shrub to 12 feet in height. By reason of its fruitfulness and
growth habits it may be used as a dual-purpose plant-as a hedge
and for the fruit. The branches usually are sparsely armed with
sharp axillary spines which are up to an inch in length. One
form, accessioned as Flacourtia sp., is practically free of spines.
The leaves are 2 to 3 inches long, ovate to oblong obovate, with
dentateserrate edges, glabrous, deep-green above and slightly
paler below, glossy and slightly leathery.
The fruit is a sub-globose berry averaging less than 1 inch
in diameter and maturing in summer (Fig. 48). The smooth
skin varies from a deep dull red to dark purple or almost black.
The fairly soft, rather juicy flesh contains several small, thin
seeds. Considerable variation is apparent in the flavor of fruits
from seedling plants, some being sweet and agreeable and others
quite acid. All are astringent unless fully ripe. The fruit is
best eaten fresh without cooking.
Staminate and pistillate flowers normally are borne on sepa-
rate plants. Fruiting of pistillate plants is increased by inter-
planting with staminate ones. Pistillate plants of the nearly
spineless form referred to above, however, have produced abun-
dant fruits in locations far removed from staminate plants.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Propagation is by seed, by cuttings of

mature wood, or by

Fig. 48.-Foliage and fruit of the ramontchi, Flacourtia indica.

Two other species of Flacourtia are fruiting in southern Flor-
ida, the paniala, F. cataphracta Roxb. (F. jangomas Gmel.)
from India and Malaya, and the rukam, F. rukam Zoll. & Mor.,
from Malaysia. They resemble the ramontchi in general habit,
but are more upright in growth, with larger and more abun-
dant spines, longer and narrower leaves, and more acid fruits.
That of the paniala is either deep red or purplish, while the
rukam fruit is dark purple. Both fruits are from 3% to 1 inch

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

in diameter, with numerous seeds. Fruits of the paniala are
mildly acid to acid and of a pleasant flavor. Fruits of the rukam
are acid and somewhat astringent. The fruit of both species is
reported to be useful for making jellies. Propagation is the
same as for the ramontchi.
The Flacourtias are easy to grow on both sandy and limestone
soils. Some pruning is required to keep the plants from be-
coming too dense. The plants are somewhat drought-resistant,
but should be irrigated during the period of fruit development
unless soil moisture is adequate. The ramontchi has escaped
cultivation in Dade County and may become a weed pest, and
there is some evidence of natural hybridization in wild plants.

Garcinia livingstonei Ander. Imbe. (2) GUTTIFERAE.
The imbe, native to Portuguese East Africa, has proven itself
well adapted to both sandy and limestone soils of southern Flor-
ida. It is reported to withstand temperatures as low as 200 F.
when mature without serious injury. The small, compact, slen-
der tree reaches a height of 15 to 20 feet, but has a shrubby habit
and is usually multiple stemmed (Fig. 49). The branches are
rather short and thick and the leaves are stiff and leathery, ob-
long in shape, from 4 to 6 inches long and from 1 to 2 inches
wide, dark green in color, with greenish white veins. Flowering
usually occurs from February to April but in some years a second
bloom occurs in late summer and fall, the greenish-yellow flow-
ers being borne in clusters in the axils of fallen leaves.
Fruits from the early boom mature from April to August
and from the later bloom from October to January in different
seedlings. The tree is very attractive when loaded with ripe
fruit. The broadly ovoid fruits, 1 to 2 inches in diameter are
orange in color, with a large seed and a thin layer of sweet,
acidulous firm flesh of pleasant flavor. The plant is worthy of
wider planting as an ornamental but, unless the thickness of pulp
can be increased by breeding or selection, the fruit has little
promise of gaining in popularity.
Propagation has been entirely by seed. Vegetative means of
propagation have not been tried extensively, since seedlings
bearing fruits of worthwhile quality have not been found.
Several other species of Garcinia are grown and have fruited
in Florida. Among these are G. tinctoria (D.C.) W. F. Wight,
a symmetrical small evergreen tree with attractive glossy foliage

Florida Cooperative Extension

and handsome yellow globose fruits 2 to 21/2 inches in diameter
and with a pointed projection at the apex and yellow, juicy,
quite acid pulp; and G. spicata (Wight & Arn.) Hook. f., a me-
dium sized evergreen tree with shining leaves, small flowers in


Fig. 49.-The imbe tree, Garcinia livingstonei.

clusters and smooth green fruits of unpleasant taste. These
species are of interest in Florida chiefly for their ornamental
value. The tree of G. tinctoria is sometimes mistaken for G.
mangostana L., an excellent tropical fruit not adapted to the
subtropical climate of Florida.

I 97

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

Hylocereus undatus Britt. & Rose (H. tricostatus Britt. & Rose.
Cereus triangularis Hort.) Pitaya. Night-blooming Cereus.
Strawberry-pear. (1) CACTACEAE.
The pitaya (or pitajaya) is a Mexican cactus grown in the
warmer sections as a popular ornamental. It will climb vigor-
ously up trees or over walls, adhering by means of aerial roots
which grow from the under side of the stems. It has extremely
large flowers (Fig. 50), opening at night, and heavy, fleshy,
three-angled, jointed stems with short spines on cushions an
inch or more apart. The oval red fruits, about 3 inches in di-
ameter (Fig. 51), contain numerous, small black seeds embedded
in a soft, white, juicy edible pulp of indifferent quality.

Fig. 50.-The pitaya in blossom. (Photo by Turnage.)

Hylocereus guatemalensis (Eichlam) Britton & Rose, from
Guatemala, has been grown successfully for several years at the
Subtropical Station near Homestead. It is quite similar to the
pitaya, but in some respects is more ornamental. The jointed

Fig. 51-The pitaya fruit, Hyloereus udatus. (Photo by Turage.)

Fig. 51.-The pitaya fruit, Hylocereus undatus. (Photo by Turnage.)

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

stems are not so heavy and are less thorny. The fruits are a
deep purplish red in color with edible juicy flesh of the same
color (Fig. 52).
Both species are propagated by cuttings.

I /

2 3 4 5 t

Fig. 52.-Fruits of Hylocereus guatemalensis.

Macadamia ternifolia F. Muell. Macadamia, Queensland Nut.
The macadamia, native to Queensland and New South Wales,
is a handsome evergreen tree with considerable ornamental value.
It is said to attain a height of 60 feet or more with a spread of
40 feet in its native habitat. In Florida, when grown on shallow
limestone soil, it is a slow growing well-shaped tree of small to
medium size. Seedlings exhibit considerable variation in shape,

Florida Cooperative Extension

from slender and upright growing to moderately low and spread-
ing. The dark green, glabrous, shining leaves are oblong-lanceo-
late, from 3 to 12 inches long, usually in whorls of 3 but some-
times of 2 or 4; the blade margins range from nearly smooth to
serrate and somewhat prickly. The inflorescence is a pendu-
lous spike-like raceme as long as the leaves, borne in leaf axils.
The small, apetalous, creamy white to pinkish white, perfect
flowers are borne in groups of 3 or 4 along the rachis of the
raceme. A single raceme may bear from 1 to several hundred
flowers of which only 1 to 20 may set fruit.
The fruit is a follicle made up of a leathery pericarp enclosing
a globular seed 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter with a very hard durable
seed coat (Fig. 53). Occasionally the fruit contains 2 hemispher-

Fig. 53.-Foliage, infloresence and fruits of macadamia,
Macadamia ternifolia.

ical seeds. On maturity the exocarp splits and the fruit falls
to the ground. About 6 to 7 months is required from blossom
for the fruit to become fully mature. The nuts ripen over a
period of several months and should be harvested at intervals of
1 to 2 weeks, especially during rainy weather to avoid spoilage.
The gathered, husked, unshelled nuts can be stored satisfac-
torily several months in dry storage, if they have been dried
by natural or artificial means to about 10 percent moisture before
storing. In commercial practice in Hawaii they usually are
processed within 2 or 3 months after harvesting.
Macadamia nuts cannot be cracked satisfactorily with the
usual type of hand nut crackers because of the extremely hard
shells. In commercial practice they are cracked by power-driven

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

nut-cracking machines. Improvised nut crackers can be made
from vise-grip pliers that do a satisfactory job.
Macadamia nuts compare very favorably with other fine
quality nuts in flavor, texture and nutritive value. They are
pleasantly crisp with a distinctive sweetish flavor when eaten
fresh; processed, they rank among the best of the confectionery
The average macadamia seedling trees have not proved to
be heavy bearers under Florida conditions. Several better-yield-
ing selections from Florida seedlings are under trial (Fig. 54),


Fig. 54.-Grafted four-year-old tree of seedling selection of
macadamia at Subtropical Experiment Station.

as well as grafted trees of several of the named Hawaiian varie-
ties. Macadamias can be side- or veneer-grafted readily, using
scions from pre-girdled branches, and other methods of grafting
have been successful. The tree is worthy of being planted


Florida Cooperative Extension

more widely as an ornamental. The glossy, dark green foliage
resembles holly somewhat. On shallow limestone soil the trees
are sometimes uprooted by high winds. They appear to grow
quite well on acid sandy soils. Serious insect and disease prob-
lems have not developed thus far in Florida plantings.

Malpighia glabra L.11 Barbados cherry. West Indian Cherry,
acerolaa". (2) MALPIGHIACEAE.
The Barbados
cherry is native
to the West In-
dies and to the
area from north-
ern South A-
merica to south-
ern Texas. It is
grown in a lim-
ited way in the
southern c o u n-
ties of Florida,
but is too tender
for the northern
The plant is a
spreading, dense-
ly branched shrub
sometimes reach-
ing a height of 12
feet. Mature
leaves are deep
green and shin-
ing above, % to
3 inches in length
and commonly
about half as
wide, usually
Fig. 55.-Foliage, flowers and fruit of the barbados- ovate to obovate
cherry, Malpigh lia globroa.
in shape, with
margins entire but often undulate (Fig. 55). The axillary 5-pet-
aled flowers range from pale pink to rose colored. They usually

n Both M. glabra L. and M. punicifolia L. have been used in Florida as
the binomial for Barbados cherry.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

appear in April in southern Florida, with the first crop of fruit
maturing early in May. Flowering continues throughout the
summer and two or three crops of fruit usually mature prior to



Fig. 56.-Fruit and seeds of the Barbados cherry. (Twice nature size.)

The soft, juicy, thin-skinned fruits, from 1/2 to slightly more
than 1 inch in diameter, are light to deep crimson in color, and
are borne in leaf axils singly or in clusters of two or three. They
are three-lobed with usually three small seeds, each enclosed in
a rather large, prominently crested parchment-like "stone" (Fig.
56). Fruit from most seedlings is rather tart, but from some is
sub-acid to almost sweet. It is easily bruised and highly perish-
able and should be used soon after harvest. The fruit pulp is
used in preparing highly palatable ices, beverages, preserves,

Florida Cooperative Extension

jams, and jellies. The discovery in 1946 12 of the extremely high
ascorbic acid content of the fruit has stimulated interest in
growing the fruit more extensively. Possible new commercial
uses for the juice or pulp include addition to other processed
fruits to fortify the ascorbic acid content of the product. There
is also the possibility that crystalline ascorbic acid could be pro-
duced economically from the fruit.
The plant responds to well-balanced fertilization and, on lime-
stone soils, to nutritional sprays containing copper, zinc, and in
some cases manganese. The size and quality of the fruit is im-
proved by adequate fertilization and, during dry periods, by lib-
eral irrigation. The plants, however, thrive best in well drained
soils. They have been killed outright at the Subtropical Ex-
periment Station during flash floods when water stood higher
than the crown roots for several days.
A number of insects attack the plant, including Florida wax
scale, Mango scale, whiteflies, a leaf roller, and plant bugs that
sting the fruits. The Barbados cherry is subject to root-knot
caused by soil-inhabiting nematodes. Keeping the plants well
mulched helps to overcome the damage caused by root-knot.
Propagation is best accomplished by hardwood cuttings, but
may be by seeds, many of which, however, are infertile. Mar-
cottage is successful and it has been reported that shield bud-
ding is possible. Desirable clons may also be sidegrafted to
seedling stocks of M. glabra or M. suberosa Small. The latter
species is highly resistant to root-knot and is under study as a
possible root-stock for the Barbados cherry.

Mammea americana L. Mamey. Mammee-apple. (1) GUT-
The mamey, native to the West Indies and northern South
America, is grown to a very limited extent in the warmest parts
of the State. The evergreen tree is of value as an ornamental
fully as much as for its fruit. It forms a compact, somewhat
cylindrical head and may reach a height of 50 or 60 feet. The
branches are heavy and the crown of foliage dense. The leaves
are a shining deep green, leathery, oblong-obovate, oval, or ellip-
tic, 4 to 8 inches long and usually blunt at the apex (Fig. 57).
The white, large, fragrant flowers are polygamous. On some
trees they are predominantly male and little or no fruit is pro-

Asenjo, C. F., and A. R. Freire de Guzman. The high ascorbic acid
content of the West Indian cherry. Science 103 : 219. 1946.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

duced. Other trees produce predominantly female or perfect
flowers and bear good crops.
The fruits, 4 to 8 inches in diameter, ripen in summer. They
are subglobose with a slight nipple at the apex, and have a skin
that is thick, rough, and russetted. A yellow to reddish flesh
surrounds from one to four ellipsoid seeds 2 to 23/4 inches long.

Fig. 57.-Foliage of the mamey, Mammea americana.

The flavor varies in fruits from different trees from sweet to
sub-acid. The fruits of some seedlings may be eaten out of hand
or sliced and served with wine or with sugar and cream. In
the form of preserves or jam, or simply as a stewed fruit, it is
of good quality, the taste being quite like that of the apricot.
In Cuba, the mamey is often known as Mamey de Santo Domingo
to distinguish it from the Mamey sapote, as the sapote is often
Propagation is by seeds, which germinate in about two months.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Melicocca bijuga L. Mamoncillo. Genip. Spanish-lime. (1)
The mamoncillo, native to tropical America, thrives in the
warmer parts of Florida. Trees are growing at Fort Myers,
Palm Beach and other places on the mainland, but it seems to
fruit most prolifically at Key West.

Fig. 58.-Fruit and foliage of mamoncillo, Melicocca bijuga.

The tree is of large size, erect in habit of growth, and is said
to be slow-growing. Its shining green leaves are abruptly pin-
nate. Each leaf has two pairs of elliptic-oblong leaflets, the
lower pair being much reduced in size (Fig. 58). The fragrant,
greenish-white, inconspicuous flowers are borne in terminal pani-

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

cles. The flowers are unisexual, though the tree apparently
is polygamous. In those which are bisexual the anthers seem
to be functionless. Some trees fail to set fruit, possibly due
to a preponderance of either staminate or pistillate blossoms.
The subglobose fruits, about an inch in diameter, contain one
large round seed tenaciously embedded in an agreeably flavored,
juicy, acid to sub-acid, whitish pulp. The skin is thick, green,
and tough. As a fresh fruit, it is held in high esteem in Key
West, particularly fruit of the less acid types. All mamoncillos
are astringent when not fully ripe. The fruit matures mostly
from July to October.
Propagation is by seeds.
Grafting has been unsuccessful.
Limited success has been ob-
tained by air layering but the
method is slow and uncertain. it

Monstera deliciosa Liebm. Ceri-
man. (1) ARACEAE.
This evergreen Mexican aroid
is grown in the more protected
locations not only as an unus-
ual ornamental vine but also
for its fruit. The plants are
vigorous scrambling climbers
having immense, broad, long-
petioled, perforated and incised Fig. 59.-The ceriman, Monstera
thery lves that aa a deliciosa. (Photo by A. F. Camp.)
leathery leaves that attain a
blade length of 2 feet or more (Fig. 59). It clings to its sup-
port (any rough surface being satisfactory) by heavy aerial
roots. Frequently it is grown without any support, forming
dense mats many feet in diameter.
The flowers are like huge calla lilies, with a waxy white spathe
enclosing a green spadix (Fig. 1). They appear from June to
September. From the spadix develops a large fruit the size and
shape of an ear of corn, which matures in the late summer or
fall of the succeeding year, some 14 months or more after bloom-
ing (Fig. 60). These fruits are edible, the soft pulp having
a delicate pineapple-banana odor and an agreeable sweetish taste.
Not everyone likes them, however, as the spicules or crystals
of calcium oxalate which are present cause a burning sensation

Florida Cooperative Extension

on the throat and tongue of some people. Others are very fond
of the fruit. Care must be taken that the fruit is fully mature,
which is indicated by a yellowing of the green color of the fruit
and by the loosening of the scales which cover the surface, so

Fig. 60.-Fruit and leaf of the ceriman.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

that they fall off easily. When cut, the stem should be placed
in a glass of water until the lower scales drop, indicating that
the fruit is ready to eat. It ripens from the base upward and
not all simultaneously. Fruits may be kept for weeks in a re-
frigerator and eaten a little at a time. Occasionally on local
markets, they are reported to bring fair prices.
Propagation is by stem cuttings, each having two or more
segments or buds, which may be planted where the vine is
wanted or in pots. Seeds, infrequently produced, may be planted.

Muntingia calabura L. Capulin. Jam-fruit. (2) TILIACEAE
(sometimes placed in ELAEOCARPACEAE.
The capulin, native to tropical America and the West Indies,
is a small tree to 30 feet tall, with slender, somewhat drooping
branches bearing soft leaves arranged in one plane. The leaves
are very oblique at the base and long pointed, 3 to 5 inches long,
with edges coarsely and unequally toothed. Lower surfaces are
white or grayish from dense stellate hairs. The flowers, about
0.75 inch in diameter, with white petals and numerous prom-
inent stamens, are borne in leaf axils almost continually, but
more abundantly from April to October. The fruit is a globose,
smooth, red or yellow berry about 1/2 inch in diameter, with
very sweet, juicy pulp and numerous minute seeds (Fig. 61).
It is eaten fresh and is said to make good tarts and jam.
The capulin tree grows rapidly and often begins to bear fruit
within two years from seeds. It apparently is better adapted

Fig. 61.-Fruit and foliage of the capulin, Muntingia calabura.


Florida Cooperative Extension

to sandy soils than to limestone. The leaves are subject to a
leaf spot and many smaller twigs die back on trees growing on
limestone. Root suckering also occurs more or less on these soils.
Propagation is by seeds.

Musa paradisiaca var. sapientum Kuntz. (Musa sapientum L.)
Common Banana. (3) MUSACEAE.
Bananas, native to India and China but now widely cultivated
in the tropics, are grown mainly in the south half of the penin-
sula. The plant is seriously damaged by temperatures of 250 F.
and sustained cold much below freezing is fatal. When only the
tops are frozen back the underground portion puts forth new
shoots with the return of warmer weather. Fruiting is almost
entirely prevented if the foliage is severely damaged by cold. The
presence of a growing plant does not necessarily indicate that
fruit can be produced in that area. Leaves are damaged by
strong winds and bananas should not be planted in exposed loca-
tions. Tattered older leaves are unsightly and cannot function as
well as undamaged entire leaves. The banana is seriously dam-
aged by salt water or by high concentration of chlorides in soil.
The banana is a rapid-growing, herbaceous plant varying in
height from 5 to 25 feet, depending on variety and location. The
stalk or false trunk is succulent and is composed of concentric
layers, being made up of the compressed leaf sheaths. When
the plant reaches flowering age the terminal inflorescence forces
its way upward through the stalk, emerging at the top of the
pseudostem. In most varieties the floral stalk bends downward
but the fruits turn upward. In the common varieties the first
clusters of flowers which open at the base of the rachis are female
with abortive stamens and these set as "hands" of fruit. The
ovary is inferior and conspicuous, appearing as a very small
banana. The flowers along the middle of the rachis appear to
be perfect, but both male and female parts are abortive. These
flower clusters and their bracts are shed. Male flowers appear
near the tip of the rachis and are shed in turn, leaving the tip
of the flowering stem bare. An exception to this is the Cavendish
or Chinese Dwarf banana, on the flowering stalk of which the
male flowers persist. Each stalk produces fruit but once. New
stalks arise as suckers from the base and in their turn are
capable of producing fruit. A strong sucker may bear when
12 to 18 months old, but rapidity of production and time of
ripening vary according to both soil and climatic conditions.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

The old stalks are cut to the ground after fruiting and gen-
erally not more than three to five suckers are allowed to grow
from the base at one time. Porous, moist but well-drained soils





Fig. 62.-The Cavendish banana.





Florida Cooperative Extension

containing considerable organic matter are best suited. A heavy
mulch, continually renewed, is especially beneficial.
The Lady-Finger is, a popular tall-growing variety. Lady-
Finger fruits are 4 to 6 inch long and weigh about 2 ounces.
The Cavendish (variously called M. nana Lour., M. cavendishii
Lamb. or included in M. paradisiaca var. sapientum) is of Chi-
nese origin (Fig. 62). It is a stout-stemmed dwarf type that
reaches a height of but 5 to 7 feet at.maturity. This variety is
hardier than other dessert bananas and is considerably more
wind resistant than taller varieties. The fruits are 6 to 8 inches
long and weigh 4 to 5 ounces. They are of good quality but are
thin-skinned and require careful handling. Other varieties oc-
casionally grown include the Apple and the Orinoco (horse- or
hog-banana). The Apple is fairly hardy and prolific but the
fruit is not of as good quality as Cavendish fruit. The plant is
medium in size, producing small bunches of short, plump fruits
which should be fully ripened before eating. The Orinoco pro-
dices small bunches of thick, angular fruits, about 6 inches
long, of poor quality as fresh fruit but acceptable when cooked.
This variety possibly should be classified as a plantain. The
Gros Michel or Jamaica, the chief commercial variety of the
tropics, is not well adapted to Florida conditions.
Propagation is by 7- to 10-pound divisions of the underground
rhizome or by suckers detached from the base of the parent
stem. In the case of the Cavendish the leaves may be left on,
but they are usually removed from suckers of other varieties.
Suckers may be taken when from two to eight months old and
may be planted at once or piled and cured for several weeks
before planting. Rhizome divisions should each contain two
buds. Planting holes for bananas should be 21/2 to 3 feet in
diameter and 18 inches deep, filled with a mixture of top soil
and well-rotted manure or compost. The average distance of
planting should be 8 to 10 feet apart for Cavendish and 12 to
15 feet apart for taller varieties. Suckers or rhizome pieces
usually are planted a foot deep.
The banana is a gross feeder and responds well to fertiliza-
tion, to supplement decomposed plant material from mulches,
and in some soils the plants will benefit from nutritional sprays
containing essential minor elements not supplied by fertilizer.
Bananas harvested 7 to 14 days before ripening and hung
on the bunch in a shady, cool place will develop their flavor and
nutritive value as completely as if allowed to ripen on the plant.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

The bunch is cut when the individual fruits are well rounded
in cross-section, with a portion of the stem for convenience
in handling and the terminal flower buds being removed at the
same time. The stalk is then cut down and chopped into short
lengths to add mulch around remaining stalks in the clump.

Myrciaria cauliflora Berg. (Eugenia cauliflora DC.) Jaboti-
caba. (3) MYRTACEAE.
The jaboticaba, one of the most popular native fruits of Brazil,
is still uncommon in Florida, but scattered bearing trees in
various locations in the southern peninsula show that it can be
grown successfully on both limestone and sandy soils.
The evergreen tree may reach a considerable size on deep
fertile soil in Brazil, but is very slow growing and no tree in
Florida exceeds 15 feet in height. The branches develop from
near the ground, giving a dense, round habit (Fig. 63). Leaves
are somewhat leathery, from 1 to 2 inches long and less than
1/2 inch wide, lanceolate in shape with acuminate tip, and dark
green in color. The small white flowers, similar to those of

? i'tYI

Fig. 63.-The jaboticaba tree, Myrciaria cauliflora.

Florida Cooperative Extension

the pitanga, are produced in small clusters all along the trunk
and limbs and out on the branches.
The globose fruits, from 0.5 to 1.25 inches in diameter, might
easily be taken for muscadine grapes. They are dark maroon
purple, almost black, with a tough, thick skin and a juicy pulp
with one to four seeds compressed laterally. The pulp is pleas-
antly sub-acid with a sprightly vinous flavor. Because of the
fruit being produced inside the foliage canopy on the older
branches, it easily escapes detection. The jaboticaba blooms
several times during the year if the tree has an adequate water
supply and, as the period from flower to mature fruit is less
than two months, there may be five or six separate crops in a
year. The fruit is eaten fresh and is used for making a superior
jelly or for juice and wine. Ripe fruit freezes well.
Propagation is by seed usually, but inarching is practiced in
Brazil for propagation of superior varieties, and side grafting
is successful. Seeds germinate in about a month and many are
polyembryonic. Growth of seedlings is fairly rapid in potting soil
consisting mostly of
peat or in terralite
treated with iron
frit and nourished
with complete nu-
t r i e n t solutions.
Seedling stocks
large enough to
graft have been
grown in one year
from seed in these
media. In ordinary
potting soils growth

slow and the foliage
usually is more or
less chlorotic. In
spite of the fact
that trees seldom
reach bearing age
within 10 years, the
-. jaboticaba is well
worth growing
Fig. 64.-Fruiting branch of jaboticaba. m ore extensively.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

Passiflora edulis Sims. Purple Granadilla. Passion-fruit. (3)
The purple granadilla, native to Brazil, is a robust evergreen,
somewhat woody perennial climber, which is rather tender in
its first year but hardy enough thereafter for culture through-
out the southern half of the state. It is cultivated extensively
on a commercial scale in Australia and is also grown in Hawaii,
Ceylon, and the Mediterranean area. The dark green leaves
are serrate and usually 3-lobed, except on juvenile growth (Fig.
65). They are from 4 to 8 inches long, with small glands at the
base of the blade. The stems of new shoots are green and
grooved. The robust tendrils are axillary, terete, green and
spirally coiled toward the apex. The plants are grown usually
on wire trellises but will also thrive on lattices or wire netting.
The flowers are quite ornamental, although less showy than
those of some other species of Passiflora. Blooming persists
over a long period during spring and summer, and the fruit
matures during summer and fall. The mature fruit is dull
purple in color, subglobose to ovoid, 2 to 3 inches long, with a
rounded base and rounded, usually abruptly acuminate apex.
Within the thin, tough, firm shell, are numerous flattened seeds,
each surrounded by soft, yellowish, juicy pulp, sprightly sub-acid

Fig. 65.-Foliage and flowers of the purple granadilla, Passiflora edulis.

Florida Cooperative Extension

to acid in flavor. The pulp is eaten fresh, usually with a little
sugar added, or used in sherbets, beverages, and fruit salads.
The yellow passion fruit, P. edulis f. flavicarpa Deg., is very
similar to the purple granadilla. The flowers are somewhat
larger, the new shoots and tendrils are purplish green in color,
and the fruit is yellow at maturity. Fruits of the yellow form
grown at the Subtropical Station have thicker rinds and more
acid pulp than fruits of the purple granadilla.
The purple granadilla has proved to be shortlived at the Sub-
tropical Station. A crown rot has been the major factor causing
death of plants in several experimental plantings. Most of the
plants were killed between the second and third years after plant-
ing in the field. Nematodes also have contributed to the decline.
The possibility of using other species of Passiflora or of Tacsonia
as rootstocks has not been investigated.
Propagation is by seeds, germinating in two to three weeks,
by layering or by cuttings of mature wood.

Fig. 66.-The otaheite-gooseberry, Phyllanthus acidus.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

Phyllanthus acidus Skeels. (P. distichus Muell. Cicca disticha
L.) Otaheite-gooseberry. Iba. (2) EUPHORBIACEAE.
The otaheite-gooseberry, a native of Madagascar and India,
is reported to be found occasionally growing wild as an escape
in the southern part of Florida. The tree is small, usually from
15 to 20 feet in height, erect growing and of decided orna-
mental value (Fig. 66).
It is sometimes attacked
by small caterpillars which
strip the foliage completely
in a few days if not prompt- 4
ly sprayed with DDT or
with arsenates. The ovate,
acute leaves are 2 to 3
inches long, and are ar-
ranged in two rows on the
smaller lateral branches so
as to appear like long pin-
nately compound leaves.
This delusion is increased
by the shedding of the
smaller tender branches as
if they were indeed leaves.
The larger branches are
thick and stubby.
The fruit is round, prom-
inently 3-lobed and faintly
6-lobed, pale yellow-green
in color or nearly white,
and about 3/4 inch in diam-
eter (Fig. 67). The firm,
crisp flesh contains a single
large 3-angled stone, within
whose thick walls are six
small, flat, b r o w n seeds.
The fruit resembles the Fig. 67.-Fruiting twig of the otaheite-
gooseberry somewhat in fla-
vor, being quite acid, and is used for making pies and preserves.
The season is April to June.
Propagation is by seed or by greenwood cuttings. Budding
can be used also.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Phyllanthus emblica L., the myrobalan, is sometimes found
in the warmest sections of the state. Its foliage is very fine,
and the foliage-branches resemble a mimosa leaf (Fig. 68). The
fruit is similar to that of the otaheite-gooseberry, but smoothly
rounded and covered with a slightly roughened green skin. Usage
is similar.

Pouteria campechiana (HBK.) Baehni. (Lucuma nervosa A.
DC., L. salicifolia HBK., Pouteria campechiana var. nervosa
Baehni, P. campechiana var. salicifolia Baehni). Canistel.
Egg-fruit. (2) SAPOTACEAE.

The canistel,
usually a small
tree to 20 feet in
height with milky
juice, is native to
Central America
and has become
naturalized to a
slight extent on
some of the Flor-
ida keys. It is
about as hardy as
the related Sapo-
dilla and should
be grown only in
well protected lo-
cations in the
state. Many fine
specimens a r e
found in Dade
County, and oc-
casional trees as
far north as St.
Petersburg. The
Fig. 68.-Foliage, fruit and stone of the myrobalan, trees are qu i t e
Phyllanthus emblica.
w i n d resistant.
They thrive on sandy as well as shallow limestone soils.
The canistel, in individual seedlings, is quite variable in tree
shape, size and shape of leaf, and size, shape, and texture of the
fruit. The tree top may be more or less open and spreading

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropcal Fruits

(Fig. 69) or it may be tall and narrow. The bright green and
shining leaves, clustered on newer growth at the ends of the
branches, are elliptic-lanceolate to narrowly obovate, and vary
from 4 to 12 inches long. The small flowers are borne on young
wood in clusters of two to five. The fruit varies in individual
seedlings from 2 to 6 inches long and from subglobose to ovoid
to narrowly top-shaped, always more or less pointed at the apex
(Figs. 70 and 71). They are orange-yellow in color when fully
mature. The orange-yellow flesh has the texture of a cooked
mealy sweet potato, and is sweet with a slight musky taste.
The ripe pulp of fruit from some seedlings is less dry and mealy
than from others. Taking the fruit from the tree when mature,
but several days before it softens, tends to reduce dryness of
the pulp. The seeds, usually one to three in number, are ovoid,
from 3/4 to 1 inch or more long, and are hard, dark brown, and
shining, except on the pale brown ventral surface.
Canistel fruit matures mostly from November to February,
but individual trees may produce fruit at other seasons. The
fruit is well liked by some for eating fresh, but is disliked by

Fig. 69.-The canistel tree, Pouteria campechiana.

Florida Cooperative Extension

others. It is reported that the flavor is improved by the addi-
tion of butter or lime juice, also that the pulp is sometimes added
to ice cream mixes just before freezing. Soft-ripe fruits are
easily bruised and perishable, but mature-hard fruits have been
shipped successfully to Northern states.
The leaves of canistel are attacked by a rust, which also
infects leaves of sapodilla. Scale insects are often troublesome
on canistel in Florida.
Propagation is by
seeds, germinating slow-
ly in three to five
months. Scions of desir-
able sorts can be readily
grafted to seedling
stocks, using the simple
side graft employed with
the sapodilla. Cuttings
Sa of mature wood are ex-
tremely slow to root, and
grafting is the preferred
method of vegetative
S' propagation.

S Psidium cattleiamnun Sa-
bine. Cattley Guava.
Strawberry Guava.
The Cattley guava,
Fig. 70.-A canistel fruit. native to Brazil, is con-
siderably more cold-re-
sistant than the common guava. Mature plants have been re-
ported to have withstood 22' F.
The plant usually is seen as a bushy shrub but sometimes be-
comes a small tree up to 25 feet (Fig. 72). Its growth is rela-
tively slow. The glossy, deep green, leathery leaves are obovate
to elliptic in outline and usually less than 4 inches in length. Be-
cause of its attractive foliage, the plant is used to some extent
in ornamental plantings. It is fairly free of insect pests and
diseases. The red-banded thrips has been known to attack se-
verely the fruits, causing them to be more or less completely
russetted. This insect is readily controlled by spraying with
Lindane, but considerable damage usually occurs before the pres-

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

Fig. 71.-Canistel fruits in longitudinal and cross-section.

ence of the pest is noted. The plants usually fruit quite regu-
larly, even though neglected. Reports of single isolated plants
failing to fruit have been received in recent years, however. The
plant is quite drouth-resistant, but size and quality of fruit are
improved if the soil is irrigated during dry spells.
The fruit, ripening in late July and for several weeks there-
after, is small-seldom over 1.5 inches long-of a red to reddish
purple color, and contains many, small, hard seeds (Fig. 73).
The flavor of the whitish juicy pulp is mildly sub-acid and slightly
aromatic. A yellow-fruited variety, lucidum, commonly termed
the Yellow Cattley guava, is somewhat sweeter but differs mainly
in the color of the mature fruit. The fruits of both varieties are
utilized for jelly making as well as fresh. Neither sort is grown
to anything like the extent of the common guava.
In field plantings a spacing of about 10 x 10 feet is used.
Propagation is almost wholly by seeds, there being little variation
evident in the seedling plants.
In addition to the foregoing and the common guava, several
other species of Psidium producing edible fruit are growing in
the state, mostly in aboretums or in private collections. The
Brazilian guava, P. guineense Sw., differs from P. guajava L. in
having terete instead of four-angled branchlets, leaves without
the impressed venation, and rather insipid fruits with large
numbers of smaller seeds. The Costa Rican guava, P. friedrichs-
thalianum (Beng.) Nied., is represented in several collections.
It is a slender, medium-sized tree with thin reddish twigs and

Florida Cooperative Extension

branchlets somewhat angulate, leaves oblong or elliptic oblong,
acuminate, acute at the base and ovoid to globose fruits 2 to 21/2
inches in diameter, with soft whitish acid pulp and few seeds.
P. araca Raddi grows and fruits well but is often infested with
red-banded thrips. It is quite similar to the Yellow Cattley
guava, but has larger and broader leaves and larger fruit.
The closely related Para guava, Britoa acida Beng., appears to
be well adapted to limestone soils of southern Florida. It forms
a small tree up to 20 feet in height, with slender branches, white
flowers resembling those of the common guava, and yellow ovoid

Fig. 72.-The cattley guava tree, Psidium cattleianum.

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

fruits 2 to 3 inches long, with whitish pulp and few seeds. The
flavor is quite acid, with little of the muskiness characteristic
of fruits of the common guava.

Fig. 73.-Cattley guava fruit and foliage.

Punica granatum L. Pomegranate. (4) PUNICACEAE.
The pomegranate, originating in southern Asia, is common in
both the tropics and subtropics, but is better adapted to sub-
temperate regions with long, hot, dry summers than to the humid
summers which prevail in Florida. It is grown on diverse soil

Florida Cooperative Extension

types and seemingly is unaffected by extremes of temperature
throughout the state. It is cultivated as an ornamental and as
a home fruit but not commercially in the state.
The plant is a somewhat spiny, small, shrubby tree usually
suckering freely from the base. These suckers must be con-
stantly removed if a tree form is to be maintained. The deciduous
leaves are narrow, oval or oblong, shiny, 1 to 3 inches long, op-
posite or nearly so or clustered on short branchlets. Large blos-
soms, deep orange-red in color, appear for several weeks during
the spring. Under favorable conditions the plant is quite at-
tractive when in foliage and accompanied by either the flowers
or fruits. Usually in southern Florida, however, the leaves and
fruits are badly spotted by a fungus.
The fruits are variable in size, ranging from 2 to 4 inches in
diameter, subglobose, or somewhat flattened with heavy tubular
calyx, and yellowish to bright red in color (Figs. 74 and 75).
The edible portion consists of the juicy translucent pulp con-
tained in sacs about each seed. It is eaten out of hand or the
juice is used in the preparation of drinks or syrups. The season
of ripening begins in July and August and extends over several
weeks, often into late fall. There are numerous varieties, the
variation having to do with the size of the plant as well as differ-
ences in characteristics of the fruits. When grown on shallow
limestone soils few of the fruits develop normally or have good
Propagation is by seeds, cuttings, or layers.

Rhodomyrtus tomentosa Wight. Downy Myrtle. Hill-Gooseberry.
The downy myrtle is an evergreen ornamental shrub 4 to 10
feet tall that is not well adapted to shallow limestone soils but
thrives in deep acid sandy soils. It is not common in southern
Florida but is worthy of wider planting in areas where the soil is
The bush is quite hardy and is very ornamental. The leaves are
light green and smooth above, tomentose beneath, elliptic-obovate
in outline, 1.5 to 2.5 inches long and about 1 inch wide. In spring
and early summer numerous flowers appear solitary or two or
three together, rose-pink to light purple in color. The globose
fruits, about 1/2 inch in diameter, are downy, greenish purple, and

Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

have several seeds embedded in a soft sweet purplish pulp of an
agreeable flavor. They are said to make excellent jams and pies.
Propagation is by seeds.


Fig. 74.-Pomegranate fruit and foliage.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Spondias cytherea Sonn. (S. dulcis Forst.) Ambarella. Otaheite-
apple. Vi-apple. (1) ANACARDIACEAE.
The ambarella is a spreading, rather graceful tree to 30 feet or
more in height, native to islands of the South Pacific. It is
grown in a limited way in the warmer parts of southern Florida.
Its pinnately compound, shiny, bright green leaves, 8 to 30 inches
long, are clustered near the ends of stout, brittle branches. The
leaflets, 11 to 21 in number and 3 to 5 inches long, are oval-oblong
and acuminate, entire or indistinctly crenate at the margins, with
lateral veins almost parallel and a prominent marginal connect-
ing nerve. The small whitish flowers are borne in long termi-
nal panicles during the
The fruits, ripening
from August through
February, are ellip-
soid or obovoid, 2 to 3
inches long, and are
sordid yellow to gold-
en yellow when ripe
(Fig. 76). The pale
yellow, firm and juicy
flesh varies from
sweet to acid in vari-
ous seedlings and is
usually somewhat res-
Fig. 75.-Pomegranate fruit in cross-section. inous. The single seed
is enclosed in a large
stone having strong woody fibers projecting into the pulp, mak-
ing difficult its removal. The fruit is usually of indifferent
quality, but occasional trees bear fruit which is pleasant to
eat fresh. It is used for making preserves and sauces.
Propagation is by seeds, which germinate in about a month,
but superior seedlings can be propagated by air layering or by
large cuttings of mature wood.

Spondias mombin L. (S. lutea L.) Yellow mombin. Jobo.
Hog-plum. (2) ANACARDIACEAE.
The yellow mombin is a tall, spreading tree to 40 feet or
more in height, with furrowed bark, native to the American

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