PRESS BULLETIN No. 87.
April 4, 1908.
Florida Agricullural Experiment Stallon.
SOME NEGLECTED FRUITS.
BY JOHN BELLING.
Many tropical and sub-tropical fruit-trees which may thrive in some
parts of Florida seem not to be worth planting on account of the inferior
character of their fruit. On the other hand, there are certain excellent
fruits which might with advantage be more abundantly grown in Florida
than they are.
THE JAPANESE PERSIMMON.
The best kinds of grafted Japanese persimmons are worthy of more
extended cultivation for private or local supply throughout northern and
central Florida, quite apart from the question whether dwellers in Northern
cities are yet sufficiently educated in the use of this fruit to make it profit-
able to plant groves here for shipping purposes. Now that it has been
shown (in the Annual Report for 1907 of the Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta., which
will be sent free on request) that the astringent fruits can be perfectly rip-
ened in alcohol vapor in closed barrels or other containers, very little in-
genuity is needed to put them on the market in a completely ripe condition.
Prof. P. H. Rolfs considers that, "Every property owner in Florida who has
more land than a city lot should have one or more trees of the Japanese
persimmon, so that his family can be supplied with fresh fruit at a time
of the year when otherwise they would have to purchase shipped and
frequently inferior fruit. The Japanese persimmon can be grown in every
section of Florida, and three good trees would supply one family. Among
the varieties that may be recommended for the whole State are Hyakume,
Okame, and Yemon."
Good varieties of the fig might well be more commonly planted in
central and northern Florida. Where the fig-tree can be grown without
much injury from root-knot the heavy crops it yields have a large market
open for them when preserved in syrup or when crystallized. Either raw
or preserved they form a healthful addition to the dietary of children, and
even one well-cared-for fig-tree near the house, if it is only given sufficient
sunlight and water, with ashes, etc., from the kitchen, will provide large
quantities of good fruit. The fig prefers a rather heavy soil, but the drain-
age must be good enough to prevent stagnant water from accumulating.
Cuttings grow very easily, and should be taken from those fig-trees in the
neighborhood which yield the best crops. This tree well repays fertilizing,
but it will not do to give it much ammonia, relatively to the potash and phos-
phate, especially if the soil is already rich.
The guava groves of South Florida might with advantage be consider-
ably extended, through the propagation of the best varieties for jelly-making
or canning, by means of stem or root cuttings. Guavas, though doubtless
more sensitive to cold than the sweet orange, can be grown as far north as
Alachua county, if they are well protected during the few nights when the
temperature is below 32 degrees; and even when frozen down they spring up
again very quickly. The production of what is undoubtedly one of the best
fruit jellies does not seem to have caught up with the demand.
Good varieties of the papaya should be more generally grown in South
Florida. Experience shows that the rich pulp of a fully-ripe papaya, eaten at
the end of- a dinner (with cream and sugar if preferred), accelerates di-
gestion remarkably. Thus eaten, it is, in the opinion of some, one of the
best fruits of the tropics. Some of the papayas however which are grown
in South Florida are inferior varieties. Good seed can be obtained from
Hawaii, or from Barbados. The long-fruited variety is superior for all or
most purposes to the ordinary kind. The best sort in the West Indies is
probably the large melon-shaped rather scarce fruit called sometimes "Guinea
papaw." The papaya has been shipped successfully from Hawaii to San
Francisco in cold storage, and there is not much difficulty In sending it
from South Florida to New York. In this fruit, nature has provided an
efficient remedy for dyspepsia, and as its qualities become better known it
will no doubt be much more in demand. The papaya can readily be grown
in Monroe, Dade, Lee and DeSoto counties, in some localities in Manatee
and Saint Lucie, and, with winter protection, still farther north..
State papers please copy.