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Grow Fruit in the Home Garden in Tropical Areas

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The following notes are intended to show you the range of different fruit and nuts that can be grown in tropical areas, and how they might fit into a strategy of growing some food in either a suburban or peri-urban garden.Detailed notes and illustrations on pruning, culture, and local pests and diseases affecting the plants you havesorted out from this list as possibly worth growing can be found in some of the excellent books on fruit and nut growing in your local bookstore or library.

You can help our home food growing community of interest.  me if you can add to this information.Or write a page for me (save as a .html page and e-mail it) that can then be hosted for free on this site. You are creditted as author (or not, if you want) Write about a fruit in your climatic zone! All contributions welcomed!
Or just give me details on cultivars you have tried or know about, or corrections. Lots of information is lost in a mobile and changing society - help make this our permanent record!

Tropical areas are never cold in winter except in the highlands. Deciduous fruit cultivars will not have enough winter chilling. Indicator plants-coconut, mango, rambutan, papaya, cashew cv = cultivated variety, i.e. a grafted or cutting grown plant There is a complex interplay between accumulated heat, wind effects, chilling, length of season, and varietal differences that determines what can be grown in any one part of this broad zone. Local experience-seeing what your neighbours grow-is particularly important. We believe our researcher has compiled substantially correct information. If you know something here is not entirely correct, or there is a new variety better suited to the home food garden, please tell us. (Note: the use of temperate clImate terms such as 'winter' and 'spring' is just to indicate a specific time of year regardless of hemisphere)

Our choice of type of fruit tree, or even variety of mango or orange or whatever, is not infuenced only by our particular local climatic conditions. Soil, and overwhelmingly, soil drainage, is a vital factor.  Paradoxically, clay soils need heavy mulching or irrigating in the dry season in the seasonal tropics. Lack of water is one of the most important factors in reduced fruit yeild, but timing can also be important in affecting whether a plant such as Lychee commemces flowering, or simply just has another flush of vegetative growth. Luckily, the home fruit gardener can overcome problems of both poor drainage and dry, sandy soil, by the same methods-using lots of organic soils amendments such as peat or compost, using raised beds, and selecting dwarf trees, where they exist.

When we chose which fruit trees to plant, we have to take into account our personal circumstances and preferences. How much space is available for fruit trees? Is it sunny or rather shady? Is my lifestyle too busy to put a lot of time into regular spraying and pruning? Do I take pride in doing the whole cultural programme well? Will this tree grow very big and shade views or damage paved areas or drains? What does it take to keep assorted varmints-opposums, crows, parrots, fruit bats, rats, wandering children, and especially fruit fly, away from the fruit (and bark), and realistically, am I likely to do what it takes? Will the tree start fruiting before I am likely to leave this address? What landscape values (form, blossom, fragrance, foliage, fruit color) does the tree have, and how important is that to me and my 'significant other'? Am I looking for particular health benefits in growing some of my own fruit, and if so, which fruits will deliver those benefits? Am I looking for particular connoisseur taste experiences in growing some of my own fruit, and am I willing to give up productivity if the best variety is poorly productive? 'Growing all my own fruit' is a dream, but an impractical dream even on the basis of there not being enough daylight hours in a week to accomplish such a task, so what are the best strategies-very early and very late varieties when market prices are high? Grow only the species such as Abiu or Black Sapote that never appear in the market? Grow a lot of one fruit very well and can/bottle it? A mixed strategy?

The answers to these questions is a delicious challenge, and a very personal one, because everyones situation and motivation is different. These notes are intended to help you decide how much of your food you would like to grow, now, or in the future.

ABIU Pouteria caimito (confusingly, sometimes called by the old name Lucuma caimito) a relatively small tree of up to 12 m with nearly round fruit about the size of a very big orange or larger The skin turns yellow when the fruit ripens. It should be allowed to tree ripen until it is completely yellow, which takes about two weeks. At this point the transluscent, somewhat tough flesh is sweet and caramelly, and the sticky latex typical of this fruit family (Sapotaceae) has reduced to an acceptable level. They ripen in the rainy season (Southern Hemisphere Dec-April) and sometimes split and rot. They are subject to bird, flying fox, and fruit fly damage, but are a rewarding enough to be worth bagging individual fruit (with a tough plastic bag). Seedlings are commonly grown, and often fruit within 3 years, but there are some named cultivars.
Gray is large (up to 2lb), early to fruit, highly productive, and with excellent flavor and suited to cooler tropics.
Z4 is a variety that fruits in winter and is adapted to more equatorial conditions.
 
JJJJ A complete fact sheet from the Department of Primary Industry in Queensland Australia, describing the tree, varieties, cultural requirements, pests, and with a very nice picture of the fruit.
http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/dpinotes/hortic/tropfruit/h99119.html
 
JJJJ Extensive notes covering native origins and distribution, description, propogation, general culture, food value, and two photos of the fruit in Colombia. From Julia Morton's book 'Fruits of warm climates' (1987)
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/abiu.html

JJJJ showing the transluscent flesh, the long brown seed embedded within, and the lemon yellow skin can be found.This reference is to a page from the book ''.-
http://www.proscitech.com.au/trop/display/abiu.htm
 
JJJ are  photos featured in this brief note at the Singapore Government Primary Production Department web page.
http://www.gov.sg/mnd/ppd/agro/abiu.htm
 
ACEROLAMalpighia glabra 'Barbados Cherry'. This is a small (to 5 metres), spreading, shrubby tree. Pink flowers appear in late spring and summer, and the small, slightly fluted, bright red fruit are ready about a month after flowering. The fruit are thin skinned, and juicy, and the flavor is resonant of apples.The best selections are reasonably palatable, unselected seedlings are usually acid and lacking flavor.The tree is adaptable to soil, and once it is past the tender young stage, it survives light frost in semi tropical areas. It is one of the best sources of natural vitamin C in the world, with up to 100 times the amount in oranges, on a weight for weight basis. This is a valuable tree for the urban hominid in the tropics, because it is palatable as a fresh fruit, it is an extremely dense vitamin C source, and it comes into bearing within about 3 years or so of planting out. On the down side, the new leaves and new shoots have fine hairs which can cause skin irritation if they are brushed against. Not a plant to have when there are small children in the family. They also demand good nutrient supply, and lots of water at flowering and fruit developement time is essential, or the flowers will drop. And on sandy soils especially, they can be badly affected by root damaging nematodes.
More detailed information can be found in the California Rare Fruit Growers (Inc)  very good fact sheet at:
 

AKEE Blighia sapida this large and handsome tree has strange 3-4 inch/75-100mm bright red fruits which split open to reveal a white, fleshy 'arillus' surronding the base of three shiny black seeds. This is the bit that is cooked-usually boiled, then fried- and eaten.But wait-it is 'mildly' toxic if it is eaten immature, and also if it is overmature! Leave it for the bold!
 
AMAZON TREE GRAPE- Pouroumia cecropifolia
Growing Amazon Tree Grapes - from the Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm climates'. A general description of the origin and distribution, suitable climates and soils and uses. Concise, informative.

 
AVOCADO Persea americana- must have either very free draining soil, or large raised beds with massive amounts of organic compost; must also have plenty of sun, and ample food. These conditions met, nothing could be easier to grow. The trees make a mat of feeder roots near the surface of the soil, and mulch helps keep these roots happy, and conserves moisture in dry periods.The major drawback with avocadoes-given good drainage etc-is that they eventually become a very large tree. At maturity they can easily cover 30ft/9m in spread, and the same high. Vigorous varieties can have an even greater height and spread. Trees need to be planted at least 25ft / 7.6m away from buildings to avoid damage from roots or branches broken in storms. Trees with a vigorous central leader can be cut back to an outard groing bud to reduce the height. Grafted trees fruit within about 4 years of planting out. The premier hominid food, and home grown can be richer in flavor than shop bought. In elevated areas it is cooler, and Guatemalan types (Gu) may be most suitable. Varieties of Guatemalan origin have thick skins, and a small seed, and long fruit stems. Typically, they fruit in late autumn, winter, and spring, depending on the variety. They may be known as 'winter' or 'hardshell' avocadoes. Varieties derived from the West Indies type (WI) have thin, smooth, leathery skin, and a large seed that is often loose within the seed cavity. They typically fruit in summer to early autumn. The Mexican type (Me) have small fruit, large seeds, thin skin, fruit in summer to early autumn, and are the most cold tolerant avocado. Because of the poor fruit characteristics, there are almost no Mexican cultivars, but quite a few cultivars with Mexican 'blood' in them.
Bacon (Me x Gu)-excellent pollenizer variety for Hass & Reed, good cropper and quick to come into bearing, winter fruiter, but mediocre to poor taste, and very vigorous and upright.
Donnie (WI)-is early for summer fruiting types, fruiting in late spring to early summer
Fuerte (Gu x Me)- early winter fruiter, green skin, very high quality fruit, without peer for its season. Smallish (for an avocado) spreading tree, thin skin, can get splits and rots at the base, and fruit set without a pollenizer is very poor. Hass will pollenize it and vice versa.
Hayes (Gu)- Fruits a bit earlier-late winter/early spring- than Hass. Very high quality, slightly larger than Hass, thick skin makes it a bit harder to tell when its ripe. Skin colour change is the best guide.
Hass (Gu)-Excellent flesh quality, ripens in spring and will hold on the tree until summer.summer. The fruit are dark purple/black and fruit in the direct light can be sun scalded in summer. Starts cropping at an early age. Large, upright tree.
Loretta (Gu x WI)-fruits in late summer and has large yeilds of very big green skinned fruit.
Lula (Gu x WI)- doesn't seem to need cross pollenization to set a good crop, fruits in autumn to winter. The seed is large. It is a rather tall tree.
Reed (Gu)-ready in late summer/autumn, but it will hang on the tree over winter. Large round fruit, very high quality. Thick skinned, as with many avocadoes, it is a little hard to pick when it is ready Pick a fruit and see how well it ripens is the certain way.
Simmonds (WI)-fruits in summer and has good yeilds of quite large green skinned fruit.Taylor(Gu x WI)-is high yeilding in autumn and winter, altho' the green skinned fruit are fairly small. The tree is rather upright and tall.
Wurtz (Gu x Me) matures after Fuerte, in late winter/spring, so is a good follow on. The fruit are green, good quality, and the trees are compact and with droopy foliage that helps protect the fruit from sunburn.
. JJJJ An excellent fact sheet (prints out to about 6 printer pages) at the Californian Rare fruit growers site, covering all aspects of growing avocadoes, plus notes on varieties. Written for warm temperate to subtropical USA conditions, but widely applicable, except that the varietal information is not as tropical orientated.
 
JJJ A commercial growers advisory, strong on weed and pest control, but it includes brief notes on 8 Hawaiian varieties, and useful cultural information - as well as some historical notes.
http://www.tropical-seeds.com/tech_forum/fruits_anon/avocado.html

ATEMOYA-a hybrid between the cherimoya (Annona cherimola) and the sugar apple (Annona squamosa), the atemoya has will fruit in the tropics where the cherimoya won't. The fruit is quite large at ½lb-1lb/225-450gms, and carried in an open, spreading tree that is about 33ft/10m high and the same wide at maturity. Trees will die on poorly drained soils. The period of brief 'dormancy' and mass leaf shed immediately after fruiting should not be mistaken for the tree turning up it's toes, however! Flowering starts after 'dormancy', and from then until harvest, the atemoya needs adequate moisture in the soil. Heavy mulching with organic material is very beneficial, as long as it is not heaped against the trunk. Unlike the sugar apple (one of it's parents), it doesn't tend to split open when ripe.It is conical to heart shaped, and the fruit surface can either be smooth, or have bumps. Flowering to harvest is about 5 months.The fruit is mid green, turning to light green or greenish-yellow at maturity, depending on the cultivar. The white pulp is smooth, juicy, sweet and flavorful, with up to about 40 shiny dark brown or black bean sized seeds embedded in it. Fruit that have been poorly pollinated tend to be smaller or asymetrical. Some people hand pollinate the flowers to increase the fruit set and fruit size, but whether or not you need to hand pollinate depends on local climatic conditions, and possible pollinating insects. A cultivar needing hand pollination in one area may set fruit satisfactorily by itself in another. Atemoya trees can split badly at the crotch under the weight of fruit, and the force of wind. Prune out branches growing at a sharp angle. Pruning is usually done after fruiting (around august in the Southern hemisphere). Flowers develop both on new growth and on older laterals. Atemoyas lend themselves well to espaliering.
Gefner has good quality fruit without pollinating by hand
African Pride/Kaller starts bearing early (the third year in the ground), is a good producer in many areas; but may need hand pollination in some areas, the fruit are small to average sized, and have more seeds than some other cultivars.
Pinks Mammoth is a vigorous tree with particularly large fruit;but it doesn't start bearing until about the fifth year in the ground.

BANANA Musa acuminata and hybrids of M.acuminata x M.Balbisiana [= 'M.paradisiaca']. The banana deserves to be popular for it's productivity in a small space, it's pleasing landscape qualities, and, of course, it's delicious fruit. It is the ideal crop for the small space gardener, as it makes best use of vertical space, is not too large, crops quickly, and the fruit are concentrated in one place-making for easy bagging against pests. Th banana is a water loving plant, and thrives with plentiful water in dry spells and reglar fertilising. However, as long as it is fairly well mulched, it will still fruit with less than adequate water, albeit the fruit may be smaller and less well filled. Bananas are also greedy feeders-they have to be, considering the weight of fruit that is regularly removed from the clump. A balanced fertiliser is best, and regular light liming may be needed on acid soils. In orber to keep the resources of the clump concentrated on fruiting plants, it is best to allow two plants to fruit and have two replacements coming on. Remove all other suckers that develop. The naming and identification of banana varieties can be challenging.
Bluefield/Gros Michel bananas are the bananas of commerce grown in South America and the Phillipines, and grow very tall-up to 18 ft/5.5m. Being so tall, they are subject to blowing over when they are carrying their very heavy (to 100lb/45kg) bunches, unless propped up.From planting to harvest is about 15 months in this cultivar.
Williams/Mons Mari is a giant mutation of the cultivar 'Dwarf Cavendish/Chinese'. It is 6½ -13ft/2-4m high, the fruit are similar to 'Gros Michel', and they are ready about 12 months from planting. Both 'Blufield' and 'Williams' are suceptible to the very damaging 'Panama disease' (Fusarium wilt).
Dwarf Cavendish/Chinese a common variety in home gardens because of it's relatively small size (8ft/2.5m) and tolerance to a wide range of conditions, including cool.The bananas are essentially the same as 'Williams'. Suceptible to Panama disease. Sucrier/Pisang Mas, as it's name suggests, is a very sweet banana; it has small fruit, thin skin, yellowy flesh, and small bunches (up to 28½lb/13kg). The plants are 8-11½ft/2.5-3.5m high, and prefer light shade. Planting to harvest is about 11 months.
Lady Finger/Pome/Pacha Naadan/Brazilian is drought hardy, wind resistant, is up to 16ft /5m high, and has short, slightly angular fruit which (because it has a little acidity as well as sugar) has a rich true banana flavour, in bunches up to 66lbs/30kg. It has a tendency to have some undeveloped fruit in the bunch. It is suceptible to Panama disease.Planting to harvest is about 14 months. Sugar/Silk/Apple is short and fat, thin skinned, inclined to split and to tear off and fall when it is very ripe, very white fleshed, dense, sweet, without flouriness or sliminess, but astringent when it isn't fully ripe. It is highly suceptible to Panama disease.
Mysore is up to 15ft/4.5m high, a vigorous plant somewhat tolerant of drought and poor soils, with very tightly packed cylindrical bunches up to 77lb/35kg of slightly yellowish fleshed pleasantly sweet/acid balanced, short and fat attractive bright yellow fruit. It is known for the fruit to hold well on the bunch, even at full ripeness.This cultivar is the main commercial banana of India.It is suceptible to Panama disease.
Red Dacca is interesting because the tall (to 18ft/5.5m) bear average sized bunches of large, plump bananas that are washed purply pink when ripe. Planting to harvest is about 18 months for this cultivar. It is suceptible to Panama disease.
Pisang Rajah is an important variety in Malaysia and Indonesia.It grows up to 15ft/4.5m, and takes about 16 months from planting to harvesting the up to 55lb/25kg bunches of medium sized sweet bananas.
Blue Java is so called beacuse the bunches of immature fruit are covered in a waxy bloom which gives them a blue-green caste. The plants grow to 13ft/4m, planting to harvest is about 14 months. The fruit has particularly long stalks, are slightly angular, and have white flesh. Suceptible to Panama disease.
Ducasse/Pisang Awak is a particularly vigorous and hardy banana. It grows up to 16½ft/5m high, and has up to 77lb/35kg bunches of tightly packed, small bananas with a light wax bloom. Harvest is about 17 months after planting. This is the most important banana of Thailand. Suceptible to Panama disease.(note: it is somewhat fertile, and if it is pollinated it may have hard,black seeds inside).
The best one to grow may simply be your friends or neighbours. If you come across a banana you like, or it's owner recommends, simply get a spade and dig out a sucker.
 
JJJJ About 28 edible varieties are briefly described, with a photo of the plant or the fruit or flower, in the 'stokestropicals' catalogue pages
http://www.stokestropicals.com/ekart/catalog.asp?action=displayCategory&cid=2
 
Banana varieties and planting instructions JJJJ About 26 edible varieties are tabularly described with a photo of the fruit in the 'Aloha Tropicals' catalogue

 
Bananas in Hawaii JJJJ the full story on growing bananas commercially in Hawaii, from varieties, pests, diseases, fertliser practise, irrigation, packing, etc. Commercially oriented, but all the important principles are covered.

 
JJJ from the University of Hawaii, around 15 cultivars in the archive, plus other pictures of the plant and flower
http://www.ifas.ufl.edu/imaguire/BANANAARCHIVE.HTM
 
BARBADOS CHERRY-See 'ACEROLA'
 
BIRIBA
Growing  Biriba fruit- JJJJ from the Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm climates'. Covers description, origin and distribution, varieties, suitable climates and soils, propagation, culture, harvesting, pests and diseases and more. Concise, informative. 2 good photos of fruit

 
BLACK SAPOTE Diospyros digyna-'Chocolate Pudding Tree', 'Black Persimmon'. A handsome tree with dark green leathery leaves against black barked branchlets that may ultimately reach 50 feet. The fruit are about the size of a very large apple, typically weighing 1.5lb/700gms to 2lbs/900gms. Exceptionally, they can reach 4lb/1.8kg. Black spotes are a relative of the persimmon, and the flesh is similar in texture to a soft ripe persimmon fruit- rather jelly like and soft. The flesh is chocolate colored, and some claim it has the appearance and the texture of chocolate pudding. The fruit retain their green color, but soften when ripe, and should then be picked and left to become very soft before eating. Trees can bear as early as three years from planting. In the seasonal sub equatorial tropics of the Southern Hemisphere the fruit ripen virtually year round.
There is a of the fruit at the 'Garden of delight ' web site

BRAZILIAN CHERRY-a name used both for the 'SURINAM CHERRY', Eugenia uniflora, and 'ACEROLA', Malpighia glabra - which see.

BREADFRUIT Artocarpus communis (A.altilis.) This fruit is very cold intolerant and is only likely to fruit well in the hottest, more equatorial, lowland tropics- well north of the tropic of capricorn (in the southern hemisphere), for example. The fruiting season is summer to early winter. The trees will fruit even when relatively small, at around 15 feet, but ultimately, under ideal conditions it grows up to 80 feet high at maturity. It is one of the most dramatic landscape plants, with its straight stout trunk, large lobed leaves, and its cannonball-like fruit (weighing up to 4 kg) and large blossoms.. In the monsoonal tropics the tree is deciduous. There are two forms of breadfruit, a seedless and a seeded form. The seedless form is picked green and roasted, fried, or boiled. Roasted or fried in fat, it compares well with roast potatoes or chips; boiled, it is rather gluey and not very palatable to Westerners. If it is allowed to ripen, the flesh becomes light yellow, very soft and very sweet.Even when fully ripe, it is usually cooked (usually by forming into patties and frying). The seeded form ('breadnut') has little flesh, and is mainly grown for the seeds themselves, which taste somewhate like chestnuts when they are roasted.
 
CANISTEL Pouteria campechiana -'Eggfruit', 'Lucuma' . Nicely suited to the smaller garden because the dark leaved, adaptable tree is reasonably small, the fruit are shades of yellow or orange when ripe. The flesh is dry to slightly moist, musky and variably sweet. Like it's upland relative, the lucuma, it softens after picking. Not a fruit for easily eating out of hand, it is more useful for cooking. It can perhaps be compared to yam (syn. kumera, Ipoemea batatas) in texture and flavor.

CARAMBOLA Averrhoa carambola 'star fruit', 'five corner fruit'. The fast growing, adaptable trees are open, medium sized, attractive landscape specimens, with pinnate leaves and clusters of small purple flowers. The fruits are more or less oval, and so deeply and sharply ribbed that a fruit cut in half shows the shape of a five pointed star. The fruit come in sour and sweet versions. The yellow, thin skinned fruit have clear, juicy, crisp flesh. In the more equatorial tropics it flowers and fruits year round, in the more seasonal tropics it produces it's main crop in the cooler time of year. Carambolas are relatively easy to espalier against a wall- a useful attribute for small gardens. Sweet varieties include Arkin, Maher Dwarf, and Thayer.
If you want a of carambola fruit, one is available at Lychee Woods web site.

CARISSA Carissa macrocarpa 'Natal Plum' A very useful plant for the home food garden, because it is a small bushy shrub with thorns and fragrant white flowers, won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. The small roundish fruit are about an inch/2.5cm wide and a bit more long. They are bright red streaked with a darker red ground color. The fruit are variable, but most are mild, somewhat sweet, sometimes slightly astringent, with small seeds in the centre and exude a harmless latex when cut. They have about the same vitamin C content as an orange.

CASIMIROA- 'Ice cream fruit'. Related to citrus, but the fruit flesh is more akin to avocado flesh without the oiliness. Very sweet, with very large 'pips' inside. Less frost hardy than citrus. They make a rather large tree. Must have adequate water in summer to prevent fruit drop. Seedlings- Take longer to start fruiting than grafted trees, but not that much longer.
More detailed information can be found in the California Rare Fruit Growers (Inc)  very good fact sheet at: 
 
CERIMAN Monstera deliciosa
- from the Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm climates'. Covers Description, Origin and Distribution, varieties, suitable climates and soils, propagation, culture, harvesting, pests and diseases and more. Concise, informative. 3 good photos of fruit

 
CHEMPEDAK Artocarpus  polyphema (A.champeden) very similar to the Jakfruit (see below), but the fruit are smaller (about a foot/30cms long), more elongated, and is covered in flattened 'stud' like tubercles, rather than spines. The flesh taste a bit better at the fully ripe stage, as it is usually sweeter and juicier than jakfruit, which makes it a better choice for dessert use.

CHERIMOYA Annona cherimola-Medium to very large most sweet and complexly flavored fruit with soft white or cream flesh with numerous bean sized shiny black seeds embedded in it.The fruit is carried on a small tree that is amenable to pruning. It can also be informally espaliered. It regrows easily from a severe pruning-handy because the wood is fairly brittle and liable to hurricane damage. Cherimoyas need a period of cool temperatures (although they are damaged by actual frost), and are therefore only successful in cooler elevated areas of the tropics. They require very little care beyond pruning after fruiting, and intermittant fertilising with a complete fertiliser. They need fairly good drainage or they will get root rot. A thick organic mulch helps in marginal soils. A grafted tree should start fruiting within 2 or 3 years of planting out. Any grafted tree will have lovely fruit. Some cultivars have smoother flesh than others, or have a slightly resinous taste, or the flesh is whiter-but the difference is between 'delightful' and 'fantastic', so it doesn't matter. Cherimoyas are picked while still firm-usually when the green skin takes on a very slight yellowish tinge. They will be ripen in the fruit bowl about 4 days from picking.

CITRUS- listed under their fruit type, e.g. 'lemon', 'orange', 'mandarin' etc. Obscure citrus are listed 'Citrus, obscure'

COCONUT Cocos nucifera adapted only to the hottest, most equatorial tropics, the coconut palm is a great landscape statement. The down side is the danger of being injured by falling nuts. Given the amount of labor invlved in extracting the 'meat' from a ripe coconut, and the limited uses once having extracted it, it is probably better to use coconuts in the green stage, for the refreshing 'milk'. This means climbing the palm to get the immature nut. Not an option for most of us. The alternative is to try to find some of the extreme dwarf varieties. These are very rare, but are the only practical alternative for the home food gardener.

CUSTARD APPLE Annona reticulata 'Bullocks Heart', 'Cherimoya' (confusingly) While many annonaceous fruits are called 'custard apple', this is the annona most commonly understood to be 'the custard apple'.It is a small, rather untidy looking tree (5-8 metres), not as good as the sugar apple, but better adapted to sub equatorial heat. The fruit can vary between trees from about half a pound to 5 lbs/200gms to 2 kg. The dull yellow skin has a reticulate (netted) patten of 'thumb marks' or indentations on the surface. The flesh is dirty white, moderately sweet, somewhat lacking in flavor, and can be a bit dry.

DURIAN Durio zibethinus this fruit is only likely to fruit well in the hottest, more equatorial, lowland tropics- well north of the tropic of capricorn (in the southern hemisphere), for example. The fruiting season is February to April in the Southern hemisphere. The fruit are very large and heavy- up to a foot/30cms long. The custardy pulp is said to be complex and delightful. However, most western people can't near enough to the pulp to find out. The fruit has an unpleasant faecal smell- a smell that is so pervasive that the carrying of fresh durian fruit in aircraft cabins in now banned by many SouthEast Asian airlines. Grafted trees fruit as soon as 5 years from planting out when grown in the equatorial tropics.Fruiting season in the sub equatorial tropics of the Southern Hemisphere is february to april.
More detailed information can be found in the Malaysian Ministry of Agriculture Durian page, including photos and cultivar notes
JJJJ are at the 'Durian on Line' web page    hubbed
 

EMBLIC Phyllanthus emblica - 'Myrobalan'. Like it's close relative, the 'otaheite gooseberry', this rather large tree is grown for it's small greenish yellow acid fruit. Unlike it's relative, they are borne singly, and are smooth, not ribbed. They are exceptionally high in ascorbic acid (vitamin c), with values ranging from 500mg to 1500mg per 100 grams of pulp. Given the high acidity of the fruit, it has to be cooked with sugar, rather than eaten fresh. There are seperate (fruitless) pollenizing male plants and (fruiting) female flowers, so you need two trees of the right sex to get fruit-quite a disadvantage for a large, albeit handsome, tree.

GRAPEFRUITCitrus grandis Grapefruit need more heat than oranges, and higher temperatures don't stop them coloring well, so they are a good choice for the tropics. The rootstock that the grapefruit is grafted onto has an influence on the trees resistance to virus diseases, root damaging nematodes, overthick skin, and poor soil conditions such as high calcium levels, or poor drainage. Your nurseryperson should be able to guide you to select the best roostock for your local area. Provide adequate water in dry spells, feed them a little and regularly, and you will harvest very good fruit.

GREEN SAPOTE Pouteria viride the tree is similar to the 'Mammee sapote', but the fruit is better. However, the green sapote has a reputation for being difficult to grow.. Difficult to find plants for sale.

GUAVA Psidium guajava 'Tropical guava'.- An ideal fruit for the tropical hunter-gatherer because the small tree comes into bearing within a year of planting out, it has an attractive trunk and leaves, there are purple leafed forms, it is trimmable, it makes a good hedge, it is strong enough for children to climb, and the flowers are quite attractive. It is hardy, and undemanding as to soil. There is a wide variety of fruit shapes and sizes to chose from when selecting a guava variety. The best are the large, yellow skinned, pink fleshed fruit. They are all an excellent source of vitamin C, with a minimum of 40mg/100grams of fruit, and a lot of variation up from this baseline according to the variety. Their only drawback is that they are highly attractive to fruitflies, in countries where they are a problem. Varieties available include Hong Kong Pink, Philippine White, Pear, Mexican Cream, Ruby, Indian Red, and many others.
Philippine-yellow skin, white, soft flesh, sweet. Medium/large fruit.
Mexican Cream-bright yellow skin, cream, soft flesh. Large pear shaped fruit.
Ruby-X -Green skin,  with pink, soft, flesh. Medium sized fruit.
Thai Maroon-Deep maroon skin, deep maroon flesh. The tree has purple leaves. Medium/large fruit.
Guava, tropical - JJJ a very good one page synopsis of the culture and nutritional benefits of guavas, from Fort Valley State University, Georgia, USA . Includes a photo.

GUAVA, CATTLEY, RED Psidium Cattleianum 'Red guava', 'Strawberry guava' 'Purple guava'- A very useful plant for the home food garden, because it is a small bushy tree and won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. Each about 8 gram berry contains more than 3.2 mg/100gms vitamin C. The fruit are about grapesized, sweet, slightly resinous and aromatic. Fully ripe fruit turn deep purple, and soon drop from the bush. The bushes are exceedingly productive, and become handsome upright small trees. The trees fruit best in the seasonal tropics, or in upland areas. The fruit are usually ripe in late spring.
 
GUAVA, CATTLEY, YELLOW Psidium Cattleianum var.lucidum 'Yellow guava' like the red cattley guava, a very useful plant for the home food garden, because it is a small bushy tree and won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. And like the red cattley, as rich a source of vitamin C. The flavor is similar, altho perhaps not as complex. Fruiting is as for the red cattley guava.

GUAVA, COSTA RICAN Psidium friedrichsthalianum 'Cos guava'

JAKFRUITArtocarpus heterophyllus Much more tolerant of cooler periods than it's relative the breadfruit, this is a large (to 18 metres) and handsome tree (although it has entire leaves, unlike the lobed leaves of the breadfruit) forming mega sized fruit- up to 50kg! They are oblong covered in tiny tubercles, up to 90cms long, with numerous large seeds embedded in the soft, off-white pulp. Some types have quite palatable, if strong smelling pulp, others are primarily used for cooking in the immature stage, or for harvesting and roasting the seeds.Fruit for dessert use are usually left until there is a color change to the skin, they become strong smelling, and 'give' a little.The fruit hang mainly from the trunk, and ripen in summer. They need a rich soil, and a lot of water, but are no-care once established. They also have the virtue of coming into fruit within about five years of planting. The fruit is very variable, and you should seek out superior grafted trees if you want to grow this productive and unusual tree. On the plus side they are trouble free, insect resistant and productive of both fruit and 'nuts', on the minus side the fruit do take some trouble in preparation due to the sticky latex, and there can be quite a lot of waste, as the edible 'aril' is enclosed in a generally unused 'rag', and has to be seperated. In addition, at least in the equatorial tropics, it is commercially available almost year round, although fruit quality varies a lot.

KETAMBILLA Dovyalis hebecarpa A cherry sized and shaped deep purple fruit, it hangs in profusion on the beanches of a thorny shrub. Another one of those trimmable shrubs without invasive roots that can be useful if you are careful with the thorns. It's particular virtue is that the fruit are very high in vitamin C; against that, they are very acid, and the juice can stain. It has agood pectin content, but are so acid other fruit have to be added. A "yeah, well, maybe..." fruit.

KUMQUAT Fortunella sp. A small citrus tree never exceeding 10 feet/3 metres (on dwarfing rootstock) that grows and fruits well in the tropics, although it doesn't color very well. Ideal for pot culture, where it can be held as a small bushy tree. The fruit are round or oblong, and about the size of a large grape. The peel is sweet, but the flesh is acid. Meiwa is the cultivar most usually used for fresh eating.

LANGSAT Aglaia domesticum (Lansium domesticum) this fruit is only likely to fruit well in the hottest, more equatorial, lowland tropics- well north of the tropic of capricorn (in the southern hemisphere), for example. This is a medium sized (8 to 15 metres) tree that is slow growing. It may need some shade. The round, yellowy-brown inch/25mm wide fruit are carried in bunches of 5 to 30. The leathery skin is covered in a fine fuzz, and when the skin is opened it reveals a juicy, transluscent pulp divided into 5 distinct segments. The flavor is good, with a good balance of sugar and acid. The langsat fruits in the period March to June in the Southern Hemisphere.
More detailed information, including photographs, can be found at the  very good fact sheet at: 

LEMONCitrus limon Usually only successful in the more seasonal tropics, or at elevation, because lemons need a period of rest to initiate fruit. They fruit most abundantly in autumn, but there are often some fruit all year round, apart from spring.

LILIKOI SEE 'PASSIONFRUIT, PURPLE

LIME, Citrus aurantifolia There are two main varieties of lime you can grow-the small fruited, sometimes quite seedy, highly aromatic 'mexican' lime that can be picked green or yellow; and the small lemon sized, generally seedless, pale yellow 'Bearss' lime. Mexican is also known as the 'bartender's lime', or the 'key' lime, and has that delightful aromatic lime smell. The tree is fairly thorny, and when grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock it makes a neat shrubby tree ideal for landscape use. When the fruit turn yellow, they drop from the tree, so it's a case of 'use it or lose it'. Bearss, also known in some areas as 'Tahitian' or 'Persian' lime, is a much more vigorous and spreading tree, less thorny than Mexican, with fragrant flowers, and holds on the tree for a while when ripe, but has less flavor than 'Mexican'.

LONGANEuphoria longana Closely related to the lychee, the longan forms a small, compact headed tree, often with attractive red new growth. It is amenable to pruning, and so is well suited to urban food gardening-especially where trees need to be netted against birds or bats. The fruit, carried in terminal clusters, are small (about an inch/25mm wide), round, and a dull brown color. The skin is thin and brittle, and peels to reveal a transluscent pulp enclosing a single round, black shiny seed. The taste is much less perfumed than the lychee, stronger, with a greater depth of flavor. They have a tendency to biennial bearing. The trees withstand some wind, are are more adaptable to soil and temperature range than the lychee. The fruit mature in July and August in the Northern Hemisphere, and in January and February in the Southern Hemisphere. Longan need to have a period of growth check to initiate flower buds. This is only possible in the seasonal tropics, and even then, fruiting can be unreliable. Varieties selected for tropical areas are more likely to suceed.
JJJ A general overview and description of the longan in Australia, mainly from the commercial point of view, but still a good introductory fact sheet on it's requirements.

LYCHEELitchi chinensis This is a most attractive landscape tree for the tropical food gardener. The tree forms a dense head, the flushes of new growth are an attractive bronzy pink, and when it is in fruit the clusters of round pink/red fruit are highly decorative against the foliage. The fruit are small, about 1½ inches/38mm wide, with an easily peeled brittle skin overlaying transluscent, juicy flesh. There is a single, shiny brown seed. The flavor is sweet and perfumed, although there are varietal differences. Young trees are sensitive to fertiliser damage. Lychees grow very well but fruit poorly at sea level in tropical climates, as they need a period of (preferably dry) cool to initiate flowers.Brewster, Mauritius (Tai So), and Hak Ip are the cultivars with good to very good flavor and with resistance to anthracnose disease which damages the fruit. (Except Mauritius, which is suceptible). Cultivars Chacopat and Tai Yai from Thailand are somewhat better adapted to flower initiation in tropical climates, as is Bengal, although Bengal is an alternate bearer. Expect irregular and poor fruiting in the equatorial tropics.

LUCUMAPouteria obovata- A handsome upright tree that can be pruned for size control, the lucuma has a green skinned , about orange sized and shaped fruit (variable), with strange 'dry' flesh in wwhich are embedded 3-5 very large shiny seeds. The flesh is butterscotch flavored, but too dry to eat other than in cooking. It is poorly adapted to the low tropics, and needs to be grown in cooler upland areas. Rarely available.

MAMEE SAPOTE Pouteria sapota-Mamey Sapote, Mamey Colorado. A large tree, it produces egg shaped, scurfy skinned, 3-6 inch long fruit. Reddish colored, fine flesh encloses a single large seed. The flavor is variable, from rather insipid to sweet. It is easily damaged by cold when young, so is a challenge for semi tropical areas such as southern Florida.
 
t with its large shiny seed, this reference is to a page from the book ''.
http://www.proscitech.com.au/trop/display/mamey.htm
 
MANDARIN-Citrus reticulata- Firstly, the name 'tangerine' has been applied to very orange-red colored mandarins cultivars- presumably as a description of the color, as much as anything else. However, to avoid confusion, it is best to stick with the correct name-'mandarin'. Without a doubt, the mandarin is a valuable fruit for the small space home fruit gardener. The trees are small to very small if grafted onto darfing or ultra dwarfing (flying dragon) rootstock, they start bearing within three years of planting out, the flowers are attractive, the tree in fruit is attractive, they don't need pruning, almost none need a pollinator, the range of flavors in the mandarins is reasonably diverse. That said, many mandarins need a cool period to initiate flowers, or to get good flavor in the ripening period. Your local nursery should stock the cultivars known to suceed in the tropics, such as 'Dancy'.

MACADAMIA NUT- see 'NUT,MACADAMIA'

MANGO Mangifera indica This is one of the largest and most spectacular fruit trees for the tropics. Too large, really. Home fruit growers need to allow at least 30ft/9m from building or from other trees. A mature seedling tree may have a spread of 100 ft/30m! Grafted trees, are, however, smaller, and any mango can be trimmed-quite severely if necessary. The trees are very attractive-the leaves are shiny green and contrast with the bright red new growth. When the tree flowers it is covered in light yellow panicles, and when the fruit is ripening it is hung with bunches of green/red/yellow fruit. The mango is adaptable as to soil, and as long as the growing young tree is fed regularly and watered if necessary in a dry spell, it will thrive. A poor type of mango will be fibrous, acid, and 'turpentiney'. Selected types effectively have no fibre, are intensely sweet, and with stunning depth of delicious flavor.The fruit are too well known to need description. Grafted trees will begin to fruit 3 to 5 years after planting. Fruits of most varieties mature in summer in the seasonal tropics. From flower to fruit maturity takes about 100 to 130 days.Large trees will produce more fruit than most people can eat-another reason to grow a grafted tree and keep it pruned. The season is about a month long, but can be extended slightly by chosing an early and a late ripening variety- a classic strategy of the home fruit gardener. Rain when the mango is flowering in 'winter' (in the seasonal tropics ) can cause poor fruit set. The fungus disease 'Anthracnose' attacks the flowers, the fruitlets and soft growth.Not only can it prevent adequate fruit set by damaging flowers, fruit that do mature may rot. Anthracnose is a particular problem in the wettest areas of the tropics. The commercial solution is to keep a spray cover on the plants from flowering to fruit pick; given the size of the tree and the busy lives we lead, this is unrealistic for the urban fruit gardener. People in wet areas may be better off growing some other fruit tree. The only other significant problem is fruit fly and fruit bats in those areas prone to these pests. Varieties are limited to what is commercially available, but include Haden, Pirie, Kensington Pride, Early Gold, Saigon, Glenn, Tommy Atkins, Keitt. The last 5 cultivars are moderately resistant to anthracnose, and 'Haden' is suceptible.
 
- JJJ around 50 fruits in full color high quality photos, by Ian McGuire, of the University of Florida.
http://www.ifas.ufl.edu/imaguire/81699.HTML
 
JJ Nice picture, expandible to LARGE, of Kent, Tommy Atkins, Haden, and Ataulfo commercial varieties, plus brief description of the fruit characteristics.
 
- JJJ The curator of Faircild Tropical Gardens rates these 4 cultivars the best choice for Florida on a number of grounds. Notes and photos.
http://www.ftg.org/horticulture/mangocurators.html
 
- JJJJ a very good fact sheet on propogating mangoes -in detail - cultivars, and general care. Commercially oriented, but useful.
http://min.pcarrd.dost.gov.ph/tech/prm1994/mangest/mangest_sp.html
 
MANGOSTEEN Garcinia mangostana This fruit is only likely to fruit well in the hottest, more equatorial, lowland tropics- well north of the tropic of capricorn (in the southern hemisphere), for example. The tree is medium sized, about 8 metres, with large leathery leaves and red flowers.The purple, thick skinned fruit have white fleshed sweet/acid fruit of exceptionally good flavor.
 More detailed information, including photographs, can be found at the very good tropical fruit site at:
 
MARANG Artocarpus odoratissimus 'Tarap'- similar to jakfruit, it is a large tree with lobed leaves, similar to breadfruit in appearance, about 17cm long, greenish yellow when ripe, and covered in soft short spines. The tree is less cold tolerant than the breadfruit. The fruit have a strong smell, but in contrast to the aroma, the flesh is very mild and juicy. It is considered better fresh eating than jakfruit or chempedak.There are more of the edible arils than jakfruit, but once the fruit is opened it has to be eaten within a few hours, as the flesh discolors fairly quickly, and the flavor falls away.

MUNTINGIA Muntingia calabura-Panama Berry, Strawberry Tree.This very fast growing tree with pubescent leaves that ultimately becomes a large open tree that has small yellow flowers. It comes into fruiting very early, and produces large crops of about small cherry sized red or yellow fruit. The fruit are sweet and vaguely strawberry tasting. Not only does it comes into bearing fast, the tree fruits throughout the year. Recommended if you have the space. 

NANCE Byrsonima crassifolia - nice as a landscape tree, it is not outrageously large, at around 12metres, and has attractive orange and yellow flowers. The fruit are about golf ball size, with yellow skin, and transluscent flesh surronding a single seed. They are sweet and aromatic. Improved cultivars are larger, have the best flavor, and are sometimes red skinned. However, grafted trees are very hard to find. The young trees are cold suceptible in semi tropical areas such as southern Florida.

NUT, CASHEW Anacardium occidentale The medium to large, very spreading tree (to around 30 feet) carries a decorative, pear shaped, juicy and aromatic fruit which is ripe when the fruit start to fall from the tree. The fruit color varies, with some trees having yellow fruit, others red. There is quite a bit of difference in flavor from tree to tree, but are usually slightly astringent and quite refreshing, with the yellow form being distinctly sweeter. The ascorbic acid content has been measured at a quite high 146mg/100 grams of pulp, and others have reported higher values still. This compares with the oranges approximately 60mg/100gms pulp. The down sides are that the fruit are particularly attractive to fruit flies, and can also cause blistering to the mouth in some sensitive people. This may be caused by careless handling- the cashew nut that hangs as an appendage at the base of the fruit is encased within a shell that has a caustic oil within it which is released if the skin of the shell is damaged. This caustic oil or sap causes irritation to the skin, it's severity depending on individual sensitivity. Some people carefully twist off the nut and throw it away in favor of the fruit. The reason they don't bother cracking open the shell to get the nut is that the cashew has to be released from within the caustic containing shell by roasting at 350-500ºF/180-200ºC. This destroys the caustic oil. However, the oil can spurt as it is being heated, and damage eyes and skin, so the nuts have to be roasted in a covered container, or buried in fine sand to absorb the oil. Trouble is, the high temperature needed to cause the kernel to dry out also causes the evolution of a cloud of vaporised caustic oil! After roasting, the as yet unextracted nuts are washed in water and detergent to remove any residual caustic sap, then nuts cracked open, and the thin pellicle removed from around the kernel. No wonder cashew nuts are expensive.

NUT, MACADAMIA  Macadamia integrifolia, M.tetraphylla- Macadamia nuts are an excellent tree for the hominids food garden. The nuts are particularly nutritious. The commercial growers go for nuts with high oil content and low sugar content-low sugar so the nuts don't caramelise when they are toasted. The urban hominid should go for nuts with a high sugar content, then dry them rather than toast or roast them. Dried, they keep for about a year before there is any rancidity. Grafted trees are better than cutting grown trees, as cutting grown trees sometimes are blown over once they have become fairly tall. Macadamias can be pruned for convenience, and if left alone, some varieties can become very large and spreading. Cultivars derived from M.tetraphylla are the sweetest, and have the particular advantage of having a husk which splits well, releasing the nut. The leaves of tetraphylla cultivars have a slightly ''prickly' margin. Cultivars of M.integrifolia have lower sugar, smooth leaves, and tend not to release the nut from the husk, meaning they have to be hand picked. The long racemes of pale purplish pink or white flowers are wonderfully fragrant and abundant. Some cultivars have attractive reddish or bronze new growth.
Any other than a poorly drained soil will do. Cross pollination is essential, or nut numbers will be in the ones or twos per raceme, instead of hanging in bunches. Macadamias are loved by rats, and immature fruit can be damaged by piercing and sucking bugs. Other than that they are pretty care free.

ORANGECitrus sinensis Oranges are cheap in the supermarkets, nevertheless the orange is an excellent landscape tree- attractive form, small size, scented flowers, decorative fruit, trimmable. In addition, if you use orange peel in recipes, you can be sure your own oranges will be free of waxes, colouring, and fungicides. So long as the trees are watered and/or mulched in summer, given regular small doses of complete fertiliser throughout the year, and the surface feeder roots are kept from damage, productivity with minimum effort is assured. In the wet tropics, oranges don't flower very well, as they need a period of dry to initiate and co-ordinate flowering. In the more seasonal tropics with a wet and dry season, the orange usually flowers at the beginning of the rainy season. It is important not to overirrigate in the dry season, or the trees won't have sufficient dormancy to flower well when the wet comes. Conversely, oranges are shallow rooted, and cannot be allowed to become too dry. In very sandy soils it is very easy for oranges to suffer water stress. Tropical oranges don't attain a true orange color, and remain a wishy washy yellow-green even when ripe, as ambient temperatures are too high for proper color developement. In more elevated areas where the temperature drops below 60ºF/15.5ºC the fruit develop full color. Citrus need a little complete proprietary complete citrus fertiliser regularly. The best prevention for various trace element deficiencies which citrus seem prone to is to use composted animal manures such as pelletised chicken manure under the trees-and a good organic mulch. Navel oranges are not well adapted to tropical areas.
Marrs-a medium to large orange, often seedy. It is sweet and juicy, but lacks the acidity essential for depth of flavor unless it is left to hang late on the tree. It has the advantage of being a small tree, and starting into fruit at an early age.
Parson Brown- a medium sized, juicy, sweet orange on an upright, vigorous tree.Early maturing.
Pineapple-medium sized fruit with very good flavor, but they don't 'hold' on the tree, have a tendency to alternate bearing, and in 'semi tropical' areas such as coastal/southern Florida, it is suceptible in 'historic freezes'.
Valencia-medium to large juicy, sweet fruit, bearing heavily on a large upright tree. It tends to alternate bearing, and often 're-greens' in summer (rind loses it's color), altho' re-greening has no effect on sweetness or juiciness. The main late maturing variety.
Seville-a medium sized tree bearing prodigious quantities of attractive but very sour oranges whose sole purpose is to make the superb, slightly bitter, seville orange marmalade.

OTAHEITE GOOSEBERRY Phyllanthus acidus - 'Grosella', 'Cheremai' Whever the colonialists went, they looked for fruit that reminded them of 'home'-in this case, the gooseberry. This small, pinnate leaved tree produces clusters of fruit in racemes on the mature shoots and along the young branchlets. The fruit are about the size of a very large grape (or a gooseberry!), greeny yellow when ripe, waxy, and ribbed.There is a large 'stone'. As it's name suggests, it is very acid, and is cooked with sugar as a gooseberry substitute. In Florida the tree is sometimes subject to extensive and disfiguring catipillar damage. Improved forms are sometimes available. There are seperate (fruitless) pollenizing male plants and (fruiting) female flowers, so you need two trees of the right sex to get fruit-a disadvantage if you are trying to maximize useful production in a small space.

OYSTER NUT Telfaria pedata more a large edible gourd seed than a nut, this is a rampaging climber, going to 50 feet or more. The trees they grow up are eventually smothered...The sexes are on seperate plants, so at least three plants are needed to get a better than even chance of one at least being female, but you won't know for 2 years because it takes that long before they flower.The females produce large gourd like fruit up to 50cms long and containing as many as 150 edible seeds ('nuts). The seeds are excellent, with a high oil content and a taste similar to hazels.Not a practical propostion for most urban gardenrs, even if they are the kind of ideal food our distant African ancestors would have eaten.

PAPAYA Carica papaya 'Pawpaw'. This is one of the best fruits for the small garden. The papaya is relatively short-lived-it is actually classified as a herbaceous plant, not a shrub or tree-but fast-growing plant about 10ft/3m high, usually with a single stem. The plants take up very little space, are handsome, and are wonderfully productive. There are seperate male and female plants, and you won't know which is which until your seedlings start to flower- which is why it is best to grow three plants close together hope to get a plant of each sex.Female flowers have short stalks and a swollen, fleshy base within the petals. Male flowers are in panicles of many small flowers on the end of a long stem. Some cultivars, however, have a tendency to have both male and female flowers on the same plant-the 'Solo' strain is well known for this. So long as they are watered in dry spells, given regular fertiliser and full sun, papayas will produce heavy crops of fine quality fruit. Papaya must have good drainage, or they may get root rot and collapse. Strains of the variety 'Matsumoto' are said to be more tolerant of wetter conditions. In the wettest areas, the fungal disease 'anthracnose' can be a problem. It causes sunken circular spots on the ripening fruit. It can be largely prevented by spraying, but it is not really worth the effort. Fruit fly is either a relatively minor ,or quite a major problem, depending on the species of fruit fly present in your country. Usually the fly can't successfully lay eggs under the skin of the fruit because of the milky latex present in unripe fruit. At the point where the fruit are just coming to maturity, this latex decreases,and the fruit can be 'stung'. In areas where fruit fly are problematical it may be better to pick the fruit just as they show signs of maturity, and allow the fruit to ripen indoors. The only other major problem is 'ringspot virus', which is spread by aphids. This causes a decline in vigor, and low productivity and fruit quality. The only cure is to start again with new plants. Virus resistant varieties are currently being developed.
Waimanolo/Waimanolo Solo starts bearing very quickly, even when it is only 3ft/1m or so tall. The orange/yellow fleshed fruit yellow skinned when ripe, are pretty much round, with a short neck and weigh 1lb to 2lb 4oz/450gms to 1.1kg. The flavor and sweetness is good, and they keep particularly well.
Sunrise Solo has smaller fruit than 'Waimanolo', with reddish orange flesh with a high sugar content. The fruit are pear-shaped and about 1½lb /680gms. Plants start to fruit very quickly after setting out, and will have their first mature fruit only 9 months after planting and still only 3ft/1m high.
Sunset (Sunset Solo) like 'Sunrise', this plant is small (to 8ft/2.4m), starts bearing early and is high yielding. The fruit are also pear-shaped, small to medium-sized, with orange-red skin and similar coloured very sweet flesh.
Mexican Red is a medium sized to very large fruit (up to 15 inches/38cm or more long) with pinky red flesh. Very productive, starts flowering when it is only 24in/60cm high, but it is not as sweet as Hawaiian types.
Mexican Yellow a medium to large fruit (up to 10lb/4.5kg) yellow fleshed papaya which is very sweet and flavorful, yellow-fleshed papaya.
Watermelon papaya is a generic name used in the West for any very large, long papaya fruit, usually either yellow or red fleshed and sweet, it probably includes various Asian and mexican cultivars.
 
JJJJ A commercially oriented advisory  from the Department of Horticulture, University of Hawaii, nevertheless there is excellent information on all aspects of culture, varieties, and pests and diseases.
http://www.tropical-seeds.com/tech_forum/fruits_anon/papaya.html
 
PASSIONFRUIT, OBSCURE & RARE SPECIES Of the 400 wild species, only a few are in cultivation as fruit, and effectively only one commercially. And then in very small amounts. Many species have edible fruit, or greater or lesser worth. Details of a few of the edible species are at this commercial site.-
- Seed for sale of over a dozen different edible passionfruits, some very rare, plus cultivars of p.edulis; with brief descriptions.JJJ
PASSIONFRUIT, PURPLE Passiflora edulis This fast growing vine is vigorous, very easy care, and quite ornamental with it's dark green, glossy leaves and interesting purple and white fringed flowers. The vine needs something to climb on, a trellis, wires, a shed-all will do. In the tropics it will often produce a summer and a winter crop. The fruit are a bit bigger than golf ball size, purple skinned, and produced in profusion. They are ready when they fall from the vine. The fruit are excellent at this stage, but become even sweeter and more flavored if they are collected and allowed to shrivel slightly. Fruit have to be collected from the ground regularly, because they can sunburn. Rootrot is the main problem, and the only cure is prevention. Grow Passionfruit in well drained soil. They plants aren't long lived, and can be replaced after 5 or 6 years. Give the plants a dressing of a balanced fertiliser several times a year.
 
JJJ A good page, mainly on commercial varieties (hybrids of P.edulis and P. edulis var flavicarpa in the main) describing culture and types. Commercially oriented, but very useful. From the Department of Primary Industry, Queensland.
http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/dpinotes/hortic/subtropfruit/h98023.html
 
PASSIONFRUIT, YELLOW Passiflora edulis var.flavicarpa- 'Golden passionfruit', 'Hawaiian passionfruit' . The yellow form is identical in all respects to the purple plant, except that the fruit are a mid yellow color, and often slightly smaller. They withstand some less than ideal soil conditions better than the purple form. The yellow passionfruit grown in many tropical areas may be different from the true P.edulis var. flavicarpa because it is larger than even the purple form, has a thicker fruit wall, and a slightly more acid flavor. The foliage is lighter, and larger. In addition, it is self infertile, requiring two plants to be present for cross pollination, whereas the purple passionfruit is self fertile.

PASSIONFRUIT, SWEET GRANADILLA Passiflora ligularis -This very vigorous vine has somewhat heart shaped leaves and very attractive large white and purple fringed flowers. It requires something fairly strong to climb up, and will reward you with orange or browny orange almost round fruit, sometimes blushed purple, about half way between golf ball and tennis ball sized, with a brittle fruit wall enclosing opaque white pulp that is sweet, perfumed and aromatic.

PASSIONFRUIT, HARD SHELL PASSIONFRUIT Passiflora maliformis 'Sweet Calabash'.This is a small vine, reaching only 20ft/6m. The flowers are very pretty, white and purple, and fringed. The fruit are small-about,or a bit less than, golf ball size. They are dusky yellow when ripe. The fruit are amazingly hard-it takes a hammer to break them open. The reward is a slightly musky, perfumed and aromatic delicious sweet opaque pulp. The seed is hard to find, but worth growing for it's restraint, flowers, connoisseur flavor, and bizarre impenetrability.

PASSIONFRUIT, GIANT GRANADILLA Passiflora quadrangularis This is the queen and king of all passionfruit-at least in terms of size. The fruit can be as big as a melon! They fruit virtually year round, and in the best conditions, a single vine can produce upward of a hundred fruit. The plants are extensive growers, reaching 50ft/15m, and in equatorial areas they can grow as much as 150ft/45m! The flowers are very large, spectacular with purple and white filaments against the red sepals. The fruit are up to 12in/30cm long, oval/oblong, turning greeny orange when ripe. The pulp is purple, sweet/acid, pleasant but not outstanding. Unless you have lots of space, or a strong hobby interest, it is better to grow a smaller species such as the purple passionfruit.

PASSIONFRUIT, WATER LEMON Passiflora laurifolia 'Jamaican Honeysuckle', 'Bell Apple'.A vigorous vine, growing up to 50ft/15m in the Equatorial tropics. The plant is handsome, with oblong, shiny leaves, and very fragrant purple filamented flowers. The fruit are about the size and shape of a hen's egg, and are deep yellow, almost orange tinged, when ripe. The white pulp is rather thin and watery, but it is sweet, and aromatic.
 
PINEAPPLEAnanas commosus So cheap it is hardly worth growing your self. But, if you do, follow the link below-
  JJJJ A good fact sheet at the Californian Rare fruit growers site, covering all aspects of growing pineapples, plus notes on varieties. Written for USA conditions, but widely applicable.
 
Growing  Pineapples- JJJJ from the Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm climates'. Covers Description, Origin and Distribution, varieties, suitable climates and soils, propagation, culture, harvesting, pests and diseases and more. Concise, informative. 2 good photos of fruit

 
PITOMBAEugenia luschnathiana A slow growing small bushy tree that one day may reach 30 feet in ideal conditions. In areas of calcareous soils, such as Southern Florida, it commonly suffers from micro element deficiencies. The more-or-less round fruit are bright orangy-yellow, about an inch in diameter, with soft, juicy, slightly acid pulp. Seedlings take a long time to fruit, so either buying grafted plants where they are available, or not bothering, is the best idea.

PUMMELO Citrus maxima [C.grandis, C.decumana] 'Shaddock', the pummelo is closely related to the grapefruit (C.paradisi) . Theis is the largest kind of citrus fruit there is. The fruit are extremely large, with rather coarse flesh and thick skin. Because of it's lower juice content and firm flesh, the fruit segments are seperated, and the outer membrane is removed from the segments, leaving only the coarse flesh vesicles. There are many varieties, mostly of South EastAsian origin, with flesh that varies from yellow to deep red, and from acid and inedible to sweet. Some varieties are very seedy, others are virtually seedless. The trees are equally variable- thornless, thorny; round topped, open; small, large. Chandler is a vigorous, red fleshed cultivar with good sugar:acid balance that is usually available.

RAMONTCHI Flacourtia ramontchi 'Govenor's Plum'- A slightly flattened dark purple/black berry about large grape size with a similar flesh texture and flavor to a plum. The 'plums' are a bit astringent unless they are fully ripe, but there are now selections available with much reduced astringency. The plant is a large shrub with attractive glossy dark green foliage. It is hardy aas to soil, withstands some drought, and is a vigorous grower. It can be pruned to fit in the space you have available. Seedlings are very variable, and it is far better to buy a cutting grown named variety. Most usually you will need a male and a female plant (a few bisexual plants have been identified).

RAMBUTAN Nephelium lappaceum- This fruit is only likely to fruit well in the hottest, more equatorial, lowland tropics- well north of the tropic of capricorn (in the southern hemisphere), for example. The rambutan is a close relative of the lychee. It is a large tree (about 20M/65 feet) with large pinnate leaves and dense foliage.The fruit, carried in clusters of ten or so fruit, are a similar size to lychee, but have soft 'spines' about ½ an inch/12mm long all over the surface. The flesh inside is white to grey, and usually adheres to the central seed. It is not as sweet as the lychee, and has a little more acid. The difficulty may be in keeping birds, bats, and fruit fly off fruit high up.Seedlings could turn out to be male or female trees, so it is best to obtain grafted, named cultivars.
More detailed information, including photos, can be found at the very good tropical fruit site at:
 
RARE FRUIT - there are gazillions of species, ecotypes, and forms of fruit plants that could be grown, but, for a wide variety of reasons, rarely are. For further information, thrash around in the sites listed below, or use the search facility on top of the index (or any good search engine).
JJJ
Tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate fruit seeds, most are rare and wild species. Includes short descriptions and advisory.
JJJ
Good fact sheets on 'Cherry of the rio grande' (eugenia aggregata), 'Grumichama' (E.brasiliensis), 'Imbe' (Garcinia livingstoneii), 'Velvet apple' (Diospyros discolor), and several other rare fruit, as well as a good selection of fruit plants for hot and arid areas
JJ
Several paragraphs on the distribution of Camu-camu, Myrciaria dubia, the fruit richest in vitamin C, and it's nutritional value and uses. Includes a picture of the berries.
Rum Berry JJJJ
A very good page from Purdue University on both these minor Mycriaria species, including a nice picture of the rum berry, M.floribunda.
Garcinia livingstonei
A short description of the plant and fruit at Lychee Woods home page.

 
RED MOMBIN Spondias purpurea 'Purple mombin', 'Spainish mombin'. A fairly large (to 30ft/9m), fast growing, spreading topped tree with pinnate leaves and clusters of yellow flowers. The fruit are pretty acid, and really only useful for cooking. They are the size of a very small plum, a glossy deep red, sometimes purple tinged, with bright yellow juicy flesh over a large stone.Given the size of the stone and the mediocre flavor, it does not have a great deal to recommend it, except for it's landscape virtues, which are somewhat dulled by it's habit of defoliating, setting fruit on the bare limbs, then coming into leaf again.

ROLLINIARollinia deliciosa 'Biriba' This is a small (6-10 metres), easily grown, fast fruiting tree which has the virtue of not needing hand pollination to set fruit, unlike some other members of the same family. The globe shaped fruit are about cherimoya size, yellow when ripe, and with juicy, sweet, somewhat off-putting mucilaginous flesh. The seedlings are very variable in quality, and improved selections would have to be made to make them worthwhile compared to the closely related atemoyas, cherimoyas, and sugar apples.
 
SAPODILLA Achras sapota-Chiku, Naseberry, sapota. A slow growing, wind resistant, dense foliaged tree with glossy leaves, inconspicuous bell shaped flowers, and round to oval fruit containing several bean sized, very flattened shiny black seeds. The fruit are about kiwifruit size, thin skinned, and heavily russeted brownish gray.They exude a sticky sap if they are cut before they are fully ripe, but once they are ripe the flesh becomes tender, transluscent, and very sweet, with an almost 'brown sugar' taste. If the fruit are cooked, the light honey colored flesh changes color to bright red. Although rather slow growing (it takes about 5 years to start fruiting), it can be recommended as a fruit that is almost universally liked.The only caveat is that the end of the seeds are curved back into a small 'hook', and they have been know to become lodged in the throat. The seeds are few, obvious, and easily removed. The danger is more with children deliberately swallowing the seeds to annoy their parents...!
More detailed information can be found in the California Rare Fruit Growers (Inc)  very good fact sheet at:
  and the very good tropical fruit site at :
 
SUGAR APPLE Annona squamosa  A small tree yeilding creamy fleshed, very sweet, rather seedy fruit about the size of a baseball. The fruit tend to split and disintegrate when very ripe. The sugar apple doesn't take up much space, and is pretty much universally liked.
A of the fruit is at the 'Garden of Delight' web site.
 
SURINAM CHERRY Eugenia uniflora 'Pitanga', 'Brazilian cherry'.A very useful plant for the home food garden, because it is a small leafed, wiry stemmed bushy tree or a large shrub (with small creamy white flowers), and won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. It can also be clipped into a fruiting hedge. The bronzy red tender new growth is quite attractive. The juicy fruit is small, thin skinned, about 1-1½ inches/3-4 cms wide, vaguely roundish, with 8 deep grooves running longitudinally, and with a fairly large stone. The fruit is very variable, most trees producing clusters of acid red fruit, and with some producing rather resinous, unpleasant fruit. The best types are mild, aromatic, subacid and sweet, with a melting quality. Fruit color varies from red to almost black. Selected varieties can be hard to find. They can bear fruit almost year round in the right climate. Fruiting usually begins 2 or 3 years after planting.

TANGELO - A cross between a mandarin and (usually) a grapefruit or (sometimes) a pummelo. They are somewhere between an orange and a grapefruit in hardiness. Tangeloes fruit better when there is a mandarin (not another tangelo) nearby to pollinate them. Tangeloes make a medium to large sized tree in time, and will bear far more fruit than you would want to eat, given that most tangeloes have quite a bit of acid in them. The fruit tend to be seedy, and very juicy. They peel fairly well. The bright orange red fruit are very ornamental, and the white flowers, like most citrus, attractive.  The fruit mature in late winter/spring. They dry out very quickly if they are left too long on the tree. There is a good arguement for buying, rather than growing this fruit.
Minneola-the common commercial tangelo. The fruit are highly colored, with a prominent neck, and are carried on a vigorous tree.
Orlando-is difficult to peel, seedy, juicy, and sweet.
Seminole-is moderately easy to peel, soft, extremely juicy (messy to eat), and has to change from orange-red to orange-yellow before it is ripe. Picked too soon it is very acid, when dead ripe it has very high sugars along with the acidity.

UGLI Possibly a hybrid of a grapefruit and a mandarin (and therefore is strictly a type of tangelo), the Ugli forms a larger tree than most mandarins. The fruit are large, with very thick, often deeply corrugated, pale orange skin, but easy peel. It is sometimes a little difficult to pick exactly when they are ripe-they are acid when they are underripe, and they dry out quickly if they are overipe.Definitely worth a place in a collection, but not at the expense of a mandarin.

VI Spondias cytherea [S.dulcis] 'Mombin', 'Ambarella', 'Hog plum'. -this fast growing, pinnate leaved, large (to 50ft/15m) tree has plum or small apple sized fruit with a large stone. The fruit are green and hard (when they can be used for pickles in the same way as green mangoes) becoming yellow and soft (but rather fibrous) when ripe. The flavor is variable, vaguely sweet, but with good acid levels. Given the size of the stone and the mediocre flavor, it does not have a great deal to recommend it.

WAMPI Clausenia wampi- A  useful plant for the home food garden, because it is a moderate sized tree (eventually growing to around 8 metres/26 feet) and won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. The large grape sized fruit are pale yellow with transluscent, jelly like flesh., and hang in panicles of 6-8 fruit. Some forms are acid, and others sweet.

YELLOW MOMBIN Spondias lutea [S.mombin] 'Golden Apple' is a fairly large tree (to 30ft/9m) with attractive pinnate foliage and panicles of pale yellow flowers in summer. The oval, light yellow fruit are the size of a small plum, with soft pulp of moderate sweetness and moderate to high acidity. The stone is very large for the size of the fruit. It is fairly adaptable to different climatic and soil variations. Given the size of the stone and the mediocre flavor, it does not have a great deal to recommend it beyond reliable adaptability .

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