Skip to main content

Full text of "Tropical and subtropical fruits"

See other formats

Tropical and Subtropical Fruii 


The Popular Series of publications of the Department of Botany 
is designed to give brief, non-technical accounts of various features of 
plant life, especially with reference to the botanical exhibits of Chicago 
Natural History Museum, and of the local flora of the Chicago region. 


No. 1. Figs $ .10 

No. 2. The Coco Palm 10 

No. 3. Wheat 10 

No. 4. Cacao 10 

No. 5. A Fossil Flower .10 

No. 6. The Cannon-ball Tree 10 

No. 7. Spring Wild Flowers 25 

No. 8. Spring and Early Summer Wild Flowers . . . .25 

No. 9. Summer Wild Flowers 25 

No. 10. Autumn Flowers and Fruits 25 

No. 11. Common Trees (second edition) .25 

No. 12. Poison Ivy (second edition) 15 

No. 13. Sugar and Sugar-making 25 

No. 14. Indian Corn .25 

No. 15. Spices and Condiments (second edition) ... .25 

No. 16. Fifty Common Plant Galls of the Chicago Area .25 

No. 17. Common Weeds .25 

No. 18. Common Mushrooms .50 

No. 19. Old-Fashioned Garden Flowers 25 

No. 20. House Plants 35 

No. 21. Tea 25 

No. 22. Coffee 25 

No. 23. Carnivorous Plants and "The Man-Eating 

Tree" 25 

No. 24. Mistletoe and Holly 25 

No. 25. The Story of Food Plants 25 

No. 26. Tropical and Subtropical Fruits .50 




Tropical and Subtropical Fruits 




Drawings by Albert Frey 





Copyright 1947 by Chicago Natural History Museum 



Frontispiece Facing Title Page 

Introduction v-x 

Old World Fruits 1-28 

New World Fruits 31-67 

Bibliography 68-70 

Index 71-72 



The larger cultivated fruits of the northern temperate 
zone, apples, pears, quinces, plums, peaches and their 
allies, are all of Old World origin, natives of Asia or of 
Europe where they were thoroughly established long 
before their introduction into North America. The same 
is true of most of the smaller fruits. Though some of 
them are represented in the American flora by identical 
or corresponding species, it is with few notable exceptions 
the Old World stock that has been propagated and now 
yields the bulk of our standard cultivated fruits in their 
many varieties. 

None of them are included in the present publication, 
which deals with the principal edible fruits of the tropics 
and of the bordering regions intermediate between the 
tropical and temperate zones. A large part of these fruits 
also are of Old World origin. Among their number are 
some that are native in or about the eastern Mediterranean 
or have been cultivated there since early historic time or 
before. Such are the fig, the date, the pomegranate, the 
common spiny jujube, and perhaps also the lime, identified 
from seeds that were found in Sumerian excavations in 
Mesopotamia and indicate its early presence there. 
Scarcely known in northern Europe and not capable of 
being cultivated there, these did not reach North America 
by the northern route, but at an early date directly by 
way of the Spanish peninsula, together with the oranges, 
lemons and limes that had been brought to the Mediter- 
ranean by Arab traders and become well established there 
before the time of the great navigators. 

The interesting history of the introduction of some of 
the citrus fruits is summarized in a recent publication by 
Webber and Batchelor (see p. 70). Columbus on his 
second voyage brought plants and seeds as well as useful 

animals from Spain and the Canary Islands to the New 
World. Included among them were the then recently- 
arrived sweet orange for which people of wealth were 
building orangeries in southern Europe, the sour orange 
which had been grown in Italy and Spain for several 
hundred years, the lemon, citron, and lime, as well as 
melons, figs and pomegranates, all of which were planted 
and tended in the settlement which Columbus established 
in the island of Hispaniola, now occupied by the repub- 
lics of Haiti and Santo Domingo. 

From there these fruits soon reached other islands of 
the larger Antilles and were also carried by Spanish 
explorers, settlers and missionaries to Mexico, Central 
America, and Panama, as well as to northern and north- 
western South America. The eastern part of the South 
American continent, which is now Brazil, was supplied 
by the Portuguese who, after taking possession, promptly 
introduced seeds and plants from many distinct parts of 
the world that they were the first to reach. 

The east coast of the North American mainland was 
visited early in the 16th century by Spaniards from the 
islands who called the southern peninsula Florida and 
planted citrus and other fruits that flourished and multi- 
plied long after the Spanish settlements had been aban- 
doned. Two hundred years later Bartram in his travels 
described wild or abandoned groves of such trees on St. 
John's River (1774). While these consisted mostly of 
Seville or sour orange, there were also trees of sweet 
orange, limes and rough lemon growing among the native 
bay trees, live oaks, and magnolias. Traces of such 
ancient plantings were once numerous. Their descend- 
ants may be seen today in occasional wild sour orange and 
rough lemon trees in Florida hammocks. Many of these 
have furnished stock used in the establishment of citrus 
groves which have multiplied since the peninsula became 
part of the United States in 1821. The grapefruit, which 
is considered to have originated from the pummelo 
brought from the East Indies to Barbados by a Captain 

Shaddock, was first planted in Florida by a Spanish 
settler in 1809. 

On the west coast Spanish missionaries arriving by 
way of Mexico planted citrus and other subtropical 
fruits in lower and later in southern California. Some of 
the earliest groves were started with trees obtained directly 
from the missions. With the influx of settlers after the 
acquisition of California by the United States in 1848, cit- 
rus groves multiplied. Recent large scale development of 
citrus culture in this country has been made possible 
chiefly by improved practices and standards, and a con- 
stantly expanding market for the fruit. 

Of other exotic fruits brought from Mediterranean 
countries the principal ones were figs and dates. Though 
introduced repeatedly in various places in the United 
States, it is only recently that they can be said to have 
been well established. The first figs grown in California 
were black mission figs brought by Franciscans from Spain 
or Portugal. The successful cultivation of the Smyrna fig 
had to await the introduction of the fig wasp and a proper 
understanding of the importance of the so-called capri- 
fication of the fig, practised for thousands of years in 
countries of the eastern Mediterranean. An account of 
the introduction, culture, varieties, and literature of the 
fig is found in Eisen's treatise cited in the bibliography 
(p. 68). The introduction of many kinds of figs from 
various sources, as well as of many other fruits of foreign 
countries, is to be credited to many private individuals 
and growers, as well as to government agencies. 

Date palms have been planted in many places in the 
warmer parts of this country but the successful production 
of dates in the southwestern states is a recent achievement 
following the studies of their culture and pollination, 
especially in the region about the Persian Gulf, and the 
introduction of selected varieties by Swingle and associates 
of the United States Department of Agriculture. 

Like the peach among temperate fruits, that came 
originally from China by the overland route to Persia 

before it reached Europe and became established there 
and finally in North America, some of the tropical fruits 
have had a history of extensive wanderings. The 
banana, the most important of all tropical fruits, made its 
first New World appearance in Hispaniola as did the citrus 
fruits somewhat earlier. Originally from the tropics of 
southeastern Asia, it was transported from India to 
Africa by Arab traders, and in the course of time, from 
Arabian settlements or trading posts on the east coast of 
that continent across the width of Africa to Guinea. Its 
African name banana was doubtless acquired during the 
traverse. From the Guinea coast it was only a step to 
the islands off the African continent. From the Canaries 
it was brought to Santo Domingo in the 16th century by 
a Spanish priest. From there it soon spread to other West 
Indian islands and to Central America which has become 
one of the main banana producing regions of the world. 
Introductions of bananas directly from the oriental 
tropics have of course been made since, both by Pacific 
and Atlantic routes. 

English horticulturists have always excelled in growing 
exotic plants under glass. The most authentic and com- 
plete collection of cultivated figs, comprising sixty-six 
varieties, was obtained from England for introduction in 
California. Many new plants were first described from 
such cultivated specimens. The strawberry guava is an 
interesting instance. It was obtained from an English 
grower who had received it from China. It was grown 
under glass and fruited in England, where it was described 
and named Cattley guava. It is now recognized as a well- 
known fruit of eastern Brazil where it is native; but, early 
carried to Asia by some Portuguese mariner, it now bears 
the name of the English horticulturist. 

Since the establishment of the office of Foreign Seed 
and Plant Introduction in the Bureau of Plant Industry, 
many valuable additions have been made to the fruits 
capable of being grown in the United States, including 
superior varieties of those already in cultivation. Vol- 

umes of descriptive lists of seeds and plants brought from 
many parts of the world testify to the activity of the office. 
Among the most important of its many introductions of 
edible fruits is that of the avocado in its various forms 
from the West Indies, Mexico and Central America. The 
credit for this belongs to David Fairchild, veteran ex-chief 
of the Office of Plant Introduction, and Wilson Popenoe, 
botanical explorer. Many types of mangoes, persimmons, 
jujubes, and numerous other fruits of foreign lands have 
been introduced, and others are constantly being added to 
the experiment gardens of the Bureau of Plant Industry 
from which they are eventually released to plant breeders 
and nurserymen. 

Unfortunately the area within our boundaries suitable 
for cultivation of plants requiring tropical or near-tropical 
conditions is very limited. The banana can be seen grow- 
ing in scattered clumps in many places in Florida, but for 
an adequate supply of it we shall doubtless continue to 
depend on its cultivation in West Indian islands and 
Central American countries where superior conditions 
exist for its production. The same is true of pineapples 
and may be expected to apply also to papayas and various 
other more or less tropical fruits that are likely to be 
much in demand once they become well enough known 
and readily obtainable. 

Many products of the tropics are already familiar to a 
considerable part of the American public. With in- 
crease in foreign travel they will become more widely 
known. With airplane transportation of perishable 
products under way, it may be confidently predicted 
that tropical flowers and fruits will make their regular 
appearance in our markets. 

In the following pages the fruits are divided into two 
groups, those of Old World origin and those of the New 
World; and the most important in each group are placed 
first. The others are arranged rather with regard to 
botanical relationship and usual systematic sequence than 
in order of importance or excellence. Beyond a certain 

point it appears quite impracticable to attempt to classify- 
according to their relative value the many fruits in- 
cluded, for there can be no general agreement about 
the quality and popularity of many of them. Anyone 
who has sampled only a poor mango can scarcely imagine 
that very superior ones exist. One who has tasted only 
an unripe persimmon would be likely to rate all persim- 
mons very low. A few of the fruits included might be 
considered fourth class in a well supplied metropolitan 
market, but have appreciable merit where the choice is 
more limited. Some might perhaps have been omitted, 
and others could have been added. 

The scientific names — in italics under each illustration 
in the following pages — are for the most part old and well 
established. Where recent changes have been made the 
old names are placed in parentheses below or after the new. 

The foreign or vernacular names cited at the end of 
each description will be of interest to travelers and resi- 
dents in other countries of this hemisphere. 

Almost all of the tropical and subtropical fruits 
described and illustrated in the following pages are repre- 
sented in the botanical exhibits of Chicago Natural His- 
tory Museum. 

The illustrations are from pen and ink drawings by 
Mr. Albert Frey. Some of them have appeared in a 
manual edited and printed by the Navy Medical Service 
during the last year of the second world war. The illus- 
tration of Barbados cherry on page 46 is adapted from a 
drawing in DeCandolle Herbarium, Geneva, Switzerland, 
of a Sesse" & Mocino plate or collection (F. M. neg. 30564). 


Musa paradisiaca subsp. sapientium 


The cultivated banana is doubtless the most important and most 
widely grown of all tropical fruits. It is a conspicuous example 
of a cultivated plant which has definitely lost its ability to produce 
seed and must be propagated by shoots from its underground stem. 
It was originally a native of the oriental tropics. There are two 
main types, the common banana and the dwarf Chinese or Cavendish 
banana, each with numerous varieties, especially the former. The 
variety generally grown in Central America and the West Indies for 
the U.S. market is known as Gros-Michel. 

Figue-Banane (Fr.), Banana (Sp. & P.), Cambur (Venez.), Bacove (Guianas). 

The plantain, M. paradisiaca, is a more robust plant pro- 
ducing larger fruit which requires cooking. 

Pisang (Malay), Meel Banaan (D.), Banane a cuir (Fr.), Pldlano (Sp.), 
Banana da terra, Pacova (Braz.). 


Typified by the oranges and lemons, these form a distinctive 
group of tropical and subtropical fruits. They are mostly natives 
of southeastern Asia, but were brought to the Mediterranean by the 
Arabs, and to the New World first by Columbus. 

The most important citrus fruits are the sweet orange, the sour 
or Seville orange, the lime, the citron, the lemon, the mandarin 
orange, the pummelo or shaddock with its American offspring the 
grapefruit, and the small ornamental kumquats. There are many 
varieties of all these and hybrids. Valencias and Washington navel 
oranges are the chief varieties of the sweet orange. Tangerines, 
including Satsumas, are varieties of the mandarin. Of the citrons, 
grown for their thick rind, there are varieties fingered citron and 
Etrog, the latter used by the Jews in the Feast of the Tabernacles. 

All of these have a substantial rind, dotted with oil glands. The 
pulp of the segments consists of a mass of thickened, elongate cells 
filled with fragrant juice. Rue family. 

Phoenix dactylifera 


Dates are the fruit of a feather-leaved palm of the arid region 
of southwestern Asia, especially the neighborhood of the Persian 
Gulf, and westward through Arabia, Egypt, and northern Africa. 

There are hundreds of named varieties. Some are strictly local, 
but a general distinction is made between dry and sweet dates. 
The former constitute the daily bread of the nomadic Arabs, while 
softer sweet dates are preferred by other peoples and are packed for 
export. Some of the best varieties have been introduced into this 
country and now grow well under irrigation in hot and arid parts 
of the southwest. 

Datte (Ft.), Ddtil (Sp.), Tdmara (P.), Dadel (D.). 


Mangifera indica 


A native of India and East Indies, this is the most widely planted 
of large tropical fruit trees. The numerous varieties now found in 
all warm countries differ considerably in quality as well as in color, 
size, and shape of fruit. The soft pulp of the ripe fruit is juicy, sweet, 
and aromatic, usually with a more or less distinct suggestion of 
turpentine-like flavor. A mass of fine fibers connects the pulp firmly 
to the large, hard pit; but the fruit is readily eaten out of hand after 
slitting the thick skin at the apex and peeling it back toward the 
base. Usually eaten fresh, it is also made into jam, or cooked with 
spices and pickled while green as in mango chutney. Sumac family. 

Manja (D.G.), Mangue (F.G.), Manga (P.), Mango, Manga (Sp.)- 


Ficus Carica 


The cultivated fig is a large-leaved shrub or low spreading tree 
of the eastern Mediterranean region. It is probably descended from 
the wild caprifig native in southern Arabia. Figs were known in 
ancient Egypt and have been cultivated since antiquity in Greece, 
Asia Minor, Syria, Persia and North Africa. They are grown also in 
Italy, Portugal and southern France. There are many varieties 
differing in color of fruit and in other respects. Dried figs, especially 
the well-known Smyrnas (variety Lop Ingir), remarkable for their 
size and sugar content, are an important article of export from the 
Levant. Cultivated figs are now grown in many warmer parts of the 
world where the climate is not too humid in the fruiting season. In 
the tropics of both hemispheres numerous species of wild figs bear 
edible fruit of inferior quality. Mulberry family. 

Vijg (D.), Figut (Fr.), Higo (Sp.), Figo (P.). 

Artocarpus altilis 
(A. incisa, A. commit 


Breadfruit trees were introduced in- 
to the American tropics from the Pacific 
islands. There are two kinds, those 
having fruits with and those without 
seeds The fruit of the former is prickly, and only the somewhat 
immature seeds are eaten, boiled in saltwater or roasted like chest- 
nuts. The seedless breadfruit illustrated here is eaten baked, boiled, 
or sliced and roasted, or even fried. Boiled and mashed it may be 
prepared and seasoned like macaroni. A part of the dramatic story 
of the introduction of the tree is familiar to readers of The Mutiny on 
the Bounty by Nordhoff and Hall. Mulberry family. 

Broodvrucht (D.G.), Arbre a pain (F.G.), Fruta de pan, Pan de pobre (Sp.), 
Fruta pao (Braz.). 

Artocarpus heterophylla (A. integrifolia) 


A large and handsome tree of India, long grown in the Malayan 
region, the jackfruit was introduced in the American tropics, 
especially Jamaica and Brazil. It has simple, dark green shiny 
leaves and rough or prickly compound fruits of the size of water- 
melons, which grow on short stalks directly from the stem or old 
branches. The large brown seeds are edible when roasted. The 
fleshy sweetish yellow pulp about the seeds is boiled, and is esteemed 
by those who are not deterred by its heavy musky odor. Mulberry 

Jak from the Portuguese Jaca, "Tsjaka" (Brit. Malaya), Jacca (D.), Jacque 
(F.), Jaca, Jaca da Bala (Braz.). 

Eriobotrya japonica 

This oval fruit, as large as a small plum, has a soft yellow skin, 

white to yellowish flesh, and several black seeds. It is the product of 

a tree of the rose family and has a refreshing sweet-acid flavor 

reminiscent of apples or pears. Originally from central eastern 

China, it is now grown in many warm countries. It is well known 

in the Mediterranean region, where it is called Japanese medlar. 

All parts of the tree including the fruit are covered with a white or 

gray down. Improved varieties exist. Rose family. 

Bibace, Bibace du Japon (Fr.) f Nispola del Japon (Sp.), Ameixa amarella, 
Ameixa do Japao, Nispera (P.). 

Tamarindus indica 


This is the fruit of a large leguminous tree of India, now estab- 
lished in all tropical countries. It is recognized by its delicate 
feathery foliage and curved brown pods which remain hanging for a 
long time on the tree. The smooth seeds are imbedded in a brown 
pulp of agreeable sweet-acid flavor and are said to contain more 
acid and more sugar than any other fruit. The pulp serves for the 
preparation of a refreshing drink and is used sometimes to add bulk 
and flavor to guava jelly. Bean family. 

Tamarinde (D.G.), Tamarin (F.G.), Tamarindo (Sp. & P.). 


Averrhoa Bilimbi 


This fruit of a sumach-like tree of the sorrel or Oxalis family, is a 
native of the Moluccas, but is now cultivated in many places in the 
moist tropics of both hemispheres. The dark red flowers and fruit 
grow in clusters from the trunk and the older branches. The 
gherkin-like fruits are very acid, but pleasant when candied or 
cooked with sugar as a preserve. There is said to be a form with 
sweet fruit. Wood-Sorrel family. 

Souri (Br.G.), Birambi (D.G.), Groselha China (Sp.). 


Averrhoa Carambola 


A five-winged yellow fleshy fruit of a small Indo-Chinese tree 
introduced in the West Indies and South America. The fruit is 
usually very sour and is edible only when cooked with sugar, though 
an agreeably sweet variety is said to exist. It is of botanical interest 
as one of the few large fruits of the Wood-Sorrel family. 

Five fingers (B.G.), Fransche birambi (D.G.), Carambole (Ft.), Carambola 


Lansium domesticum 


This tall-growing tropical tree of the Chinaberry, or Mahogany, 
family is restricted chiefly to the Malaysian region, Siam, and Indo- 
China. Its ovoid to globose velvety fruits of the size of pigeon's eggs, 
grow in grape-like clusters from the larger branches. The fruit has a 
thick, bitter, rather leathery, inedible skin, which encloses from one to 
three segments of a white translucent pulp, and usually only one 
seed. The pulp is juicy, subacid, aromatic, and when ripe is sweet 
and of excellent flavor. A cultivated variety named duku (Doekoe) 
has larger and more desirable fruit in small clusters. 


Phyllanthus distichus 
(Cicca disticha) 


This small tree, introduced from India or the East Indies, with 
small, apparently pinnate leaves on slender twigs at the tips of the 
branches, bears an abundance of small fruit in clusters on the stems. 
The fruits, of the size of cherries, are pale green and smooth but 
ribbed, yellow when ripe, with crisp flesh and a single seed. Even 
when fully ripe they are too acid to eat raw but excellent when cooked 
with sugar. Spurge family. 

Otaheite Gooseberry (B.W.I. ), Cerise de Vlnde (F.), Cerezo, Cerezo comun, 
Cerezo agrio, Grosella (Sp.), Groselha (Braz.). 


Spondias dulcis 


This cultivated tree is recognized by its compound leaves with 
numerous leaflets and by its fruit in mango-lfke clusters. The fruits 
are smaller than mangoes, dull yellow-orange in color, and often 
mottled with rusty brown. The firm skin encloses yellow fibrous 
pulp, juicy, acid, aromatic and somewhat resinous in taste. The 
golden apple is inferior to a good mango but is eaten fresh, or cooked 
and sweetened, or used as flavoring for sherbets and cool drinks. 

Otaheite apple (B.G.), Fransi Mope (D.G.), Pomme de Cythere (F.G.), Cajd 
manga (Braz.). 

Spondias lutea 

The Yellow Mombin grows wild in many places from the Baha- 
mas to Brazil. It is similar to the above, with much smaller, 
yellow sub-acid fruit, aromatic and of good flavor but fibrous and 
somewhat astringent. Sumac family. 

Hog-plum (B.W.I. ), Mompe, Mope (D.G.), Jobo (Sp.), Cajd, Cajd mirim, 
Taperebd (Braz.). 


Blighia sapida 


This tree of west African origin is planted in the West Indies and 
South America for its handsome foliage and showy clusters of peculiar 
fruit. The latter, about the size of large lemons, turn yellow and 
bright red as they ripen; at maturity they split lengthwise into three 
parts and display three large black seeds. Each seed projects from a 
glistening white, or ivory-colored mass of edible tissue. This "aril" 
is a good vegetable with a nutty flavor when stewed and browned in 
butter; but it must be taken at exactly the right stage, since it is 
poisonous when immature and when over-ripe. The seeds and any 
pink or purple-tinged parts near the seed should be discarded as 
dangerous; it is safest to leave the Akee alone. Soapberry family. 


Nephelium lappaceum 


This fruit of tropical Asia, closely related to the Litchi and with 
the same general characters, is usually much larger with a more 
brittle rind or shell, beset with long soft spines. The single seed, an 
inch or more in length, is covered as in the Litchi with a whitish, 
semi-transparent, juicy pulp, sweet-acid in taste and of very agree- 
able flavor. 

A very similar fruit covered with large blunt-pointed tubercles 
instead of soft spines is the Malayan Kapulasan or Palasau, called 
Bulala in the Philippines. Soapberry family. 




This is the fruit of 
a medium-sized tree 
which is native in the 
humid regions of south- 
ern China, where it has 
been grown for several 
thousand years. The trees are very often prolific, and thousands of 
tons of the dried fruit are exported for the use of Chinese living 
abroad. In the western world they are known as Chinese Litchi nuts. 
They are cultivated in places in the American subtropics. 

The ovoid or globose fruit, about an inch in diameter, is produced 
in loose bunches of about two to twenty. Its warty shell is thin and 
parchment-like, bright red on the tree, light brown when dried. The 
fleshy pulp inclosing a single seed is translucent or snow-white and 
juicy in the fresh state, with a flavor reminiscent of Tokay grapes; it 
is dark-brown when dried and then of an agreeable sweet-acid taste 
with a faint flavor of muscat. Soapberry family. 


Zizyphus Jujuba 


The jujube is the fruit of a small, thorny, slender-branched tree 
of the Buckthorn family. It has been well known in the Mediter- 
ranean region for at least 2,000 years and may have been brought 
originally from India. The fruit is smooth and ovoid, yellowish or 
reddish brown at maturity, of the size of an olive, with a thin skin 
covering a whitish or yellow sweet pulp and a hard oblong kernel 
containing two seeds. It is esteemed as a dessert fruit and eaten 
fresh, dried, or boiled in sugar. 

The jujube is native in southern Asia and is an important fruit 
in China. Superior Chinese varieties, found by the plant explorer 
Meyer, have been introduced into the United States for cultivation 
in the Southwestern states. Related wild species producing edible 
fruit are the Lotus of Libya, the Joazeiro of the arid northeast of 
Brazil/and the Chichiboa and Cana of Venezuela. Buckthorn family. 

Olijf, Bedera (D.), Jujube (Ft.), Azufaifa (Sp.), Jujuba (P.). 


Durio zibelhinus 


This fruit tree of the Indian archipelago is commonly planted in 
the East Indies for its large globose pendulous fruits. These weigh 
from five to six pounds and are famous for their combination of deli- 
cious flavor and disagreeable odor of decayed onions. The fruit has a 
thick fibrous rind beset with coarse pyramidal spines. Internally it 
is 4-celled, with from two to six large seeds in each division, covered 
with a whitish, buttery, and aromatic flesh or pulp which is the 
edible part of the fruit. Silk-cotton family. 


Pillenia indica 


This ornamental tree of tropical Asia is cultivated in India, 
Ceylon, and the Malay region for its thick foliage, large white 
flowers, and remarkable fruits. After flowering the petals drop, 
while the persistent calyx again closes and grows to form a thick 
protective covering for the developing fruit, till at maturity the whole 
reaches the dimensions of a small or medium-sized grapefruit. The 
bulk of it then consists of the thick fibrous calyx within which the 
true fruit surrounded by brown stamens appears like a pale green 
tomato surmounted by the persistent many-rayed stigma. The fruit 
is aromatic but very acid and requires cooking. Dillenia family. 

Wampara (Ceylon), Simpor (Java). 


larcinia Mangostana 


The mangosteen has long had the reputation of being the most 
delicious of tropical fruits. It is produced by a small tree, rarely 
over thirty feet high, native in the Malay Peninsula and cultivated 
in the warm and humid parts of the Old World tropics. The flowers 
are about the size of a wild rose and dull red in color. The rind of the 
fruit is thick and tough, dark red to dark purplish outside and pale 
violet within, and contains a bitter yellow juice. The edible part is 
the snow-white juicy pulp (aril) of exquisite flavor surrounding the 
four to six seeds. 

Attempts to establish this tree in the American tropics have met 
with but scant success. Gamboge family. 


Punica granalum 


This fruit grows wild in eastern Asia and in places forms veritable 
woods with wild apples and pears. It was well known to the ancient 
Egyptians and was naturalized throughout the eastern Mediter- 
ranean region as well as eastward to China and southward to Zanzi- 
bar and India. The trees are usually shrublike, with slender branches, 
small crowded leaves, and showy flowers. The fruit has a tough, 
leathery rind and very many seeds in four two-storied compartments. 
Each seed is covered by juicy red pulp (aril), which is the edible 
portion of the fruit. Pomegranate family. 

Granaatappel (D.), Grenade (Fr.), Granada (Sp.), Roma (Port.) from Ruman 


Syzygium Jambos 
(Eugenia Jambos) 


A small garden tree introduced from Indo-China or Java and 
grown for the sake of its rose-flavored fruits, one to two inches in 
diameter, usually whitish or ivory-colored with crisp thin flesh and 
generally hollow with a single large spherical seed, or sometimes two 
or three, within the seed cavity. It may be eaten fresh, and makes a 
rose-flavored preserve. Myrtle family. 

Pommero8e (D.), Pomme-rose, Jamrose (Fr.), Pomarosa, Pomarrosa (Sp.) f 
Jambo cheiroso (P.). 


Syzygium malaccensis 
{Eugenia malaccensis) 


This Malayan tree has been introduced into the Hawaiian 
Islands, Dutch Guiana, and Brazil, where it drops most of its leaves 
at flowering time. The bark of the trunk and naked branches then 
becomes covered with clusters of bright red, many-stamened flowers 
that last but a short time, then cover the ground under the trees 
with a rose-colored litter of fallen petals. In season the pear- 
shaped fruits are conspicuous in tropical markets. They are white 
or rose-colored, with somewhat dry and insipid white flesh of rose 
odor. The fruit may be eaten fresh, but it is used chiefly for desserts 
and jellies. Myrtle family. 

Pommerak (D.G.), Jambo, Jambo rouge (Fr.G.) 
Pomagds (Venez.), Jambo de Malacca (Brazil). 


Pommarrosa de Malacca, 

Syzygium javanica 
(Eugenia javanica) 


This is a small ornamental Malayan tree producing clusters of 
pretty rose-pink or purplish-white waxy-looking pear-shaped fruit. 
The pulp is pleasantly sour-sweet but is usually too fluffy or pithy 
to be agreeable if eaten fresh. Myrtle family. 

Jambosa, Wax jambo (B.E.I. ), Macopa (Philipp.). 

The Water Rose-apple (S. aquea) is a smaller tree producing 
similar but smaller fruit, white or pinkish red, easily distinguished 
from the above by its constricted stem and expanded apex. 

Jambo ayer (F.), Pommerak (D.G.). 


Syzygium Cuminii 
(Eugenia Cuminii) 


This is a medium sized to large tree of Java, introduced into 
many near and remote places, including some in the Western 
hemisphere. Its plum-like fruits are produced in clusters from the 
wood of the whitish branches. The fruit is variable in size and shape 
and ranges in color from a purplish red to deep blackish violet. It 
has a thin skin, juicy, acid, slightly tinted flesh, enclosing an oblong 
seed. Superior varieties yield fruit of agreeable flavor. Myrtle 

Black plum (B.W.I.), Jambolan, Jamelong, Jamblang, etc. 


Dio8pyros Kaki 


Closely related to our American wild persimmon, the so-called 
Japanese persimmon, or Kaki, is a subtropical tree of Chinese origin 
that has been cultivated for several hundred years in Japan. In the 
East Indies the fruit is known as Chinese plum; when dried it is 
called Chinese fig. There are hundreds of varieties, some of which 
produce seedless fruit. Some of the best varieties have been intro- 
duced into the United States where the fruit for the most part is 
still considered exotic. Until perfectly ripened for some time after 
picking the persimmon fruit is apt to be very astringent. The black 
sapote of Mexico is a related species with blackish sweet pulp. The 
persimmons belong to the Ebony family. 

Kaki plum, Kaki fig, Keg fig, Chinese date plum. 


Carissa grandiflora 


A subtropical spiny shrub or small tree with green stems, glossy 
foliage, and jasmine-scented white flowers. The oval or elliptical 
fruits, one and a half to two inches long, are smooth and thin-skinned 
when ripe, with few small seeds and sweet, juicy, pink flesh of cran- 
berry-like flavor. 

Introduced into the United States about forty years ago, it is 
now grown freely in southern Florida. With its long sharp-pointed 
spines it makes an effective hedge plant. Oleander family. 



Ananas comosus 
(A. sativus) 

? l(tl(rr.-"/S 

'//f///i . . ■ </''■ '// , 


The pineapple is a native of tropical America. It is now one of 
the most important of tropical fruits and is grown in many warm 
parts of the world. Botanically it belongs to an exclusively American 
family of plants consisting chiefly of air plants. The pineapple pro- 
duces a basal rosette of long, stiff, usually spiny leaves and a leafy 
stalk bearing an oblong head of flowers. On maturation the central 
axis, individual flowerstalks and fruits fuse into one mass, sweet 
and juicy and of large size in cultivated varieties. Bromelia family. 

Ananas (D.), Ananas (Fr.), Pifla (Sp.), Anands (P.), Abacaxi (Braz.). 


Persea americana 


This is one of the best and most important of fruits native in the 
American tropics from Mexico and the West Indian Islands to 
northern South America. Several distinct types, Mexican, Guate- 
malan, and West Indian, and many named varieties are cultivated. 
These differ in shape of fruit, which may be globose, ovoid, or pear- 
shaped, and in thickness and texture of skin. All have large globose 
seeds and smooth light-greenish to cream-colored pulp that becomes 
soft, bland, buttery and palatable when perfectly ripe. The avocado 
is an excellent salad fruit. Mashed and sweetened, the pulp is com- 
monly used in Brazil for a frozen "creme de abacate." Laurel 

Avocado pear, Alligator pear (B.W.I. ), Advocaat (D.), Avocat (F.), Aguacate 
(Sp.), Abacate (Braz.), Palta (Peru). 


Carica Papaya 


This large, tree-like but soft-stemmed plant, generally un- 
branched, bears a top of palmately lobed, much cut leaves on long 
leaf-stalks. Where these join the trunk the flowers and melon-like 
fruits are produced, typically one in each leaf-axil, the oldest and 
ripest below. The male flowers are in long clusters on separate 
plants. The fruit, green to orange-yellow, sweet and juicy, is excel- 
lent for dessert. It is very common in the tropics and is appreciated 
for its digestive and laxative properties. It is the source of "papain." 
The young leaves and flowers of the male plants may be cooked as 
"greens." In Dutch Guiana the green fruits, shredded and fer- 
mented, serve for the preparation of a sourkraut, "Papaja-zuurkool." 
Papaya family. 

Pawpaw (B.W.I. ), Papaja (D.), Papaye (F.), Papaya (Sp. from Carib 
"ababaya"), Fruta bomba (Cuba), Mamdo (Brazil). 


t, • '<h 

Euterpe oleracea 


This tall, very slender-stemmed palm usually grows in small 
clumps on low wet ground in the Guianas and the northern part of 
Brazil. Its flowers and fruit are borne in clusters immediately below 
a rather small crown of feathery leaves. The small spherical fruits 
are of the size and color of high bush blueberries when ripe. They 
contain a single round seed of the size of a large cherry stone. The 
soft purplish pulp and fiber are loosened from the pits by mashing or 
kneading in water. The result, after straining, is a thick liquid like 
blueberry mash, known in Brazil as "assai" or "assahy," and famous 
especially in Para where assahy thickened with farinha provides 
many a cheap and simple meal. 

Manicole (B.G.), Pina-palm, Paraprasa (D.G.), Pinot (F.G.), Palmiche 
(Venez.), Assai, Assahy (Braz.). 


Guilielma Gasipaes 


This tall palm, with spiny foliage and a light-gray stem banded 
with black spines, produces moderate-sized clusters of peach-colored 
fruits as big as large plums or nectarines; each contains a sizeable 
one-seeded pit. The flesh of the fruit is starchy and when boiled 
becomes excellent food with a somewhat nutty flavor. The bunches 
of fruit are seldom seen in the market except in early morning, when 
the few occasionally offered are quickly purchased. 

Amana (D.G.), Parepou (F.G.), Macanilla, Pejibaye (Sp.), Popunha (Braz.). 


Monstera deliciosa 


This is a luxuriant climbing aroid of Mexico and Central Amer- 
ica, commonly planted in greenhouses and in most tropical countries 
for the ornamental appearance of its large incised and perforated 
leaves. Its cone-like fruits, eight to ten inches long, appear in the 
axils of the leaves. They are edible when ripe and have then a 
pleasant pineapple-like flavor; but until perfectly mature they con- 
tain minute spine-like crystals of oxalate which may cause very 
unpleasant irritation of the throat. Aroid family. 

The name is of undetermined origin but appears to be derived from cermana, 
a sweet variety of pear in the Iberian peninsula. 


Annona reticulata 


This is the excellent and substantial fruit of a small tree native in 
the West Indies, Mexico, and northern South America. The name 
"Bullock's heart" is suggestive of the shape and general appearance. 
When the fruit is very ripe and the skin has begun to discolor or 
blacken, its white or cream-colored flesh becomes sweet, aromatic, 
soft, and ice-cream-like when chilled, so that it may be eaten with a 
spoon. It has numerous large brown seeds. In Cuba this fruit, 
"mamon," is commonly misnamed "chirimoya," which is unfair to 
the latter. A hybrid of the two has, however, been produced and 
is called "atemoya." Annona family. 

Bullock's heart (B.W.I.), Kasjoema (D.), Cachiman, Corossol coeur de boeuf 
(Fr.), Mamon, corazbn (Sp.), Coracdo de boi (Braz.). 




Annona Cherimola 


This is the fruit of a rather small tree of the custard apple family, 
native in the cool but frost-free mountain valleys of Peru, and now 
grown in many places, but nowhere on a large scale. In many 
respects the fruit resembles that of the soursop, but is smoother 
and of a less cottony and more creamy consistency when ripe, with 
fewer seeds. Like the soursop it attains sometimes a large size, weigh- 
ing 4 to 8 and even 14 to 16 pounds. It is doubtless the best of the 
many fruits of its genus. It was cultivated by the ancient Peruvians 
and the name is of Quichua origin. The cherimoyas of Huanuco 
are famous in Peru. Annona family. 

Chirimoya (Venez.). 


Annona squamosa 


This small tree with simple oblong leaves has fruits shaped 
roughly like large blunt pine-cones with thick, gray-green or yellow 
scales. The fruit is easily split or broken when ripe, and is seen to 
have numerous dark brown glossy seeds imbedded in the cream- 
colored, very sweet pulp. It is always eaten fresh. The tree is 
native from southern Florida throughout the Caribbean region, and 
common in northern and eastern South America, also in many places 
in the Old World tropics where it has been introduced. Annona 

Sugar-apple (B.W.I.), Kaneelappel, Boe anona (D.), Pomme candle (Fr.), 
Anon (Sp.), Ata, Pinha, Frula de conde (Braz.). 


Annona muricata 


This large West Indian fruit of characteristic spiny appearance is 
widely planted in the tropics. It is edible only when thoroughly 
ripe and the skin begins to blacken. When the large rough fruit, 
which may attain a weight of 8 to 10 pounds, becomes soft and 
juicy, it is easily split. The very white, somewhat cottony pulp then 
is seen to consist of many equal divisions, each with a large brown 
seed. Transferred to a pitcher the aromatic pulp of a ripe soursop 
readily parts with its juice, yielding an excellent lemonade-like 
beverage. Annona family. 

Zuurzak (D.), Corossol epinaux (Fr.), Guandbana (Sp.), Graviola, Jaca de 
Para (Braz.). 


Rollinia pulchrinervia 


This Brazilian fruit is related to the sugar apple and soursop and 
bears evident resemblance to the latter, but is usually paler green 
or yellowish and has thicker soft projections. It is produced by a 
large tree, native of the lower Amazon region, where it is said to have 
been brought into cultivation by the Indians. It is now widely 
planted in Brazil and is one of the best among fruits of its kind. 
There are many related wild fruits in Brazil, some of them more or 
less edible, generally known as Araticum. Annona family. 

Biribd, Fruta de condessa (Braz.). 


ChrysobaUnus Icaco 


This glossy-leaved small shrub grows on sandy seashores from 
southern Florida and the West Indies to Brazil. The fruit is about 
the size of a plum, dark red to purplish in color and often wrinkled 
when ripe, with a large pit. The sparse white pulp is somewhat 
cottony in texture and subacid in taste. The fruit is insipid or apt 
to be astringent and is generally not much esteemed though it 
is sought by children. It makes an excellent conserve. 

The coco plum is of botanical interest as a North American 
representative of a group of tropical trees of the rose family, several 
of which bear large plum-like edible fruits; see Oiti. Rose family. 

Cocco Plum, Fat Pork (B.W.I.), Game pruim, Icaco pruim, Katoen pruim 
(D.W.I.), Pruine d'anse, Prune-coton, Prune icaque (F.W.I.), Icaco, Hicaco (Sp.), 
Guajeru (Braz.). 


Licania Salzmannii 


Several Central and South American fruits of good size, but 
mostly of little value, are produced by large trees related to our 
plums. They all have a large rough pit with firmly adherent flesh, 
relatively small in quantity, covered with a thick skin. The fruit 
illustrated here is from northeastern Brazil. Rose family. 



Inga ingoides 
I. nobilis 

These are trees of the Bean family with flowers in small white or 
pink tassels, and the once-pinnate leaf usually with a winged midrib. 

There are numerous kinds growing wild in the woods of Central 
America, the Guianas, and northern Brazil. Some species are 
planted for shade on coffee plantations. Several species have pods 
of considerable size, with the seeds enveloped in a frothy, sometimes 
cottony mass of glistening white pulp that is edible, sweet, and of 
agreeable flavor. Inga pods are often found for sale under a variety 
of local names in the markets of the American tropics. Bean family. 

Monkey Tamarind (B.W.I.), Waikee (B.G.), Sweetie Boonkie, Suiker-erwten 
(D.G.), Pois sucre (F.G.), Guabd, Guamo de P.R. (Cuba), Guamo (Venez.), Inga 



This is the fruit of a medium-sized spreading tree with pale bark 
and palmate leaves, common in the highlands of Mexico and Central 
America and planted there and throughout the Caribbean regions. 
The yellow-green fruit, of about the size of a small orange, has a 
thin skin, and a bright. yellow soft juicy pulp of pleasant taste, 
which encloses three to five large seeds. In places the fruit has the 
reputation of being injurious to health, and it is therefore called 
matasano. It grows well in southern and middle Florida. Rue 


Malpighia punicifolia 
var. emarginata 


This is a shrub or small tree with simple thin shiny leaves in pairs 
and small delicate clusters of white or pinkish flowers. The fruit is 
cherry-like but three-lobed, with three parchment-like one-seeded 
pits. It is thin-skinned, juicy and edible, pleasantly aromatic but 
acid in its natural state but improved by cooking with sugar. It is 
used also to prepare a lemonade-like drink. Malpighia family. 

Geribde kers, Montje-Montje kers, Switie kersie (D.), Cerise des Antilles, Cerise 
carree, Lucee (Fr.), Semeruco, Cereza, Cereza de Jamaica (Sp.), Cereja do 
Para (Braz.). 


Anacardium Occident ale 


This low or medium sized tree abounds in wild state in many parts 
of Brazil and is planted in many other tropical countries. The fruit 
is peculiar. Its soft edible part is greatly thickened and pear-shaped, 
pulpy and red or yellow when ripe. This bears at its tip a hard green 
kidney-shaped nut, smooth, shiny, green or brown according to its 
stage of maturity. The nut encloses one seed, the cashew nut of 
commerce, which becomes edible when roasted. Its green hull 
contains resinous irritant poison that will blister lips and tongue like 
poison ivy. This poison is destroyed by heat when the nuts are 
roasted. The pear-shaped fruit is juicy, sweet-acid, and astringent. 
It is eaten fresh or made into a preserve. Sumac family. 

Cajo (D.), Cajou, Acajou (F.), Maraflon (Sp.), Caju (P.). 


Spondias purpurea 


This small deciduous fruit tree, native of Mexico, is common 
there and in Central America. Its compound leaves have generally 
nine leaflets. The reddish flowers and the fruit are borne in small 
clusters on the stem or branches below the leaves. The fruits are 
plum-like or egg-shaped, variable in size, an inch or two in length, 
often yellow, orange-red, or purplish. They are one-seeded with 
thin flesh, and are edible fresh or when stewed and sweetened. They 
may also be dried after boiling and are said to keep for some months. 
Sumac family. 

Spanish Plum, Jamaica Plum (B.W.I. ), Mombin rouge, Prune rouge 
(F.W.I. ), Ciruela roja, Ciruela de hueso (Sp.), Jocote (Mex.), Cajd vermelha 


Melicocca bijuga 


This tall tree, native of northern South America, produces cat- 
kins of small greenish flowers and bears fruit the size of plums. The 
fruits are green with leathery skin. The soft white-yellowish or 
salmon-colored pulp is gelatinous and pleasantly sweet-acid though 
somewhat astringent. The large single seeds are edible when roasted 
like chestnuts. Soapberry family. 

Spanish lime (B.W.I.), Honey-berry, Marmalade-box, Maca (B.G.), Knippa, 
Sensiboom (D.G.), Kenep, Queneit (F.G.), Mamon, Mamoncillo (Venez.). 


Theobroma grandiflorum 


This Amazonian relative of the cacao bears its flowers and pods 
on the leafy branches instead of on the trunk. The large pods are of 
dark brown color and are more woody than cacao pods. They con- 
tain a mass of large seeds, similar to cacao beans for which they are a 
good substitute. The fresh seeds are enveloped, as in the cacao, 
by a whitish gelatinous sweet-acid pulp which makes an agreeable 
flavoring for ice cream and sherbets and may be made into a jelly 
of pleasant flavor. Cacao family. 


Caryocar, several species 


These are large forest trees of the humid 
parts of the Guianas and northern Brazil with 
characteristic foliage and large globose gray- 
green fruits each containing one, two, or three 
large seeds. The yellow flesh is smooth and 
buttery when cooked; it is eaten as a 
vegetable for its flavor with fish or meat. The 
seeds, "butter-nuts," have hard shells. Those 
of the delicious Souari nut of Guiana are 
woody and smoothly warty, while those of several Brazilian species 
(Piquia) are smooth when unbroken but composed of dangerously 
sharp spicules which must be avoided with extreme care. Souari-nut 

Butter-nut, Pekea (B.G.), Butterboom, Sawari root (D.), Arbre a beurre, 
Chaouari (F.), Piquid, Amendoas de Brasil, Amrndoas de Chachapoyas (Braz.). 


Mammea americana 


This compact, erect, tall-growing tree with dense, dark green, 
glossy foliage is common in door-yards in many places in the West 
Indies and northern South America. Its flowers and large globose 
brown fruits, four to five inches in diameter, are borne directly on the 
branches. The skin of the fruit is thick and rough, grayish-brown 
or russet in color; the sweet pulp is dense and firm, of a dark peach- 
color or reddish brown, and encloses usually one to four large rough 
seeds. This fruit is generally cut up and stewed with sugar. Gam- 
boge family. 

Mammee apple (B.W.I. ), Mammi (D.G.), Mammey, Abricot d'Amerique 
(Fr.), Mamey (Sp.), Mamey de Santo Domingo (Cuba), Abrico do Para (Braz.). 


Platonia imignis 


This large tree of the humid forests of the Guianas and of 
northern Brazil has thick shiny leaves, large white flowers, and large 
yellow fruits with very thick rind of disagreeable taste. The few 
seeds are imbedded in a translucent white pulp which is pleasantly 
scented and of very agreeable sweet-acid flavor. It serves to flavor 
ices or ice cream, or is*made into a distinctive sub-acid and spicy 
jelly or marmalade. The tree is an American relative of the mango- 
steen. A similar but much smaller fruit (Rheedia) is called Bacupary 
in Brazil and Madrono in Venezuela. Gamboge family. 

Pakouri, Maniballi (B.G.), Packoeri (D.G.), Pacouri (F.G.), Bacuri or 
Bacury, Pacuri (Braz.). 


Passiflora quadrangularis 


This large passion-flower vine, native of tropical America, is 
grown for its ornamental flowers and for its fruit, which is the largest 
of its genus but of less distinctive flavor than those of smaller species. 
The word granadilla is of Spanish origin and means "little pome- 
granate," the name probably having been applied first to one of the 
smaller species. The resemblance to the pomegranate consists in 
the numerous seeds, each of which is covered with edible pulp. 
Passion-flower family. 

Groote markoesa (D.G.), Barbadine (Fr.), Granadilla (Sp.), Parcha granadina 
(Venez.), Maracujd-assu, Maracujd mamao (Braz.). 


The passion-flower vines are 
climbers with large fringed blos- 
soms and globose or egg-shaped 
fruits, often the size of lemons, or 
larger. The pulp (aril) enveloping 
each seed is highly juicy, sweet-acid, and aromatic and is excellent 
flavoring for drinks and ices. 

Besides the purplish fruited species with the shell-like rind and 
lobed leaves figured here, there are several common species with 
yellow fruits and entire leaves, e.g., the water-lemon or bell-apple 
(P. laurifolia) in the West Indies, and the sweet granadilla (P. 
ligularis), "granadita" in Mexico and Central America, etc. Pas- 
sion-flower family. 

Simitoo (B.G.), Eiervrncht, Markoesa, Lian appel (D.), Pomme liane (Ft.), 
Granadilla (Sp.), Parcha (Venez.), Maracujd (Braz.). 


Opuntia Tuna and other species 
Cereus, several species 


The spiny cacti of all types — flat-jointed, climbing, erect and 
post-like, candelabrum-branched, and tree-like — all produce large 
attractive flowers which develop edible fruits, generally yellow 
or red in color and usually conspicuous. They furnish food of agree- 
able taste but may be dotted with cushions of minute spines which 
must be thoroughly removed. A superabundance of seeds detracts 
from the edibility of various species. Cactus family. 

Figue d'Inde, Figue de Barbarie (Ft.), Indische vijg, Distelpeer (D.), Cardon, 
Tuna cardona, Tuna mansa, Pitaya, Duraznillo, Nopal Camuesa (Sp.), Figo da 
India, Fruta de bobo (P.). 


Pereskia aculeata 


This is a climbing or trailing shrub or small tree of the cactus 
family, with spiny stems, smooth glossy thick leaves, white flowers 
in clusters, and juicy, globular fruit. 

The fruits are rarely much more than one inch in diameter and are 
remarkable because they bear leaves. These, however, drop off as 
the fruits ripen and turn yellow. To be palatable the acid fruit 
must be cooked with sugar. Cactus family. 

Sweet Mary, Bladappel (D.), Groseille de Barbados (Fr.), Grosella de la Florida 
(Cuba), Guamacho (Venez.), Quiabento, Ora pronobis (Braz.). 


Psidium Guajava 


This small fruit tree of Brazil, cultivated and run wild as a shrub 
in many tropical and subtropical countries, is easily recognized by 
its smooth and pale flaky bark and regularly alternating pairs of 
opposite leaves on green, square terminal twigs. The fruits, often 
hidden by the foliage, are usually roughly egg-shaped and soft when 
ripe, with thick greenish yellow skin, strongly aromatic flesh, and 
numerous small seeds. The fruit is eaten fresh by those who 
do not object to the musky odor, which disappears in cooking. It is 
commonly made into a preserve, jelly, or paste, a standard dessert 
in the American tropics. Myrtle family. 

Gujave (D.), Goyave (Fr.), Guayaba (Sp.), Goiaba (P.). 



Psidium Cattleyanum 


This smooth and glossy-leaved guava is wild near the coast in 
Brazil and widely planted there and in many other warm countries. 
Its smooth globose or pear-shaped fruits are pale yellow to purple 
when ripe. The pulp may be white but is often decidedly reddish 
and has a strawberry-like flavor, whence the name Strawberry 
Guava. The large lemon-colored fruits with white pulp are preferred 
to those of the ordinary guava. 

Strawberry guava (B.W.I.), Goyave fraise (Fr.G.), Guayaba peruana (Venez.), 
Guayabita fresa (Cuba), Guayaba de China (Mex.), Aracd coroa, Aracd de praia 


In poor ground along the coast of northeastern South America 
there are other wild guavas, some with fruits no larger than a goose- 
berry. One of the best is that represented to the left above (Psidium 
guineense), from the savannas of the Guianas and northeastern states 
of Brazil. Myrtle family. 

Wild guava (B.G.), Wilde guave (D.G.), Guayaba sabanera (Venez.), 
Aracd de campo, Aracahy (Braz.). 


Eugenia uniflora 


This shrub with slender branches and small simple leaves is 
sometimes grown as a hedge plant but more often for its excellent 
fruit, characteristically ribbed and orange to dark red or almost 
black in color when ripe. The soft juicy sweet-acid pulp is pleasant 
in flavor, though with a faint suggestion of turpentine. It encloses a 
relatively large pit, usually consisting of several seeds, slightly ribbed 
or irregular in shape. The fruit is eaten fresh, or cooked as jam or 
preserve. There are several kinds of wild pitangas on the coast of 
Brazil. Myrtle family. 

Cerise de Cayenne, Cerise du pays, Cerise carree (F.G.), Zoete 
Surinaamsche kersh (D.G.), Cereza de Cayena (Sp.), Pitanga (Braz.). 



Myrciaria, several species 


This distinctly Brazilian fruit is produced by a small tree native 
and cultivated in the Atlantic tier of states from Rio and Sao Paulo 
northward. The small delicate white flowers and the grape-like 
round fruits, dark red to purplish in color, grow on short stalks from 
the thin smooth bark of the stem and branches. The fruit, about 
the size of marbles or larger, seldom over an inch in diameter, is 
glossy, rather thin-skinned, and surprisingly juicy, with a large 
round "pit" of one or more seeds. Its agreeable wine-like flavor is 
irresistible to small boys and a proverbial cause of their stomach- 
aches. Myrtle family. 


Manilkara Zapotilla 
(Achras Zapota) 


This is one of the very commonest of tropical American fruits, 
originally from the Yucatan region, where the wild trees are tapped 
for their white sap which gives chicle for chewing-gum. Cultivated 
fruits vary greatly in size and shape. They have a grayish or rusty 
brown slightly rough skin, a very sweet brown granular juicy pulp, 
and three to six glossy brown seeds radially placed in the pulp. 
Sapodillas are eaten fresh only. Sapodilla family. 

Dilly, Nasberry, Bully tree (B.W.I.), Chico (Guat.), Sapotille (D.G.), 
Sapotille (F.G.), Nispero (Sp.), Sapoti (Braz.). 



This smooth green and 
yellowish fruit is of the size 
of a well rounded apple or 
tomato, sometimes oblong 
or pointed; it is soft-skinned, 
with a white or cream-colored gelatinous pulp enclosing two 
or three large shiny black seeds. It is produced by a medium 
sized forest tree of northern South America on the eastern slopes of 
the Andes from Venezuela to Peru. In the latter country it is highly 
esteemed, and is said to have been cultivated by the aborigines. In 
the upper Amazon the tree is well known for its heavy, dense wood. 
It is grown as a fruit tree in the State of Para and in the eastern part 
of Brazil, and is called Abiu. The fruits of the cultivated tree are 
somewhat variable in shape and quality; the best of them are 
esteemed for their sweetness and aroma, and prized as flavoring for 
ice cream and sherbets. Sapodilla family. 

Caimito (Venez.), AM, Abiu (Braz.), Lucuma, Lucma (Peru). 


Chrysophyllum Cainito 


This is the fruit of a tropical American tree related to the Sapo- 
dilla, native of the Caribbean region. The tree is readily recognized 
by its glossy leaves, which are intensely green and smooth on the 
upper surface, golden-brown and satiny on the lower surface. The 
fruit, as large as an average apple, is green or dark purplish with a 
thick smooth skin. It contains six to ten dark brown seeds radially 
arranged in the star-shaped gelatinous semi-translucent pulp. This 
pulp, the edible part of the fruit, is vinous, sub-acid, and of good 
flavor. When cut, the rind, like other parts of the tree, exudes a 
white sticky juice or latex. The fruit is eaten fresh only. Sapodilla 

Apra, Sterappel, Goudblad boom (D.G.), Cainite (F.G.), Caimito (Sp. & P.). 


Calocarpum mammosum 
(C. Sapota) 



This is a Central American tree cultivated throughout the Carib- 
bean region. The leaves, somewhat resembling those of the loquat 
but larger, are clustered at the tips of the branches. The large fruit 
has some resemblance to the Mammee and is known in some places 
as Mamey sapote. It is usually three to six inches long and oval in 
outline, russet or brown in color, and has a rough skin, an abundance 
of firm sweet reddish flesh of a somewhat spicy flavor. The single 
large seed has a characteristic appearance, being smooth and glossy 
but with a well defined rough segment. It has the scent of bitter 
almonds and is used for flavoring purposes. The fruit is made into a 
conserve or eaten fresh with sugar. It is much esteemed as an 
ingredient of fruit-salad. Sapodilla family. 

Mamey sapote (B.W.I. ), Mamey Colorado (Cuba), Zapote (Mex. to Venez.), 
Mamey (Panama). 


Hancornia speciosa 


This is a shrub or small tree with several stems, slender willowy 
branches, small paired leaves, and jasmin-like flowers. It is remark- 
able for its sticky latex, which produces rubber of good quality. The 
fruits are the size of large olives, egg-shaped and smooth, with white 
flesh and many small seeds. They are spotted or streaked with dark 
red at maturity, when they fall at a touch. The fruit should be eaten 
only when perfectly ripe; it is often kept a day after picking, since 
the immature fruit is considered to be poisonous. This is one of the 
most delicious and pleasantly scented of wild fruits. Oleander 



This is a third or fourth rate fruit tree 
common throughout the West Indies and 
northeastern South America. Its dark green 
foliage is deciduous, and the bare thick 
branches display the crop of brown fruit. 
These are about the size of small oranges and edible only when 
over-ripe and soft. The brown pulp, with many seeds, has then a 
taste of sweet dried or fermenting apples and an aromatic odor 
objectionable to most persons. The fruit is improved in flavor when 
cooked with sugar. Fermented, it yields a pungent liqueur, esteemed 
in the backwoods country of Brazil. The unripe fruits yield an 
inky dye used by the South American Indians for body paint. 
Madder family. 

Lana (B.G.), Tapoeripa (D.G.), Jagua (Cuba), Caruto (Venez.), Genipapo 



Bois, D. 

Les plantes alimentaires chez tous les peuples et a travers les 
ages: histoire, utilisation, culture. Vol. 2. Phanerogames 
fruitiers. Paris. 1928. 


A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. 
2 vols. London. 1935. 

Cook, O. F., and Collins, G. N. 

Economic plants of Porto Rico. Contributions of the U. S. National 
Herbarium, vol. 8, pp. 57-269. Washington. 1903. 


Diccionario das plantas uteis do Brasil e das exoticas cultivadas. 
2 vols. Rio de Janeiro. 1926-31. 

Dahlgren, B. E., and Standley, Paul C. 

Edible and poisonous plants of the Caribbean region. Washington. 
- Gov't. Printing Office. 1944. Navmed. 127. 

DeCandolle, Alphonse 

Origin of cultivated plants. New York. 1885. 

Eisen, Gustav 

The fig: its history, culture, and curing. With a descriptive 
catalogue of the known varieties of figs. Bulletin of the U. S. 
Department of Agriculture, Division of Pomology, No. 9. 
Washington. 1901. 

Fawcett, William 

Economic plants. An index to economic products of the vegetable 
kingdom in Jamaica. Kingston. 1891. 

Greshoff, M. 

Die nuttige planten van Fransch Guyana in verband met Suriname 
beschouwd. Buletin van het Kolonial Museum te Harlem. 
No. 25. 

Heyne, K. 

De nuttige planten van Nederlandsch-Indie; tevens synthetische 
catalogus der versamelingen van het Museum voor Economische 
Botanie te Buitenzorg. pts. 1-4. Batavia. 1913-17. 

LeCointe, Paul 

Arvores e plantas uteis (indigenas e acclimadas). Nomes vernaculos 
e nomes vulgares, classificacao botanica, habitat, principaes 
applicacoes e propriedades. A Amazonia Brasileira III. Belem- 
Para. 1934. 


Mowry, Harold, and Toy, L. R. 

Miscellaneous tropical and sub-tropical Florida fruits. University 
of Florida, Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin, No. 223. 
Gainesville. 1931. 

Roig y Mesa, Uan Thomas 

Diccionario Botanico de nombres vulgares cubanos. Estacion 
Experimental Agroftomica, Santiago de Las Vegas, Boletin 
No. 54. Habana. 1928. 


Fruits and fruit culture in the Dutch East Indies. Batavia. 1931. 

Pittier, Henri 
Ensayo sobre las plantas usuales de Costa Rica. Washington. 

Pittier, Henri 

Manual de las plantas usuales de Venezuela. Caracas. 1926. 
Supplemento. Caracas. 1939. » 

Popenoe, Wilson 

Manual of the tropical and subtropical fruits, excluding the banana, 
coconut, pineapple, citrus fruits, olive and fig. New York. 1920. 

Solms-Laubach, Hermann, Graf zu 

Die Herkunft, Domestication und Verbreitung des gewohnlichen 
Feigenbaums (Ficus carica L.). Gottingen. 1882. 

Stahel, Gerold 

De nuttige planten van Suriname. Department Landbouwproef- 
station in Suriname, Bulletin No. 57. Paramaribo. 1942. 

Sturrock, David 

Tropical fruits for southern Florida and Cuba and their uses. 
Publications of the Atkins Institution of the Arnold Arboretum 
of Harvard Univ. Jamaica Plain, Mass. 1940. 

Swingle, Walter T. 

The date palm and its utilization in the southwestern states. 
U. S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry, 
Bulletin No. 53. Washington. 1904. 

The present status of date culture in the southwestern states. 

U. S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry, 

Circular No. 129-A. Washington. 1913. 
The botany of Citrus and its wild relatives of the orange subfamily. 

In Webber and Batchelor. 1943. 

United States Department of Agriculture, 
Bureau of Plant Industry 
Inventory of foreign seeds and plants imported by the Office of 
Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction. Nos. 1-113. Washington. 
1898-1934. (Nos. 1-8 were issued by the Division of Botany; 
Nos. 9-30 were issued as Bulletins of the Bureau of Plant 


Webber, Herbert J., and Batchelor, Leon D. 

The citrus industry. Vol. 1. History, botany, and breeding. 
Berkeley. 1943. 

Williams, R. O. and R. O., Jr. 

The useful and ornamental plants of Trinidad and Tobago. Revised 
3rd ed. Trinidad & Tobago. 1941. 

United Fruit Company, Educational Department 
About Bananas, pp. 21. Boston. 1931. 




Achras Zapota 62 

Akee 15 

Anacardium occidentale 47 

Ananas comosus 31 

sativus 31 

Annona Cherimola 38 

muricata 40 

reticulata 37 

squamosa 39 

Artocarpus altilis 6 

communis 6 

heterophylla 7 

incisa 6 

integrifolia 7 

Assai 34 

Averrhoa Bilimbi 10 

Carambola 11 

Avocado 32 

Bacurf 53 

Bananas 1 

Barbados cherry 46 

" gooseberry 57 

Bell-apple 55 

Bilimbi 10 

Biriba 41 

Blighia sapida 15 

Breadfruit 6 

Calocarpum mammosum 65 

Sapota 65 

Carambola 11 

Carica Papaya 33 

Carissa grandiflora 28 

Caryocar spp 51 

Cashew 47 

Casimiroa edulis 45 

Cattley guava 59 

Cereus spp 56 

Ceriman 36 

Cherimoya 38 

Chry8obalanus Icaco 42 

Chrysophyllum Cainito 64 

Cicca aisticha 13 

Citron 2 

Citrus fruits 2 

Coco-plum 42 

Cupu-assu 50 

Curacao-apple 25 

Custard-apple 37 


Dates 3 

Dillenia indica 20 

Diospyros Kaki 27 

Durian 19 

Durio zibethinus 19 

Eriobotrya japonica 8 

Etrog 2 

Eugenia aquea 25 

Cuminii 26 

Jambos 23 

javanica 25 

malaccensis 24 

uniflora 60 

Euterpe oleracea 34 

Ficus Carica 5 

Figs 5 

Garcinia Mangostana 21 

Genip 49 

Genipa americana 67 

Genipap 67 

Golden-apple 14 

Gooseberry, Otaheite 13 

Granadilla, giant 54 

purple 55 

sweet 55 

Grapefruit 2 

Guava, common 58 

Cattley 59 

strawberry 59 

wild 59 

Guilielma Gasipaes 35 

Hancornia speciosa 66 

Hog-plum 14 

Hondapara 20 

Icaco-plum 42 

Inga 44 

Inga ingoides 44 

nobilis 44 

Jaboticaba 61 

Jackfruit 7 

Java-plum 26 

Jujube 18 

Kumquats 2 

Langsat 12 

Lansium domesticum 12 




Licania Salzmannii 43 

Limes 2 

Litchi... 17 

Litchi chinensis 17 

Loquat 8 

Lucuma 63 

Lucuma Caimito 63 

Malay-apple 24 

Malpighia punicifolia var. 

emarginata 46 

Mamey sapote 65 

Mammea americana 52 

Mammee 52 

Mangaba 66 

Mangifera indica 4 

Mango 4 

Mangosteen 21 

Manilkara Zapotilla 62 

Melicocca bijuga 49 

Mombin, red 48 

yellow 14 

Monstera deliciosa 36 

Musa paradisiaca 1 

subsp. sapientium 1 

Myrciaria spp 61 

Natal plum 28 

Nephelium lappaceum. 16 

Oiti 43 

Opuntia Tuna 56 

Oranges 2 

Otaheite Gooseberry 13 

Papaya 33 

Passiflora edulis 55 

ligularis 55 

quadrangularis 54 

Peach palm 35 

Pereskia aculeata 57 

Persea americana 32 

Persimmon, Japanese 27 

Pineapple 31 

Phoenix dactylifera 3 

Phyllanthus distichus 13 

Plantain 1 

Platonia insignis 53 


Pomegranate 22 

Prickly pear 56 

Pouteria Caimito 63 

Psidium Cattleyanum 59 

Guajava 58 

guineense 59 

Pummelo 2 

Punica granatum 22 

Rambutan 16 

Red Mombin 48 

Rheedia sp 53 

Rollinia pulchrinervia 41 

Rose-apple 23 

Rose-apple, Water 25 

Sapodilla 62 

Sapote 65 

white 45 

Satsuma orange 2 

Shaddock 2 

Souari nuts 51 

Soursop 40 

Spondias dulcis 14 

lutea 14 

purpurea 48 

Star-apple 64 

Sugar-apple 39 

Surinam cherry 60 

Sweetsop 39 

Syzygium aquea 25 

Cuminii 26 

Jambos 23 

javanica 25 

malaccensis 24 

Tamarind 9 

Tamarindus indica 9 

Theobroma grandiflorum 50 

Tuna 56 

Water-lemon 55 

Water Rose-apple 25 

White Sapote 45 

Yellow mombin 14 

Zizyphus Jujuba 18