From the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.

Opposite Seasons: Summer is during the months of December, January and February. Autumn is March, April, May; winter is June, July, August; Spring is September, October and November.

One of the Best Sapotaceous Fruits

Scientific name: Pouteria caimito
Family: Sapotaceae

One of the exciting new sapotaceous fruits to come from the Amazon valley in recent years, is the Abiu. This evergreen, pyramidal-shaped tree, can reach a height of 15 metres under ideal conditions, but is usually about 8 metres.

The fruit is attractively coloured bright yellow on maturity, with a smooth and waxy skin about 4mm thick. It varies from flat round to oval in shape, 50-120 mm in length, and can weigh up to 750 grams. The aril is translucent white, sweet and juicy, with up to 80% edible portion in seedless fruit, with as many as 5 seeds per fruit.

The small white flowers are borne on the branches inside the foliage. Flowering occurs throughout the year on mature trees, with the main fruit set in early summer, producing a late summer harvest. Trees fruit in 3 to 5 years, however there is considerable variation in fruit size and bearing capacity of seedlings, with fruit quality remaining relatively unchanged.
Abius perform best in a sunny position and a tropical climate, but are tolerant of light frosts in sub-tropical areas. The tree is suited to a wide range of soils, but prefers a mildly acid rich clay loam with good drainage.

Propagation is mostly by seedlings, however, superior strains of excellent quality fruit with few seeds should be selected and vegetatively propagated, by graft, marcot or cuttings. Commercial production figures are unavailable, a projection can be made by North Queensland experience of 6-year-old seedlings, of good quality having up to 120 kg of fruit in a season.

Fruit are attacked by fruit fly when ripe. This can be overcome by harvesting the fruit on maturity before fly attack with little loss in quality.

Abius are usually eaten fresh by either peeling the leathery skin, or sectioning the fruit and spooning out the pulp. Immature fruit have a sticky latex, especially near the skin, this can be objectionable after consuming several fruit.

It is reported that first coating the lips with butter will alleviate this problem. The fruit bruise easily, but store well if handled carefully and kept under refrigeration.

The Abiu has been described as one of the best sapotaceous fruits. It is attractive and has a good flavour. The tree will tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, and fruit arrives in the market at a time when most tropical fruit are out of season, giving Abiu good commercial potential.

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"One of the Best Sapotaceous Fruits." Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. May 1983. Web. 8  Apr. 2015

Published 8 Apr. 2015 LR
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