From the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
by Ann Oram, RFCA Capricornia Newsletter

Seasons in Australia are opposite to those in the US. Summer is Dec. Jan. Feb. Autumn is Mar. Apr. May. Winter is June July Aug. Spring is Sept. Oct. Nov.

Hog Plum

Spondias cytherea

Illustration from The Complete Book of Fruit by Leslie Johns and Violet Stevenson.

The genus Spondias belongs to the Anacardiacae or Cashew family, which also includes the mango.

It has about 8 to 10 species in the genus found in the tropics of Asia and America. The fruits of some of these species constitute an important source of food in their native areas.

Spondias cytherea (syn. S. dulcis) is commonly called the Ambarella or Otheite Apple. The species forms a medium-sized tree 12-15 metres tall, with a smooth bark and large pinnate leaves to 40cm long. The flowers are borne terminally in spring and fruits ripen in the autumn and early winter.

The fruit is 6-8cm long and 5-6cm in diameter. The skin is yellow when ripe and somewhat leathery. The edible flesh is yellow in colour and about 1 cm thick. The stone, or seed casing, has spines that stick out into the flesh and complicates the use of the fruit. Seeds are produced in 5 small cavities in the stone. Only 1 or 2 of the seeds will be developed. There is some variation among seedlings, some being sweeter and with a thicker flesh than others.

S. cytherea can be grown from a seed or from cuttings. The Ambarella is the hardiest of the spondias, taking a little bit more cold than the others.

They require good drainage, but will grow in rich or poor soils. They have to grow in full sunlight to produce fruit. A shaded tree will produce little or no fruit. The trees are also drought tolerant. They will go dormant in late winter.

The fruits usually drop off when they turn yellow. I have found that they can be picked green and they will turn yellow in about 5 days at room temperature. The taste is reminiscent of pineapples. The fruit can be used in jams, jellies and sauces when ripe, and when unripe, in pickles or relishes. A very tasty jam can be made.

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Oram, Ann. "Hog Plum." Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. RFCA Capricornia Newsletter. May 1987. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.


Johns, Leslie and Stevenson, Violet. The Complete Book of Fruit. Angus & Robertson Publishers. 1979. Print.

Published 22 Apr. 2015 LR. Last update 5 May 2016 KJ
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