From the Archives
of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
by Gene Joyner, Tropical Fruit News
The ambarella, is a fast growing medium-sized tree native to
the Society Islands of the South Pacific. In Florida it has been grown
for many years and is a favorite fruit of many people.
The large spreading tree can reach heights of forty to fifty feet with
an equal width and it has long pinnately-compound leaves which can be
from twelve to thirty inches long. The tree does lose its leaves for a
brief period during the winter months, usually during January and
Clusters of tiny whitish flowers are borne in terminal clusters during
March through April, and the large one-and-half to two-and-a-half-inch
oval fruit ripen in the fall. Fruits at maturity have a yellow to
golden-orange skin and an orangery-yellow pulp surrounding a single
large spiny seed. Flavour varies from acid to sweet and most people eat
this as a fresh fruit; however, it does make excellent preserves,
jellies or sauces. In many cultures, the fruit is also eaten green
before full maturity.
These grow well in a wide variety of soil types and can grow as much as
four to seven feet in a single growing season.
Propagation of this tree is very easily accomplished by rooting large
hardwood cuttings. Superior varieties can be airlayered also. Seedlings
often produce variable fruit, so most people prefer to propagate
ambarella by hardwood cuttings or by airlayering.
Trees are cold sensitive when small and should be protected from
serious frost or freeze at about thirty degrees. Trees do best in full
sun, but will produce some fruit in light shade, but should not be
planted beneath other larger trees. If you are close to salt water,
this tree has poor salt tolerance and should be protected from the
effects of salt spray.
There are few pests that affect this tree; however, on highly alkaline
soils sometimes, nutritional problems might require regular
applications of nutrient sprays of micronutrients.