Article from the
Tropical Fruit News magazine of the Miami Rare Fruit Council
by William F. Whitman
Letter from Bal Harbour
Cherapu: Slow to Germinate
When my cherapu (Garcinia prainiana) first bore a few years ago, I
planted the seeds. After a reasonable period of time passed and no
germination took place, I tossed pot and all on the dump. I figured the
fruit just did not produce viable seeds under our environmental
conditions that are so different from its native Thailand. Eventually,
curiosity prevailed, so when this mangosteen relative bore this summer
I again planted some seed. Only this time, I put August 25, 1991 date
on the pot label. Finally, on November 10, 1991, the seeds are
beginning to come up.
first became aware of the cherapu upon reading Betty Molesworth
Allens's book, Malayan Fruits. On page 77, she describes the fruit as,
"Delicious, with an unusual flavor." This positive endorsment of an
unusual fruit with an unusual flavor was all I needed to be spurred
into action. Letters to my horticultural friends in the Asiatic tropics
requesting seeds produced nothing. Finally, Alan Carle, one of
Australia's foremost pomologists, was kind enough to fill my request.
the cherapu, also known as the button mangosteen, comes male and
female, a plant of each sex is required for pollination and fruit set.
Fortunately, I germinated enough seedlings to fill this requirement.
Unfortunately we appear to lack an insect interested in transferring
pollen from one plant to another. However, hand pollinaation of the
beautiful red camellia-like flowers seldom fails.
When I first
planted out three-foot-high seedlings of this thai fruit, they failed
to adapt to full sunlight. In order to prevent further dieback I
suspended sixty-three percent shadecloth at an elevation of twelve
feet, directly over the plants. It is assumed by the time the plants
reach a height of twelve feet they should take full sun and the
shadecloth will come down.
The cherapu has about the same cold
tolerance as its famous cousin the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana).
howerver, as it can flower and fruit when only three feet high in a
three-gallon container, there should be no temperature problem. When a
cold fromt bears down, just put in in a garage or other protected area
untel the whether moderates. Also, if your RFCI Seed Exchange
Garcinia prainiana haven't germinated, just be patient! If the seeds
were fresh, they will.