Article from the Tropical Fruit News magazine of the Miami Rare Fruit Council International
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.

I 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.

As 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.

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Whitman, William F. "Cherapu: Slow to Germinate." Tropical Fruit News, Miami Rare Fruit Council. Dec. 1991. Vol. 25, No. 12. Web. 1 Apr. 2017.

Published 1 Apr. 2017 LR
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