From the Archives
of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
by Gene Joyner
The mamey sapote, Calocarpum sapota,
is a large evergreen tree native to Central America. Trees have large
leaves up to twelve inches long and four inches wide which are shiny
green with prominent veins. Trees grow slowly, especially when young,
but are very popular because of the delicious fruit that they produce.
are produced throughout the warm season of the year along the major
branches, and are followed by round to oblong fruit with a rough brown
skin that may be eight inches in length. The pulp inside the fruit is
an orange-red colour and the center of the fruit is usually occupied by
one or more large, shiny, polished-looking seeds.
generally ripen during the late spring through early summer, and at
maturity fruits do not change colour. They just become soft, much like
avocados do. The flesh of the fruit is highly sought-after by many
people and is used for fresh eating and especially for milk shakes and
There are a number of named varieties of mamey sapote
available. 'Magana' and 'Pantin' are the most popular. Most commercial
mamey sapote is from grafting since seed-grown trees may take twenty
years or more to bear and be of questionable quality and yield.
do well where they are protected from strong winds in the winter and
mature trees freeze at about 30°F. Small trees will get injured at
32°F. Mamey sapote can take a little salt wind, but should not be
planted on open exposed areas close to the ocean or Intracoastal
These trees normally have few problems with disease;
however, some insects such as scale insects may occasionally be found
infesting leaves or branches. Beetles also occasionally chew leaves,
but none of these are serious enough to kill trees.
For best production, fertilise trees with a good quality citrus or fruit tree-type fertiliser every three or four months.
young, newly-planted trees, every-other-month feeding for the first
year is suggested. Trees also benefit from irrigation during the spring
dry season since moisture stress can often cause abortion of large
numbers of developing fruit.
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