Article from the Tropical Fruit News magazine of the Miami Rare Fruit Council International
by Gene Joyner
The Mammee Apple
How We Love Ya...
The mammee apple, Mammea americana,
is a large evergreen tree that will often reach 50 feet of more. It is
a native of Tropical America and parts of the West Indies. The leaves
are very large and a glossy green, somewhat resembling those of the
magnolia. The mammee apple makes a very handsome shade tree, or even a
The trees are usually propagated by seed and here
in Florida are rather slow growing. Seedlings generally will take from
four to seven years before they even reach size where they can start to
produce flowers. Once they finally begin to flower only male flowers
may be produced for the first year or two; later, as the tree becomes
more mature it will then start to produce both male and female flowers.
fragrant white flowers may be up to two inches in diameter and are
produced over a prolonged period, so that the season for the fruit will
extend for a long period of time, much like the sapodilla. Fruits
usually are from four to eight inches in diameter, generally somewhat
oval in shape with a rusty brown skin much like a sapodilla, mamey
sapote or cantaloupe. The inside usually has orange pulp which has a
apricot flavor. Generally, the flesh of the mammee apple is firmer than
that of the sapodilla or mamey sapote. The fruit is used in preserved
products or pies.
It has been reported that due to an element
found in the fruit, excessive consumption of the mammee apple may lead
to a condition that can cause a loss offinger nails and a loss of hair.
Here in Florida that is not likely to be a problem as we don't have the
opportunity to consume large numbers offruit at one time.
are very hard to find in local nurseries but are well worth searching
for. The mammee apple should be planted in well drained soil -- it will
tolerate a very brief bout of flooding but does not like 'wet feet' for
a prolonged period of time. To speed up the growth rate, young trees
should be fertilized every other month with a good quality fruit tree
fertilizer for the first year or two, thereafter three or four times a
Trees, when they are small, are very sensitive to cold
weather and should be protected from frost or freezes. As the trees
become a little more mature, they can withstand increased amounts of
cold. Trees in the Palm Beach county area have withstood really low
temperatures-vas low as 26°F. for a brief period oftime--with only
minor twig and leaf damage in the upper part of the trees.
are usually very few pests or diseases that affect the mammee apple in
South Florida and spraying is usually not required.
If you are
looking for varieties of mammee apple that produce really high-quality
fruit, probably the most famous tree in our area is the one growing at
Fairchild Tropical garden in Miami. Improved cultivars in Central and
south America have been reported by RFCI members; these are not
generally available. Most nurseries that sell trees simply sell
seedlings, and so if you want a grafted tree, you have to go out and
locate a mature, bearing tree, and do your own grafting.
Mammee Apple Page