Selected Trees and Shrubs
Chrysophyllum cainito, Common name: Star Apple, Caimite
Plant Family: Belongs to the Sapotaceae or Sapodilla family, which includes the Sapodilla or Zapoti (Manilkara zapota) and Balata(M. bidendata).
Description: Medium to large evergreen tree, up to 25 m tall (80 ft), with abundant milky sap and dense foliage; leaves about 7-18 cm long (3-7 in), 5-8 cm broad (2-3 in), elliptical, alternate; shiny and dark green on upper surface, coppery green on lower, making tree an unusually striking ornamental; flowers small, inconspicuous, purplish white, and fragrant; round fruit about the size of an apple, 5-10 cm across (2-4 in), smooth with dark, purplish color when ripe; do not usually drop and must be picked and ripened off tree; have mild, sweet pulp, usually eaten as a fresh desert fruit, by spooning from the halves to avoid unpleasant-tasting, latex-laden skin; name Star Apple comes from star pattern of seeds when fruit cut in half; there are several varieties differing in size, color and quality of fruit.
Natural Habitat: Needs well-drained soil and is not tolerant of waterlogged conditions; in Caribbean, commonly planted along roadsides and in pastures; propagated by seed; flowering in August-September and fruiting in November to March.
Origin and Distribution: Native of the Greater Antilles but found today distributed throughout Caribbean, tropical America, Africa and SE Asia; and grown commercially for its fruit in many of these regions.
Uses: Shade or ornamental tree in many Caribbean islands; fruit is very popular in many parts of the tropics, sold commercially for fresh consumption; wood used for canoe paddles by Caribs.
J. B. Bourne, G.W. Lennox and S.A. Seddon. Fruits and Vegetables of the Caribbean. Macmillan, London 1988
William C. Kennard and Harold F. Winters. Some Fruits and Nuts for the Tropics. USDA, Washington, DC 1960
H.F. Macmillan. Tropical Planting and Gardening. Macmillan, London 1956
C.D. Adams. Flowering Plants of Jamaica. University of the West Indies, Mona, Glasgow University Press 1972
Dorothy P. Storer. Familiar Trees and Cultivated Plants of Jamaica. Macmillan, London 1964.
Dan H. Nicolson. Flora of Dominica, Part 2: Dicotyledoneae. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 1991
Robert A. DeFilipps. Useful Plants of the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 1998
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Selected Trees and Shrubs
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