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are areas that are generally only moderately or barely cold in winter,
rarely subject to air frosts, and can be humid in summer, or dry. In
more oceanic influenced variations of this zone, tropical species will
fruit (although there is always a risk of intermittant cold damage),
some of the most heat demanding species, such as the coconut, will not
be successful. Deciduous fruit cultivars will not have enough winter
and selecting very low chill cultivars is essential.
Indicator plants-banana, lychee, avocado, true grapefruit, lime, black sapote. There is a complex interplay between accumulated heat, wind effects, chilling, length of season, and varietal differences that determines what can be grown in any one part of this broad zone. Local experience-seeing what your neighbours grow-is particularly important.
United States Plant Hardiness Zones JJJJ This Agriculture Research Service map not only tells you which hardiness zone you are in, you can zoom in on any part of the map, or go to your individual state. State or zoom in maps also give you typical cold hardy plants, and align the cold hardiness information to a typical city.
see Kiwifruit) There have been many different 'wild', unimproved but
edible, species of kiwifruit introduced over the last fifteen years or
so, and altho' almost none have been released to the public in New
many are avilable from specialist nurseries in North America. They vary
in edibility from 'famine-only food' to very nice. All require both a
and female plant.
A.arguta-'Tara berry'. big grape size, hairless, sweet flavorsome, excellent bud break in warmer areas. Recommended. A.kolomikta-very similar to A.arguta, supposed to have variegated foliage with plant maturity, bud break uncertain-want to experiment?
Actinidia chinensis-the yellow fleshed kiwifruit, requires warmer temperatures than the standard green fleshed type, and may succeed in subtropical areas, but hasn't been tested. It is very, very vigorous, so you will need a lot of space for it. On top of that, you will also need a male pollinator plant of the same species-equally vigorous. The cultivar 'Hort16A' has been patented in New Zealand (registered trade mark/brand name 'Zespri Gold®' ) but plants are not yet available. Note that the variety name is 'Hort16A' . The name 'Zespri Gold' is a brand, and has no botanical nomenclature significance. In North America, the cultivar 'Early Gold' is available from specialist nurseries.
Actinidia melanandra is a small fruited type that breaks bud well in low chill areas.
Actinidia deliciosa, the common green fleshed kiwi, does not break bud well in low chill areas. If you must try it, the cultivars 'Elmwood' and 'Vincent'(USA) and 'Dexter' (Australia) are said to have the lowest chill requirement.
Kiwifruit species JJ brief notes on taxonomy of Actinidia, propogation, germplasm resources from the USDA Agriculture Research Service National Clonal Germplasm Repository.
Actinidia species citation J extremely cryptic -of who described the species, when, in what publication, the natural range, and previous names. - 42 odd species and hybrids at the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) database. For the extreme enthusiast, not 'garden useful' for most of us. Maybe you'll find a subtropical species here.
Kiwifruit Enthusiasts Journal - this is a journal devoted to kiwi fruit species. Volume 6, displayed at the NAFEX kiwifruit interest group page, has a very good photograph of a group of Actinidia species fruits, including fruit of A.arguta, A.eriantha, A.melanandra, and others
Kiwifruit in the subtropics- JJJ a brief discussion on the feasibility and species and varieties that might suceed. Interesting.
Malpighia glabra 'Barbados Cherry'. This is a small (to 5 metres),
spreading, shrubby tree. Pink star shaped flowers appear in late spring
and summer, and the small, slightly fluted, bright red fruit are ready
about a month after flowering. The fruit are thin skinned, and juicy,
the flavor is resonant of apples.The best selections are reasonably
unselected seedlings are usually acid and lacking flavor. The tree is
to soil, and once it is past the tender young stage, it survives light
frost in semi tropical areas. It is one of the best sources of natural
vitamin C in the world, with up to 100 times the amount in oranges, on
a weight for weight basis. This is a valuable tree for the urban
in the tropics, because it is palatable as a fresh fruit, it is an
dense vitamin C source, and it comes into bearing within about 3 years
or so of planting out. In can have fruit on for up to eight months of
year. On the down side, the new leaves and new shoots have fine hairs
can cause skin irritation if they are brushed against. Not a plant to
when there are small children in the family. They also demand good
supply, and lots of water at flowering and fruit developement time is
or the flowers will drop. And on sandy soils especially, they can be
affected by root damaging nematodes.
Acerola fact sheet JJJJ More detailed information can be found in this California Rare Fruit Growers (Inc) very good fact sheet
AMAZON TREE GRAPE- Pouroumia cecropifolia
Growing Amazon Tree Grapes - from the Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm climates'. A general description of the origin and distribution, suitable climates and soils and uses. Concise, informative.
Growing Wild Annona species JJJJ from the Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm climates'. Discusses and describes Annona senegalensis, with a little on Annona montana. Also covers origin and distribution, uses. Concise, informative. 1 good photos of A. montana fruit
APPLE Malus sylvestris The undisputed King of all fruit for the Urban food garden. Unfortunately, they require about more winter cold than the subtropical zone provides. Esaliered trees should be on a semi-dwarfing rootstock such as MM106. Small free standing bushes can be created by buying a tree grafted to an ultra dwarfing rootstocks such as MM9. These mini trees do needing staking. Dwarf trees, either espaliered against a wall or fence, or as small bushes, are the only game in town for the small garden The major problems are codling moth, bird damage and fruit fly damage. Moth can be confused by placing pheromone lures around, and birds can be netted out of the tree, or a variety of cunning and reasonably priced commercial bird scare devices can be tried. Some apples are subject to some quite damaging fungus diseases unless they are sprayed; however, there are disease resistant varieties, and most varieties will get by with indifferent attention to copper sprays. The kind of apple or apples is restricted to those that are more or less adapted to the lack of winter chill in the subtropics. The following apples have a low chill requirement. The number of hours of low chill is in brackets. Dorsett Golden (250), Anna (300), Ein Scheimer (400), Tropic Mac (300), Tropic Sweet (300). The best known cultivar is 'Anna'. There are cunning and elegant means of forcing fruit bud initiation by means of hand or chemical defoliation and other tricks, but this is beyond the means of the average home fruit gardener. General apple culture.
ATEMOYA- A hybrid between the cherimoya (Annona cherimola) and the sugar apple (Annona squamosa), the atemoya will fruit well in the subtropics. The fruit is quite large at ½lb-1lb/225-450gms, and carried in an open, spreading tree that is about 33ft/10m high and the same wide at maturity. Trees will die on poorly drained soils. The period of brief 'dormancy' and mass leaf shed immediately after fruiting should not be mistaken for the tree turning up it's toes, however! Flowering starts after 'dormancy', and from then until harvest, the atemoya needs adequate moisture in the soil. Heavy mulching with organic material is very beneficial, as long as it is not heaped against the trunk. Unlike the sugar apple (one of it's parents), it doesn't tend to split open when ripe.It is conical to heart shaped, and the fruit surface can either be smooth, or have bumps. Flowering to harvest is about 5 months.The fruit is mid green, turning to light green or greenish-yellow at maturity, depending on the cultivar. The white pulp is smooth, juicy, sweet and flavorful, with up to about 40 shiny dark brown or black bean sized seeds embedded in it. Fruit that have been poorly pollinated tend to be smaller or asymetrical. Some people hand pollinate the flowers to increase the fruit set and fruit size, but whether or not you need to hand pollinate depends on local climatic conditions, and possible pollinating insects. A cultivar needing hand pollination in one area may set fruit satisfactorily by itself in another. Atemoya trees can split badly at the crotch under the weight of fruit, and the force of wind. Prune out branches growing at a sharp angle. Pruning is usually done after fruiting (around august in the Southern hemisphere). Flowers develop both on new growth and on older laterals. Atemoyas lend themselves well to espaliering. 'Gefner' has good quality fruit without pollinating by hand 'African Pride'/'Kaller' starts bearing early (the third year in the ground), is a good producer in many areas; but may need hand pollination in some areas, the fruit are small to average sized, and have more seeds than some other cultivars. 'Pinks Mammoth' is a vigorous tree with particularly large fruit; but it doesn't start bearing until about the fifth year in the ground.
Persea americana A little more frost tender than
and must have either very free draining soil, or large raised beds with
massive amounts of organic compost; must also have plenty of sun. The
human food. The oil content can vary widely between varieties, with the
richest (usually Guatemalan) having up to 26% oil, and West Indian
having around 12%. Home grown can be richer in flavor than shop bought.
There are three principle types of avocado. Those of Guatemalan origin
have thick, almost woody skins, a relatively small seed, and long fruit
stems. Typically, avocadoes of Guatemalan derivation fruit in early
and spring (Northern Hemishere)/early summer and autumn (Southern
They have the additional advantage of being able to be left 'stored' on
the tree once they are mature. Varieties derived from the West Indies
have thin, smooth, leathery skin, and a large seed that is often loose
within the seed cavity. They typically fruit in late summer and fall.
Mexican types have small fruit and large seeds, and fruit in summer.
are many hybrids between the three types.
Bacon-excellent pollenizer variety for Hass & Reed, cold hardy, good cropper, winter fruiter, but mediocre to poor taste, and very vigorous and upright.
Donnie-early variety, smaller variety, ready July (Northern Hemisphere) onwards
Fuerte-fruits from around mid winter onwards, very high quality fruit, without peer for its season. Small spreading tree (for an avocado), thin skin, can get splits and rots at the base, fruit set without a pollenizer is very poor. Hass will pollenize it and vice versa.
Hayes-Fruits from about early Spring on, a bit earlier than Hass. Very high quality, slightly larger than Hass, thick skin makes it a bit harder to tell when its ripe. Skin colour change is the best guide.
Hass-Excellent quality, ripe from around Spring to about early Autumn. Starts cropping at an early age. Upright tree.
Lula - The fruit is green, smooth, pear shaped, with a large stone and reasonable flavor (12 to 16% oil). Vigorous, tall, spreading, Lula comes into fruit early and is productive, but it has a short season, fruiting Dec. to Jan.(Northern Hemisphere)
Pinkerton -Long, pear shaped, slightly pebbled skinned large fruit; excellent eating quality (up to 25% oil) in spite of the pale flesh, it has a small seed and ripens autumn through winter (more or less between Hass and Fuerte) and has the ability to 'store' on tree until late summer.
Reed-ready before Fuerte, from Autumn to mid winter, but will hang on the tree over winter. Large round fruit, very high quality. Thick skinned, bit hard to pick when it is ready- stem end flicks off is best test.
Zutano-Ready from mid winter on, poor quality fruit. Upright tree, relatively cold and wind tolerant, poor quality fruit.
Avocado Fact Sheet. JJJJJ An excellent fact sheet (prints out to about 6 printer pages) at the Californian Rare fruit growers site, covering all aspects of growing avocadoes, plus notes on varieties. Written for USA conditions, but widely applicable.
Avocado varieties JJJJ A very good data set of 91 avocado varieties, mainly Guatemalan, Mexican and their hybrids, with very brief but complete descriptions of the fruit shape, size, peel, stone size, parentage etc, a fairly good picture of the fruit, and some brief advisory notes. Nicely done. From the University of California, USA
Avocado in Hawaii JJJ A commercial growers advisory, strong on weed and pest control, but it includes brief notes on 8 Hawaiian varieties, and useful cultural information - as well as some historical notes.
BANANA Musa acuminata and hybrids of M.acuminata x M.Balbisiana [= 'M.paradisiaca']. The banana deserves to be popular for it's productivity in a small space, it's pleasing landscape qualities, and, of course, it's delicious fruit. It is the ideal crop for the small space gardener, as it makes best use of vertical space, is not too large, crops quickly, and the fruit are concentrated in one place-making for easy bagging against pests. The banana is a water loving plant, and thrives with plentiful water in dry spells and regular fertilising. However, as long as it is fairly well mulched, it will still fruit with less than adequate water, albeit the fruit may be smaller and less well filled. Bananas are also greedy feeders-they have to be, considering the weight of fruit that is regularly removed from the clump. A balanced fertiliser is best, using a complete garden fertiliser that has a bit extra potash/potassium in it, as bananas need quite a bit of this element for its fruit. Regular light liming may be needed on acid soils. In order to keep the resources of the clump concentrated on fruiting plants, it is best to allow two plants to fruit and have two replacements coming on. Remove all other suckers that develop.
Bunches are harvested when the bananas are plump ('well sprung') but before they begin to turn yellow.
The naming and identification of banana varieties can be challenging.
The Bluefield/Gros Michel bananas are the bananas of commerce grown in South America and the Phillipines, and grow very tall-up to 18 ft/5.5m. Being so tall, they are subject to blowing over when they are carrying their very heavy (to 100lb/45kg) bunches, unless propped up.From planting to harvest is about 15 months in this cultivar.
Williams/Mons Mari is a giant mutation of the cultivar 'Dwarf Cavendish/Chinese'. It is 6½ -13ft/2-4m high, the fruit are similar to 'Gros Michel', and they are ready about 12 months from planting. Both 'Blufield' and 'Williams' are suceptible to the very damaging 'Panama disease' (Fusarium wilt).
Dwarf Cavendish/Chinese a common variety in home gardens because of it's relatively small size (8ft/2.5m) and tolerance to a wide range of conditions.The bananas are essentially the same as 'Williams'. Suceptible to Panama disease. Suceptible to 'choke throat'-in cooler times of year the emerging leaves have shorter petioles than usual, and 'jam up' in the stem, preventing the flowwer bud from emerging properly. Not recommended.
Sucrier/Pisang Mas/Honey, as it's name suggests, is a very sweet banana; it has small fruit, thin skin, yellowy flesh, and small bunches (up to 28½lb/13kg). The plants are 8-11½ft/2.5-3.5m high, and prefer light shade. Planting to harvest is about 11 months.Unfortuneately, this cultivar really needs more heat than the subtropics provide.
Lady Finger/Pome/Pacha Naadan/Brazilian is drought hardy, wind resistant, is up to 16ft /5m high, and has short, slightly angular fruit which (because it has a little acidity as well as sugar) has a rich true banana flavour, in bunches up to 66lbs/30kg. It has a tendency to have some undeveloped fruit in the bunch. It is suceptible to Panama disease.Planting to harvest is about 14 months. Sugar/Silk/Apple is short and fat, thin skinned, inclined to split and to tear off and fall when it is very ripe, very white fleshed, dense, sweet, without flouriness or sliminess, but astringent when it isn't fully ripe. It is highly suceptible to Panama disease.
Mysore is up to 15ft/4.5m high, a vigorous plant somewhat tolerant of drought and poor soils, with very tightly packed cylindrical bunches up to 77lb/35kg of slightly yellowish fleshed pleasantly sweet/acid balanced, short and fat attractive bright yellow fruit. It is known for the fruit to hold well on the bunch, even at full ripeness.This cultivar is the main commercial banana of India.It is suceptible to Panama disease.
Red Dacca is interesting because the tall (to 18ft/5.5m) bear average sized bunches of large, plump bananas that are washed purply pink when ripe. Planting to harvest is about 18 months for this cultivar. It is suceptible to Panama disease.
Pisang Rajah is an important variety in Malaysia and Indonesia.It grows up to 15ft/4.5m, and takes about 16 months from planting to harvesting the up to 55lb/25kg bunches of medium sized sweet bananas.
Blue Java is so called because the bunches of immature fruit are covered in a waxy bloom which gives them a blue-green caste. The plants grow to 13ft/4m, planting to harvest is about 14 months. The fruit has particularly long stalks, are slightly angular, and have white flesh. Suceptible to Panama disease.
Ducasse/Pisang Awak is a particularly vigorous and hardy banana. It grows up to 16½ft/5m high, and has up to 77lb/35kg bunches of tightly packed, small bananas with a light wax bloom. Harvest is about 17 months after planting. This is the most important banana of Thailand. Suceptible to Panama disease.(note: it is somewhat fertile, and if it is pollinated it may have hard, black seeds inside).
Goldfinger-released in 1989 this banana was bred in Honduras specifically for the less favorable conditions of subtropical areas, so is definitley worth a try.
Ultimately, the best one to grow may simply be your friends or neighbours. If you come across a banana you like, or it's owner recommends, simply get a spade and dig out a sucker.
Growing bananas in West Australia JJJJ A very good one page fact sheet on banana culture under West Australian conditions, aimed at commercial growing, but the basic facts apply to all West Australian home gardeners.
Banana varieties JJJJ About 28 edible varieties are briefly described, with a photo of the plant or the fruit or flower, in the 'stokestropicals' catalogue pages
Banana varieties and planting instructions JJJJ About 26 edible varieties are tabularly described with a photo of the fruit in the 'Aloha Tropicals' catalogue
Bananas in Hawaii JJJJ the full story on growing bananas commercially in Hawaii, from varieties, pests, diseases, fertliser practise, irrigation, packing, etc. Commercially oriented, but all the important principles are covered.
Banana cultivar photos JJJ from the University of Hawaii, around 15 cultivars in the archive, plus other pictures of the plant and flower
BARBADOS CHERRY-See 'ACEROLA'
SAPOTE Diospyros digyna-'Chocolate Pudding Tree', 'Black
A handsome tree with dark green leathery leaves against black barked
that may ultimately reach 50 feet. The fruit are about the size of a
large apple, typically weighing 1.5lb/700gms to 2lbs/900gms.
they can reach 4lb/1.8kg. Black sapotes are a relative of the
and the flesh is similar in texture to a soft ripe persimmon fruit -
jelly-like and soft. The flesh is chocolate colored, and some claim it
has the appearance and the texture of chocolate pudding. The fruit
their green color, but soften when ripe, and should then be picked and
left to become very soft before eating. Trees can bear as early as
years from planting. In the subtropics of the Southern Hemisphere
(northern New South Wales, lower Queensland) the fruit ripen from
There is a picture of the fruit at the 'Garden of delight ' web site
BRAZILIAN CHERRY-a name used both for the 'SURINAM CHERRY', Eugenia uniflora, and 'ACEROLA', Malpighia glabra - which see.
CANISTEL Pouteria campechiana -'Eggfruit', 'Lucuma' . Nicely suited to the smaller garden because the tree is reasonably small, the fruit are shades of yellow or orange when ripe. The flesh is dry to slightly moist, musky and variably sweet. Like it's upland relative, the lucuma, it softens after picking. Not a fruit for easily eating out of hand, it is more useful for cooking.
Averrhoa carambola 'star fruit', 'five corner fruit'. Although
slow growing in the sub tropics, Carambolas are adaptable trees and
open, small to medium sized, attractive landscape specimens, with
leaves and clusters of small purple flowers. The fruits are more or
oval, and so deeply and sharply ribbed that a fruit cut in half shows
shape of a five pointed star. The fruit come in sour and sweet
The yellow, thin skinned fruit have clear, juicy, crisp flesh. It
it's main crop in the cooler time of year. Carambolas are relatively
to espalier against a wall- a useful attribute for small gardens. Sweet
varieties include Arkin, Maher Dwarf, and Thayer.
Carambola Fact Sheet JJJJ The very good California Rare Fruit Growers advisory sheet on Carambola growing.
CARISSA Carissa macrocarpa 'Natal Plum' A very useful plant for the home food garden, because it is a small bushy shrub with thorns and fragrant white flowers, won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. The small roundish fruit are about an inch/2.5cm wide and a bit more long. They are bright red streaked with a darker red ground color. The fruit are variable, but most are mild, somewhat sweet, sometimes slightly astringent, with small seeds in the centre and exude a harmless latex when cut. They have about the same vitamin C content as an orange.
Casimiroa edulis- 'Ice cream fruit'. Related to citrus, but the
fruit flesh is smooth and fibreless and more akin to avocado flesh
the oiliness. The fruit are variable, from about apple size upwards,
sweet, and with very large citrus-like 'pips' inside. There is anything
from one to five of these very large seeds in the fruit. Some cultivars
are slightly bitter just under the skin, and some have a particularly
almost 'butterscotch' flavor. The fruit are nutritious, with good
of vitamins A and C. The fruit are rarely available commercially,
the fruit just don't keep. The skin is very thin, and on a very ripe
it will virtually rub off. The flesh is very easily bruised when it is
ripe. This fruit is quite unique in it's combination of sweetness
sugars), unusual texture, and good flavor. The deseeded fruit freeze
and make a most excellent smoothee milkshake. Freezing is a useful
because they fruit from late spring to winter (exactly when within this
period depends on local climate-warmer areas start in late spring,
areas start a few months later), and well grown trees produce prodigous
amounts of fruit, which can create a mess if you can't eat or give them
away fast enough. Less frost hardy than citrus. Casimiroas must
adequate water in summer to prevent fruit drop Any reasonably
drained soil will grow casimiroas. The tree tends to make rather long
lank growth, but this can be cut back closer to the trunk to encourage
branching, and tipping soft new growth regularly makes a much more
and branchy tree as well. Prune them after fruiting. They make a rather
large tree (some will grow to 10M/33 feet or more across), and the
roots can lift pavers and block drains if they are planted too close to
the house. They are about the same size as avocado tree. Fruit fly is
main problem in those areas afflicted with this pest. If you are in a
fly area you will have to spray from six weeks before harvest,
don't bother with casimiroas. The other problem is bird damage, but
can largely be avoided by picking the fruit when firm when birds don't
trouble them. That said, picking the right time to harvest the fruit
takes some experience. Sometimes there is a slight shift to a yellowish
tone to the normally green fruit. Picked too soon, and the fruit take
weeks to soften, and are rubbery and inedible. Picked at the correct
and the fruit should soften in 2-5 days and be fantastic. Some
of casimiroa are smaller than others, but no attention has been paid to
selecting dwarfing roostocks for these trees, altho' it would almost
be possible to do so.
Pike-a small, well branched, almost weeping tree, Pike is well suited to the home garden because of it's compact size
Fernie-another naturally small tree (around 3M/10feet after 10 years) with good flavored fruit and often only 1 seed.
Lomita-quite large fruit, the tree remains relatively small, the fruit have good flavor, and, unusually, will store for up to 2 weeks off the tree.
Mac's Golden-the fruit are large, the flesh yellow and with a particularly rich flavor.
Reinikie Commercial-particularly good sweetness and flavor, R.C. has yellow flesh and yellow skin when ripe, so it is easier to judge when to pick it, apart from anything else.
Casimiroa Fact Sheet JJJ The California Rare Fruit Growers Fact sheet traverses all elements of growing, propogation, and gives a brief description of 17 cultivars.
CERIMAN Monstera deliciosa
Growing Ceriman - from the Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm climates'. Covers Description, Origin and Distribution, varieties, suitable climates and soils, propagation, culture, harvesting, pests and diseases and more. Concise, informative. 3 good photos of fruit
CHERIMOYA Annona cherimola -Medium to very large most sweet and complexly flavored fruit with soft white or cream flesh with numerous bean sized shiny black seeds embedded in it.The fruit is carried on a small tree that is amenable to pruning. It can also be informally espaliered. It regrows easily from a severe pruning-handy because the wood is fairly brittle and liable to hurricane damage. They require very little care beyond pruning after fruiting, and intermittant fertilising with a complete fertiliser. They need fairly good drainage or they will get root rot. A thick organic mulch helps in marginal soils. A grafted tree should start fruiting within 2 or 3 years of planting out. Any grafted tree will have lovely fruit. Some cultivars have smoother flesh than others, or have a slightly resinous taste, or the flesh is whiter-but the difference is between 'delightful' and 'fantastic', so it doesn't matter. Cherimoyas are picked while still firm-usually when the green skin takes on a very slight yellowish tinge. They will be ripen in the fruit bowl about 4 days from picking.
More detailed information can be found in the California Rare Fruit Growers (Inc) very good fact sheet at:
Cherimoya JJJJ The California Rare Fruit Growers Fact sheet traverses all elements of growing, propogation, the all important pollenization, and gives a brief description of 17 cultivars.
CHILEAN CRANBERRY (Myrtus ugni)- highly recommended - knee high little shrub that bears heaps of sweet, resinous, aromatic fruit, about blueberry size or less. Nothing quite like it, a late summer treat. Frost hardy, easy to grow
CITRUS- listed under their fruit type, e.g. 'lemon', 'orange', 'mandarin' etc. Obscure citrus are listed 'Citrus, obscure'
APPLE Annona reticulata 'Bullocks Heart', 'Cherimoya'
While many annonaceous fruits are called 'custard apple', this is the
most commonly understood to be 'the custard apple'. It is a small,
untidy looking tree (5-8 metres), not as good as the sugar apple, but
adapted to sub equatorial heat. The fruit can vary between trees from
half a pound to 5 lbs/200gms to 2 kg. The dull yellow skin has a
(netted) patten of 'thumb marks' or indentations on the surface. The
is dirty white, moderately sweet, somewhat lacking in flavor, and can
a bit dry.
DATE - A really Mediterranean climate palm, it will grow well in the subtropics. Takes two to tango (male and females plants), not really a proposition for the size of plant and leangth of time to fruiting.
Growing Dates - JJJJ from the Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm climates'. Covers Description, Origin and Distribution, varieties, suitable climates and soils, propagation, culture, harvesting, pests and diseases and more. Concise, informative. 4 good photos of fruit and the palm.
FEIJOA Acca sellowiana- Clippable into a hedge or standard, excellent grey backdrop plant, superb fruit in Autumn. Every garden should have two. Two, because apart from 'Unique', they require cross pollination. Feijoas are harvested in late autumn and early winter - a time when fruit buyers don't have a lot of choice, as stonefruit is finished and local citrus hasn't really started. The fruit are juicy sweet, excellent flavor, great eating fresh, and can be canned/bottled. They don't travel or store well, so home garden fruit are far superior. Some fruit sold in stores lack sufficient pulp cavity, and have very thick skin. Such varieties can be avoided by growing your own. Grafted or cutting grown plants will bear within three years, given good care. Seedlings take 5 years or more. Feijoas are useful because they will bear well even in partial shade. In very hot areas the fruit may split, or may not ripen properly.
Unique- Early, self fertile, and productive, this is a feijoa of choice for the small space garden, even altho' the flavor is unexceptional. NZ
Coolidge-said to be self fertile, small fruit. US
Andre-said to be self fertile US
Gemini-Very nice flavor. It is sweet, with little acid. The overall rating is very good. The fruit are mostly very odd looking-longish, with a funny bulbous protuberance at the blossom end.NZ
Apollo -Very good flavor, a nice sugar acid balance, this variety rates as one of the best. The fruit are longish, somewhat torpedo shaped, as if they are not properly filled out at the stem end. Some, presumably better pollinated, are well filled out and oval.NZ
Feijoa Fact Sheet JJJJ The California Rare Fruit Growers Fact sheet traverses all elements of growing, propogation, and harvesting, and gives a brief description of 13 cultivars
Ficus carica The perfect fig- soft, sweet, sticky,
comes from fruit almost fully tree ripened (picked a day or two before
perfection & allowed to fully ripen indoors). Some fig trees can be
pruned hard to keep them nettable and very small. Birds are a major
so the tree must be netted, or individual fruits bagged, if you are to
get any fruit. Many varieties of fig have been introduced into the
States and Australiasia over the years since colonisation. Most were
a few are stunning. Because figs don't handle or store well, they are
to market commercially. Therefore the home gardener has the advantage
chosing any variety, no matter how soft, and maturing it on the tree to
the point of perfection. Figs ripen in late summer/autumn. Some
have an early ('Breba') crop, followed by a crop in late summer.
to keep the tree small often cuts off the breba crop anyway. Apart from
the birds, the biggest challenge with figs is pruning them hard enough
to keep the size down without losing too much fruiting wood, and
to the inevitable basal suckering. Figs won't tolerate waterlogging,
lengthy drying out of the soil causes the fruit to drop or become dry.
Nomenclature of figs is muddled. Some cultivars have been mis-named, or re-named. Rely on a knowledgeable nurseryperson to sell you a fig adapted to your area, or take a cutting from a local high quality tree. The easiest care figs are the common fig varieties. One group of figs-'Smyrna' figs- only fruits if it is pollinated by a tiny wasp carrying pollen from another special kind of fig, the inedible 'Caprifig'. This makes fruiting for this type uncertain in a home garden situation, so cultivars from the smyrna group are best avoided.In wet and humid areas it is common for figs to ferment on the tree because water gets in the 'eye' at the base of the fruit. In these areas it is wise to seek out a variety with a closed eye.
Brown Turkey- large, squat, transluscentie-amber flesh, greenish brown with a basal purple blush. Very good flavor so long as the season is warm. Has the important advantage of being able to be pruned very hard (US NZ AU)
Celeste-'Malta', 'Celestial'. One of the earliest figs, ready about mid summer onward, celeste is small, purplish brown, covered in a heavy bloom, has a closed eye, and is very sweet.(US NZ)
Excel-'Kadota hybrid'.A roundish medium sized yellowish green skinned fig with amber flesh with a rich, sweet flavor. (US)
Black mission-a purplish black fig with pink flesh, B.M. is medium to large, pear shaped, and has a breba crop in early summer followed by an early autumn crop .(US)
on the history of figs, their botany, brief notes on 40 different
how to grow them, how to propogate them, diseases, nurseries that sell
figs, and extensive reading bibliography, creted by the North American
Fruit Explorers Organisation (NAFEX).
gem from Ray Givan's website. This FAQ is written for USA conditions,
is universally applicable. It covers everything the average person
to know about growing figs, general care, varieties, container figs,
pests and diseases and more.
green and yellow skin JJJJ Ray
Givan describes 28 varieties of green or yellow skinned figs, with 13
dark skinned JJJJ RayGivan
describes 24 varieties of dark skinned figs, with 24 photographs of
GRAPEFRUIT Citrus grandis Grapefruit need more heat than oranges, and higher temperatures don't stop them coloring well, so they are a good choice for the subtropics. The rootstock that the grapefruit is grafted onto has an influence on the trees resistance to virus diseases, root damaging nematodes, overthick skin, and poor soil conditions such as high calcium levels, or poor drainage. Your nurseryperson should be able to guide you to select the best roostock for your local area. Provide adequate water in dry spells, feed them a little and regularly, and you will harvest very good fruit.
Psidium guajava 'Tropical guava'.- An ideal fruit for the
hunter-gatherer because the small tree comes into bearing within a year
of planting out, it has an attractive trunk and leaves, there are
leafed forms, it is trimmable, it makes a good hedge, it is strong
for children to climb, and the flowers are quite attractive. It is
and undemanding as to soil.There is a wide variety of fruit shapes and
sizes to chose from when selecting a guava variety. The best are the
yellow skinned, pink fleshed fruit. They are all an excellent source of
vitamin C, with a minimum of 40mg/100grams of fruit, and a lot of
up from this baseline according to the variety. Their only drawback is
that they are highly attractive to fruitflies, in countries where they
are a problem. Varieties available include Hong Kong Pink, Philippine
Pear, Mexican Cream, Ruby, Indian Red, and many others.
Philippine-yellow skin, white, soft flesh, sweet. Medium/large fruit.
Mexican Cream-bright yellow skin, cream, soft flesh. Large pear shaped fruit.
Ruby-X -Green skin, with pink, soft, flesh. Medium sized fruit.
Thai Maroon-Deep maroon skin, deep maroon flesh. The tree has purple leaves. Medium/large fruit.
Guava, tropical - JJJ a very good one page synopsis of the culture and nutritional benefits of guavas, from Fort Valley State University, Georgia, USA . Includes a photo.
GUAVA, CATTLEY, RED Psidium Cattleianum 'Red guava', 'Strawberry guava' 'Purple guava'- A very useful plant for the home food garden, because it is a small bushy tree and won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. Each about 8 gram berry contains more than 3.2 mg/100gms vitamin C. The fruit are about grapesized, sweet, slightly resinous and aromatic. Fully ripe fruit turn deep purple, and soon drop from the bush. The bushes are exceedingly productive, and become handsome upright small trees. The fruit are usually ripe in late spring.
GUAVA, CATTLEY, YELLOW Psidium Cattleianum var.lucidum 'Yellow guava' like the red cattley guava, a very useful plant for the home food garden, because it is a small bushy tree and won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. And like the red cattley, as rich a source of vitamin C. The flavor is similar, altho perhaps not as complex. Fruiting is as for the red cattley guava.
COSTA RICAN Psidium friedrichsthalianum 'Cos guava'
This species eventually
quite tall, up to 8M/26 feet, and the fruit are small and acid and only
useful for jelly. The space could be better used by sweet species.
JABOTICABA-Myciaria cauliflora This is a small tree which bears grape sized purplish black fruit directly on the trunk and large branches. The sweet fruit are juicy and somewhat similar to grapes in taste. The tree is extremely slow growing, and may take many years to start bearing. The bark is very attractively 'camouflage' mottled, and the trunk covers itself with a profusion of white flowers.It has one heavy crop a year, usually in late autumn/early winter, and may have a second crop later in the year. Once the trees starty bearing they can bear very heavy crops indeed. The small leafed trees has definite landscape virtues-altho the foliage has a tendency to yellowing if nutrient status is wrong or the tree stressed-and it takes up very little room. Set against this is the very long time to bearing (8-25 years in the case of seedlings) and the fact that even when it does flower, if conditions are cool, humid and wet, the tree may fail to set any fruit. Better to buy grapes. A fruit for collectors only.
More detailed information can be found in the California Rare Fruit Growers (Inc) very good fact sheet at
Jaboticaba Fact Sheet JJJJ The California Rare Fruit Growers Fact sheet traverses all elements of origin, description, growing, and gives a brief description of 5 cultivars.:
JAPANESE RAISIN TREE Hovenia dulcis- This fast growing handsome and graceful small to medium tree; bears strange nibblie fruiting bodies, which when partly dry, taste for all the world like raisins! Weird. Quite good autumn colours.
JUJUBE Zizyphus jujuba - Chinese Date, Red date
This small open, spiny, rather knarled looking deciduous shrub or small tree produces 30mm/1¼" long fleshy oblong to almost round fruit that can be eaten fresh, when they are crisp, slightly sweet (altho' fruit have 20% sugars, 16% are reducing sugars), with no acidity (acidity levels are around 4-5 %, not enough to give a marked acid note) or marked flavor, but it is usually boiled in sugar and dried. The green fruit turn a mahogony brown when ripe. It does well in hot dry areas, and fruits poorly if at all in cool summer areas. The trees are very cold tolerant, and the insignificant yellowish green flowers appear in late spring, and so are not troubled by frost. They must have free draining soil, altho' they have the virtue of tolerating some salinity and alkalinity. The trees are self fertile and highly productive in climates that suit them. The fruits usually ripen in autumn - in warm temeprate and Mediterranean climates, at least. Perhaps their greatest claim to fame is that they are an exceptional source of vitamin C - tree ripened fruit have analysed out at from 500 - 560 mg of vitamin C per 100 gram of flesh. This is one of the most outstanding amounts of any fruit. No wonder the Chinese value this fruit so highly!
Li- Large fruit. Small tree- around 4.5M/15'.
Lang- Large fruit, a little smaller than Li and ripens a month later.
Unless you are keen to have a 'health fruit' in your yard, the lack of marked flavor may not appeal. Try to find some fresh fruit to taste - if you find the fairly neutral flavor appealing, they are well worth growing.
More detailed information can be found in the California Rare Fruit Growers (Inc) very good fact sheet at:
Jujube Fact Sheet JJJJ The California Rare Fruit Growers Fact sheet traverses all elements of origin, description, growing, and gives a brief description of 18 cultivars, as well as recipes.
KAFFIR PLUM Harpephyllum caffrum- male & female trees needed, attractive but frost tender evergreen glossy leaved quite large upright growing tree.The fruits are small, with thin acid but pleasant flesh over a relatively large stone. It has high landscape values, but the fact you need two trees for fruit, plus the small amount of flesh per fruit, really mean it is suitable for collectors only.
KEI APPLE-Dovyalis caffra - 'Umbolo', 'Umokololo', 'Kaffir apple'. Kei apples are very spiny shrubs that make an excellent everything proof hedge. They have a major drawback-the hard, extremely sharp 50mm/2 inch spines are very painful, and the prunings take forever to rot, thus posing a threat to feet for many years unless every last piece has been picked up. The deep yellow small plum sized fruit fall from the female bushes (the sexes are on different plants) in late summer/autumn. They are acid, densely fleshy, with several slim fuzz covered seeds. They are not suitable for eating as a fresh fruit, but make good jam/jelly. There is said to be a thornless selection, and if it were available, this plant would be very useful for dual purpose hedging. But the normal spined plant is too dangerous to consider.
KETAMBILLA Dovyalis hebecarpa A cherry sized and shaped deep purple fruit, it hangs in profusion on the beanches of a thorny shrub. Another one of those trimmable shrubs without invasive roots that can be useful if you are careful with the thorns. It's particular virtue is that the fruit are very high in vitamin C; against that, they are very acid, and the juice can stain. It has a good pectin content, but are so acid other fruit have to be added. A "yeah, well, maybe..." fruit.
KUMQUAT Fortunella sp. A small citrus tree never exceeding 10 feet/3 metres (on dwarfing rootstock) that grows and fruits well in the subtropics. Ideal for pot culture, where it can be held as a small bushy tree. The fruit are round or oblong, and about the size of a large grape. The peel is sweet, but the flesh is acid. Meiwa is the cultivar most usually used for fresh eating
Citrus limon- A required plant for any household. If your
allows you to grow citrus, lemons are a must. The white flowers are
they have a pleasant scent, and they look great hanging with fruit. The
drawbacks are the need for free draining soil, and in wet and humid
the fruit can be affected by a fungus called verrucosis which
the fruit look scurfy. Lemons tend to flower and fruit almost
but with the main crop being over late summer, autumn and early winter.
Lemon trees grow to be large trees, producing far more lemons than the
average household could ever want. Espaliering, hedging, container
and using small varieties takes care of this 'good problem'.
Meyer-Not a 'true' lemon, but a hybrid with an unknown citrus species, Meyer produces a prodigous amount of very juicy, medium sized fruit. Its landscape values are high, in that the deep yellow fruit festooning the tree are wonderfully attractive in themselves. Meyer grows in a fairly open fashion, with long branches that droop under the weight of fruit. This makes it a good candidate for espaliering and informally hedging. It bears fruit in the first year of planting out.(US, AU)
Eureka-yellow fruit, highly acid, medium sized, very similar to Lisbon. The tree is moderately vigorous, and nearly thornless. It normally starts into fruiting at a younger age than Lisbon. As a generalisation, there is more chance of getting a fair proportion of fruit in summer with Eureka compared to Lisbon.(US, AU)
Villa Franca-very similar to Eureka, same comments apply. (US, AU)
Genoa-also similar to Eureka, but the fruit are slightly smaller, and again, the same comments apply.(US, AU)
Lisbon-yellow fruit, highly acid, medium sized, very similar to Eureka.The tree is large, dense foliaged and vigorous, with numerous long thorns, and the fruit tend to be carried within the canopy. It is more tolerant to adverse environmental conditions such as wind than the other 'true' lemons.(US, AU)
Ponderosa-Like Meyer, not a true lemon, but a hybrid, probably with the citron. The fruit are very large, have a thick to very thick skin, and are seedy and sometimes rather dry. The tree is small, large leafed, and thorny. It tends to bear year round.(US, AU)
LEMONADE- similar in appearance to a lemon, the fruit are a combination of acid and sweet. Ripe in Autumn/winter.
LIME, Citrus aurantifolia There are two main varieties of lime you can grow-the small fruited, sometimes quite seedy, highly aromatic 'mexican' lime that can be picked green or yellow; and the small lemon sized, generally seedless, pale yellow 'Bearss' lime. Mexican is also known as the 'bartender's lime', or the 'key' lime, and has that delightful aromatic lime smell. The tree is fairly thorny, and when grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock it makes a neat shrubby tree ideal for landscape use. When the fruit turn yellow, they drop from the tree, so it's a case of 'use it or lose it'. Bearss, also known in some areas as 'Tahitian' or 'Persian' lime, is a much more vigorous and spreading tree, less thorny than Mexican, with fragrant flowers, and holds on the tree for a while when ripe, but has less flavor than 'Mexican'.
Dimocarpus (syn. Euphoria) longana Closely related to the lychee,
longan forms a small, compact headed tree, often with attractive red
growth. It is amenable to pruning, and so is well suited to urban food
gardening-especially where trees need to be netted against birds or
The fruit, carried in terminal clusters, are small (about an inch/25mm
wide), round, and a dull brown color. The skin is thin and brittle, and
peels to reveal a transluscent pulp enclosing a single round, black
seed. The taste is much less perfumed than the lychee, stronger, with a
greater depth of flavor. They have a tendency to biennial bearing, and
can be erratic fruiters, as they need a 'check' in growth, either from
cold or dry conditions, or both. The trees withstand some wind, are are
more adaptable to soil and temperature range than the lychee. The fruit
mature in July and August in the Northern Hemisphere, and in January
February in the Southern Hemisphere.
The trees usually fruit within three years of being planted out. In spite of it's erratic bearing, the longan makes a good landscape tree, and is substantially trouble free. It is a favorite with fruit fly, in those areas that are subject to attack.
Longan in Australia JJJ A general overview and description of the longan in Australia, mainly from the commercial point of view, but still a good introductory fact sheet on it's requirements.
LUCUMA Pouteria obovata- A handsome upright tree that can be pruned for size control, the lucuma has a green skinned , about orange sized and shaped fruit (variable), with strange 'dry' flesh in which are embedded 3-5 very large shiny seeds. The flesh is butterscotch flavored, but too dry to eat, other than in cooking. Rarely available.
Litchi chinensis This is a most attractive landscape tree
the tropical food gardener. The tree forms a dense head, the flushes of
new growth are an attractive bronzy pink, and when it is in fruit the
of round pink/red fruit are highly decorative against the foliage. The
trees commence fruiting when still physically relatively small, and so
are easy to fit is small garden spaces. The fruit are small, about
inches/38mm wide, with an easily peeled brittle skin overlaying
juicy flesh. There is a single, shiny brown seed. The flavor is sweet
perfumed, although there are varietal differences. Young trees are
to fertiliser damage, and to cold wind. Once the trees are older, they
will stand some frost. Lychees grow well in the subtropics, but
a period of (preferably dry) cool over winter to initiate flowers.
rain over the early spring flowering period can reduce fruit set quite
dramatically. Brewster, Mauritius (Tai So), and Hak Ip are the
with good to very good flavor and with resistance to anthracnose
which damages the fruit. (Except Mauritius, which is suceptible).
The trees usually fruit
three years of being planted out. The lychee is substantially trouble
it is, however, a favorite with fruit fly, in those areas that are
Lychee Fact Sheet JJJJ The California Rare Fruit Growers Fact sheet traverses all elements of growing, propogation, and harvesting, and gives a brief description of 9 cultivars
Lychee Fruit Photo JJ and good notes on flowering can be found on the Lychee Woods site.
MANDARIN Citrus reticulata- Firstly, the name 'tangerine' has been applied to very orange-red colored mandarins cultivars- presumably as a description of the color, as much as anything else. However, to avoid confusion, it is best to stick with the correct name-'mandarin'. Without a doubt, the mandarin is one of the most valuable fruit for the small space home fruit gardener in the warm temperate areas. The trees are small to very small if grafted onto darfing or ultra dwarfing (flying dragon) rootstock, they start bearing within three years of planting out, the flowers are attractive, the tree in fruit is attractive, they don't need pruning, almost none need a pollinator, the range of flavors in the mandarins is reasonably diverse, and there are early, mid, and late season varieties to give a long fruiting season. The 'Satsuma' type mandarins from Japan comprise an early ('wase') group and a late ('unshiu') group and are probably the most cold tolerant, and suit cool summer, frost prone, and somewhat mandarin marginal areas. The earliest ripening varieties are all satsuma types. They tend to be small trees, early to come into fruiting, and prodigous croppers. The fruit colour 3 or 4 weeks before they are of good eating quality. There are a large number of types of common mandarin, with varying ripening times, peelability, fruit size, seediness, flavor, cold hardiness and regularity of bearing. Fruiting starts in early winter, with winter/early spring the main season; altho a few late varieties such as 'Encore', 'Kara', and 'Pixie' carry the season into early summer. Go for an early, mid season and late variety that is adapted to your area. Any competant nurseryperson will advise you.
see 'Nut, Macadamia'
MANGO Mangifera indica This is one of the largest and most spectacular fruit trees for the home garden. Too large, really. Home fruit growers need to allow at least 30ft/9m from building or from other trees. A mature seedling tree may have a spread of 100 ft/30m! Grafted trees, are, however, smaller, and any mango can be trimmed-quite severely if necessary. The trees are very attractive-the leaves are shiny green and contrast with the bright red new growth. When the tree flowers it is covered in light yellow panicles, and when the fruit is ripening it is hung with bunches of green/red/yellow fruit. The mango is adaptable as to soil, and as long as the growing young tree is fed regularly and watered if necessary in a dry spell, it will thrive. A poor type of mango will be fibrous, acid, and 'turpentiney'. Selected types effectively have no fibre, are intensely sweet, and with stunning depth of delicious flavor. The mango is a particularly good source of both vitamin C and carotenes. The fruit are too well known to need description. Grafted trees will begin to fruit 3 to 5 years after planting. Fruits of most varieties mature in late summer/autumn. From flower to fruit maturity takes about 100 to 130 days.Large trees will produce more fruit than most people can eat-another reason to grow a grafted tree and keep it pruned. The season is about a month long, but can be extended slightly by chosing an early and a late ripening variety- a classic strategy of the home fruit gardener. Rain when the mango is flowering can cause poor fruit set. The fungus disease 'Anthracnose' attacks the flowers, the fruitlets and soft growth. Not only can it prevent adequate fruit set by damaging flowers, fruit that do mature may rot. Anthracnose can be a problem in the wettest areas. The commercial solution is to keep a spray cover on the plants from flowering to fruit pick; given the size of the tree and the busy lives we lead, this is unrealistic for the urban fruit gardener. The only other significant problem is fruit fly and fruit bats in those areas prone to these pests. Varieties are limited to what is commercially available, but include Haden, Pirie, Kensington Pride, Early Gold, Saigon, Glenn, Tommy Atkins, Keitt. The last 5 cultivars are moderately resistant to anthracnose, and 'Haden' is suceptible.
Mango variety photos - around 50 fruits in full vcolor high quality photos, by Ian McGuire, of the University of Florida.
4 best mango cvs for Florida gardeners- The curator of Faircild Tropical Gardens rates these 4 cultivars the best choice for Florida on a number of grounds. Notes and photos.
Mangoes in Texas A very good fact sheet on varieties and culture of mangoes for Texas home gardeners, from the Agriculture Extension Service.
Mangoes in California - the first rate California Rare Fruit Growers fact sheet on elements of growing and caring for mangoes, and very brief notes on about 30 cultivars.
MARULA- Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra- 'Elephant tree' This tree grows only in subequatorial Africa where it's fruit are highly sought after by elephants. The fruit is said to contain four times more Vitamin C than an orange. The sweetened flesh is fermented and distilled to make 'Amarula Cream', which is highly sought after by humans.The seed is said to be delicous, and oily. I have no information other than the Israeli notes below on the size or growing conditions for the tree. Grow it as a talking point if you can find it.
Marula JJJ The Kew Botanic gardens database entry from the 'SEPASAL' database-the 'survey of economic plants for arid and semi arid lands'. There is a photograph of the fruit, and extensive, but cryptic, notes on distribution, uses, and so forth.
Domesticating Marula JJJJ A report of Israeli experience of growing Marula in the Negev desert under irrigation. B& W photo of tree and fruit.
PAPAYA Carica pubescens-'Ababai', 'Chamburro'. There are
species of 'mountain papaya', as the name is really a 'catch all' to
Andean papaya species from the tropical papaya of commerce. Certainly,
the most common mountain papaya in USA and Australasia in C.pubescens
which has, by default, come to be regarded as 'the' mountain papaya.
papaya species is adapted to the cold, but not frosty cloud forests of
the Andes. The 'trees' are striking, having one or more 'trunks' topped
with large, lobed leaves that are pubescent underneath. Plants may be
female, or hermaphrodite. They can also change sex. The dumpy 75mm/3
fruit have 5 fleshy ridges and are a dull yellow when ripe. In the
Papaya/Pawpaw of commerce, the fleshy fruit wall is eaten, and the
in the cavity discarded. The opposite is true for the mountain papaya.
The fruit wall is too dense and tough to be eaten fresh, and while
has no sweetness. The seed cavity, in contrast, has it's numerous seeds
embedded in a very sweet and aromatic pulp, and it is this part that is
eaten. The mountain papaya has high landscape values where it can be
from heavy frost, it produces well, the inconspicuous greeny-yellow
are fragrant at night, and the fruit are aromatic and very pleasantly
on the other hand, the large numbers of seeds are intrusive, and the
has to be swallowed whole, seeds and all, with minimum chewing to avoid
crunching seeds. The fruit walls can be used if they are cooked in a
sugar syrup, but who could be bothered?
Chamburro, C.stipulata, is another Andean mountain species, but is rarely encountered in the West. It is similar to C.pubescens, but the trunk of the 'trees' is covered in short stout 'thorns', the flowers are deep yellow, the fruit is larger, at about 100mm long, it does not have the fleshy ridges on the fruit, it is not sweet, has a relatively soft fruit wall, and it's very high papain content precludes it from being eaten fresh, even if you wanted to. Like C.pubescens, it is cooked in sugar syrup in South America, and it very acceptable prepared this way. But again, why bother?
Other mountain papaya species include-C.parviflora, knee high plant, tiny bright orange fruit, stunning purple flowers, not enough fruit substance to be edible; C.quercifolia-large and vigorous approximately oak-leaf shaped leaves and narrow 50mm/2 inch torpedo shaped orange fruit with extremely thin and tender skin that can be eaten whole and are rather pleasant, if variable, C.goudotiana, a very tropical single stemmed hansome purplish plant with fruit similar to C.pubescens, but rather drier and without any real sweetness or flavor. There are also hybrids of these species to be found in arboreta and in the few tenuously remaining amateur rare fruit collections left in the world.
NARANJILLA Solanum quitoense Literally 'little orange', the small (a bit bigger than golf ball size) orange fruit are covered in a dense covering of stiff hairs which have to be rubbed off before use. The fruit pulp is a striking lime green, but has no sugar. It is usually made into a drink, using lashings of sugar. The plant is highly suceptible to root rot, and does best in a very well drained rich, organic soil. The plant itself has very large. rather furry purple veined leaves with thorn like spines all along the midribs. There is also a thornless version. The plants themselves need semi shade, are extremely handsome, grow only a metre or two high, and will fruit in the first year of planting out. They must be well watered in the dry times of year, and preferable well mulched.
MACADAMIA Macadamia integrifolia, M.tetraphylla- Macadamia
nuts are an excellent tree for the hominids food garden. The nuts are
nutritious. The commercial growers go for nuts with high oil content
low sugar content-low sugar so the nuts don't caramelise when they are
toasted. The urban hominid should go for nuts with a high sugar
then dry them rather than toast or roast them. Dried, they keep for
a year before there is any rancidity. Grafted trees are better than
grown trees, as cutting grown trees sometimes are blown over once they
have become fairly tall. Macadamias can be pruned for convenience, and
if left alone, some varieties can become very large and spreading.
derived from M.tetraphylla are the sweetest, and have the
advantage of having a husk which splits well, releasing the nut. The
of tetraphylla cultivars have a slightly ''prickly' margin.
of M.integrifolia have lower sugar, smooth leaves, and tend not
to release the nut from the husk, meaning they have to be hand picked.
The long racemes of pale purplish pink or white flowers are wonderfully
fragrant and abundant. Some cultivars have attractive reddish or bronze
Any other than a poorly drained soil will do. Cross pollination is essential, or nut numbers will be in the ones or twos per raceme, instead of hanging in bunches. Macadamias are loved by rats, and immature fruit can be damaged by piercing and sucking bugs. Other than that they are pretty care free.
NUT, WALNUT, ANDEAN Juglans honoreii This fast growing evergreen Juglans species is from the relative calm and frost free sub tropical Andes. It is frost tender, and, like the Pecan, suceptible to branches and the growing tip being broken in wind. Under warm temperate Southern Hemisphere conditions it produces it's nuts in winter, in June and July. It is uncertain yet how well adapted this tree may be to the subtropics. It is certainly worth a try.
The advantage of the
walnut is that it is a walnut that may fruit in parts or all of the
where no other walnut will fruit; it fruits well; it is self fertile;
comes into bearing from seed within about five or six years; and it has
large nuts that are moderately well filled. The biggest disadvantage is
that the nut does not fall free of the husk and 'clings' to the nut.
means the almost tennis ball sized 'fruit' (fleshy husk plus the
'nut' in the middle) have to be collected and piled up for the husk to
rot off. The olivey green to brown fruits turn dark brown as the husk
down, and the fleshy part becomes black and soft and spongy. Nuts
and rotting on paved areas would be unattractive, although the
husks don't seem to stain the hands, at least.
Once cleaned, the round golf-ball sized nuts can be dried. Their shell is very thick heavy, and they are not easy to open. Once open, the kernel is also difficult to remove from the shell. The kernel itself is blandly pleasant.
ORANGE Citrus sinensis Oranges are cheap in the supermarkets, nevertheless the orange is an excellent landscape tree- attractive form, small size, scented flowers, decorative fruit, trimmable. In addition, if you use orange peel in recipes, you can be sure your own oranges will be free of waxes, colouring, and fungicides. So long as the trees are watered and/or mulched in summer, given regular small doses of complete fertiliser throughout the year, and the surface feeder roots are kept from damage, productivity with minimum effort is assured. Conversely, oranges are shallow rooted, and cannot be allowed to become too dry. In some of the hotter areas oranges don't attain a true orange color, and remain a wishy washy yellow-green even when ripe, as ambient temperatures are too high for proper color developement. In areas where the temperature drops below 60ºF/15.5ºC the fruit develop full color. Citrus need a little complete proprietary complete citrus fertiliser regularly. The best prevention for various trace element deficiencies which citrus seem prone to is to use composted animal manures such as pelletised chicken manure under the trees-and a good organic mulch.
Marrs-a medium to large orange, often seedy. It is sweet and juicy, but lacks the acidity essential for depth of flavor unless it is left to hang late on the tree. It has the advantage of being a small tree, and starting into fruit at an early age.
Parson Brown- a medium sized, juicy, sweet orange on an upright, vigorous tree.
Pineapple-medium sized fruit with very good flavor, but they don't 'hold' on the tree, have a tendency to alternate bearing, and in 'semi tropical' areas such as coastal/southern Florida, it is suceptible in 'historic freezes'.
Valencia-medium to large juicy, sweet fruit, bearing heavily on a large upright tree. It tends to alternate bearing, and often 're-greens' in summer (rind loses it's color), altho' re-greening has no effect on sweetness or juiciness.
Seville-a medium sized tree bearing prodigious quantities of attractive but very sour oranges whose sole purpose is to make the superb, slightly bitter, seville orange marmalade.
OTAHEITE GOOSEBERRY Phyllanthus acidus - 'Grosella', 'Cheremai' Whever the colonialists went, they looked for fruit that reminded them of 'home'-in this case, the gooseberry. This small, pinnate leaved tree produces clusters of fruit in racemes on the mature shoots and along the young branchlets. The fruit are about the size of a very large grape (or a gooseberry!), greeny yellow when ripe, waxy, and ribbed.There is a large 'stone'. As it's name suggests, it is very acid, and is cooked with sugar as a gooseberry substitute. In Florida the tree is sometimes subject to extensive and disfiguring catipillar damage. Improved forms are sometimes available. There are seperate (fruitless) pollenizing male plants and (fruiting) female flowers, so you need two trees of the right sex to get fruit-a disadvantage if you are trying to maximize useful production in a small space.
OYSTER NUT Telfaria pedata more a large edible gourd seed than a nut, this is a rampaging climber, going to 50 feet or more. The trees they grow up are eventually smothered...The sexes are on seperate plants, so at least three plants are needed to get a better than even chance of one at least being female, but you won't know for 2 years because it takes that long before they flower.The females produce large gourd like fruit up to 50cms long and containing as many as 150 edible seeds ('nuts). The seeds are excellent, with a high oil content and a taste similar to hazels.Not a practical propostion for most urban hominids, even if they are the kind of food our distant African ancestors would have eaten.
Carica papaya 'Pawpaw'. This is one of the best fruits for the
garden. The papaya is relatively short-lived-it is actually classified
as a herbaceous plant, not a shrub or tree-but fast-growing plant about
10ft/3m high, usually with a single stem. The plants take up very
space, are handsome, and are wonderfully productive. There are seperate
male and female plants, and you won't know which is which until your
start to flower- which is why it is best to grow three plants close
hope to get a plant of each sex.Female flowers have short stalks and a
swollen, fleshy base within the petals. Male flowers are in panicles of
many small flowers on the end of a long stem. Some cultivars, however,
have a tendency to have both male and female flowers on the same
'Solo' strain is well known for this. So long as they are watered in
spells, given regular fertiliser and full sun, papayas will produce
crops of fine quality fruit. Papaya must have good drainage, or they
get root rot and collapse. Strains of the variety 'Matsumoto' are said
to be more tolerant of wetter conditions. In the wettest areas, the
disease 'anthracnose' can be a problem. It causes sunken circular spots
on the ripening fruit. It can be largely prevented by spraying, but it
is not really worth the effort. Fruit fly is either a relatively minor,
or quite a major problem, depending on the species of fruit fly present
in your country. Usually the fly can't successfully lay eggs under the
skin of the fruit because of the milky latex present in unripe fruit.
the point where the fruit are just coming to maturity, this latex
the fruit can be 'stung'. In areas where fruit fly are problematical it
may be better to pick the fruit just as they show signs of maturity,
allow the fruit to ripen indoors. The only other major problem is
virus', which is spread by aphids. This causes a decline in vigor, and
low productivity and fruit quality. The only cure is to start again
new plants. Virus resistant varieties are currently being developed.
Waimanolo/Waimanolo Solo starts bearing very quickly, even when it is only 3ft/1m or so tall. The orange/yellow fleshed fruit yellow skinned when ripe, are pretty much round, with a short neck and weigh 1lb to 2lb 4oz/450gms to 1.1kg. The flavor and sweetness is good, and they keep particularly well.
Sunrise Solo has smaller fruit than 'Waimanolo', with reddish orange flesh with a high sugar content. The fruit are pear-shaped and about 1½lb /680gms. Plants start to fruit very quickly after setting out, and will have their first mature fruit only 9 months after planting and still only 3ft/1m high.
Sunset (Sunset Solo) like 'Sunrise', this plant is small (to 8ft/2.4m), starts bearing early and is high yielding. The fruit are also pear-shaped, small to medium-sized, with orange-red skin and similar coloured very sweet flesh.
Mexican Red is a medium sized to very large fruit (up to 15 inches/38cm or more long) with pinky red flesh. Very productive, starts flowering when it is only 24in/60cm high, but it is not as sweet as Hawaiian types.
Mexican Yellow a medium to large fruit (up to 10lb/4.5kg) yellow fleshed papaya which is very sweet and flavorful, yellow-fleshed papaya.
Watermelon papaya is a generic name used in the West for any very large, long papaya fruit, usually either yellow or red fleshed and sweet, it probably includes various Asian and mexican cultivars.
Papaya in Hawaii JJJJ A commercially oriented advisory from the Department of Horticulture, University of Hawaii, nevertheless there is excellent information on all aspects of culture, varieties, and pests and diseases.
BANANA Passiflora antioquensis. P.mollisima and P.mixta.
The name 'banana passionfruit' is most often given to either P.mollisima
or P.mixta. All three have torpedo shaped yellowish fruit. P.mollisima
and P.mixta are exceptionally vigorous, and the fruit quality
not particularly good-both lack sugar. Because of their rampaging
P.mollisima and P.mixta can smother other plants, and
can't be recommended for the urban garden.
P.antioquensis, in complete contrast, has very low vigor, and often dies out for no discernable reason. It may prefer at least some shade-indeed, it is said to be suitable as an indoor plant. The flowers are very attractive, and the fruit is one of the very nicest of all the passionfruit. The pulp is sweet, perfumed and opaque creamy white. Although it can be difficult to grow, it is worth the effort.
PURPLE Passiflora edulis This fast growing vine is
very easy care, and quite ornamental with it's dark green, glossy
and interesting purple and white fringed flowers. The vine needs
to climb on, a trellis, wires, a shed-all will do. The fruit are a bit
bigger than golf ball size, purple skinned, and produced in profusion.
They are ready when they fall from the vine. The fruit are excellent at
this stage, but become even sweeter and more flavored if they are
and allowed to shrivel slightly. Fruit have to be collected from the
regularly, because they can sunburn. Rootrot is the main problem, and
only cure is prevention. Grow Passionfruit in well drained soil. They
aren't long lived, and can be replaced after 5 or 6 years. Give the
a dressing of a balanced fertiliser several times a year.
Passionfruit in Australia JJJ A good page, mainly on commercial varieties (hybrids of P.edulis and P. edulis var flavicarpa in the main) describing culture and types. Commercially oriented, but still very useful. From the Department of Primary Industry, Queensland.
Passionfruit in West Australia JJJ A good quick overview of passionfruit culture in subtropical areas, also commercially oriented, but nevertheless with useful notes on new Australian varieties. From Agriculture Western Australia.
Further 'farm notes' cover the subject in more detail-
Fertiliser and watering JJJ
Trellising and pruning JJJ Includes 3 clear diagrams of three trellissing systems
Pests and diseases J Very brief notes on the main pests in Western Australia
PASSIONFRUIT, YELLOW Passiflora edulis var.flavicarpa- 'Golden passionfruit', 'Hawaiian passionfruit' . The yellow form is identical in all respects to the purple plant, except that the fruit are a mid yellow color, and often slightly smaller. They withstand some less than ideal soil conditions better than the purple form. The yellow passionfruit grown in many tropical areas may be different from the true P.edulis var. flavicarpa because it is larger than even the purple form, has a thicker fruit wall, and a slightly more acid flavor. The foliage is lighter, and larger. In addition, it is self infertile, requiring two plants to be present for cross pollination, whereas the purple passionfruit is self fertile.
Passionfruit pollination - JJJJ an extensive note on the pollination requirements of P. edulis, and particularly P. edulis flavicarpa.
PASSIONFRUIT, SWEET GRANADILLA Passiflora ligularis -This very vigorous vine has somewhat heart shaped leaves and very attractive large white and purple fringed flowers. It requires something fairly strong to climb up, and will reward you with orange or browny orange almost round fruit, sometimes blushed purple, about half way between golf ball and tennis ball sized, with a brittle fruit wall enclosing opaque white pulp that is sweet, perfumed and aromatic.
PASSIONFRUIT, HARD SHELL PASSIONFRUIT Passiflora maliformis 'Sweet Calabash'.This is a small vine, reaching only 20ft/6m. The flowers are very pretty, white and purple, and fringed. The fruit are small-about,or a bit less than, golf ball size. They are dusky yellow when ripe. The fruit are amazingly hard-it takes a hammer to break them open. The reward is a slightly musky, perfumed and aromatic delicious sweet opaque pulp. The seed is hard to find, but worth growing for it's restraint, flowers, connoisser flavor, and bizarre impenetrability.
GIANT GRANADILLA Passiflora quadrangularis This is the
and king of all passionfruit-at least in terms of size. The fruit can
as big as a melon! They fruit virtually year round, and in the best
a single vine can produce upward of a hundred fruit. The plants are
growers, reaching 50ft/15m, and in equatorial areas they can grow as
as 150ft/45m! The flowers are very large, spectacular with purple and
filaments against the red sepals. The fruit are up to 12in/30cm long,
turning greeny orange when ripe. The pulp is purple, sweet/acid,
but not outstanding. Unless you have lots of space, or a strong hobby
it is better to grow a smaller species such as the purple passionfruit.
PASSIONFRUIT, OBSCURE & RARE SPECIES Of the 400 wild species, only a few are in cultivation as fruit, and effectively only one commercially. And then in very small amounts. Many species have edible fruit, or greater or lesser worth. Details of a few of the edible species are at this commercial site.-
Passiflora - JJJ Seed for sale of over a dozen different edible passionfruits, some very rare, plus cultivars of p.edulis; with brief descriptions.
Passionfruit species JJJ Brief notes on 13 species of passiflora, including some rare species. From an ethnobotanical, rather than home gardeneing perspective, but the photos of the fruit are worth a look alone.
PASSIONFRUIT, WATER LEMON Passiflora laurifolia 'Jamaican Honeysuckle', 'Bell Apple'.A vigorous vine, growing up to 50ft/15m in the Equatorial tropics. The plant is handsome, with oblong, shiny leaves, and very fragrant purple filamented flowers. The fruit are about the size and shape of a hen's egg, and are deep yellow, almost orange tinged, when ripe. The white pulp is rather thin and watery, but it is sweet, and aromatic.
peach does best where there is a hot dry summer climate, but it still
some winter chilling, albeit much less than apple or pear. The peach
the least chilling requirement is the peento peach from southern China.
It is in fact almost evergreen. In humid coastal areas they are subject
to fungal diseases, chiefly leaf curl, which causes defoliation, and
rot, which rots the fruit just at or before maturity. A single copper
at leaf drop largely takes care of leaf curl, but preventing brown rot
requires some fairly staunch fungicides applied every few weeks of the
season, and applied thoroughly. The best strategy for the urban food
in the subtropics is to keep the trees healthy with excellent
grow less suceptible varieties, and hope for a dryish spring and
Removing infected fruit also helps keep the infective spore load down.
Growing Pejibaye - JJJ from the Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm climates'. Covers Description, Origin and Distribution, varieties, suitable climates and soils, propagation, culture, harvesting, pests and diseases and more. Concise, informative. 3 good photos of fruit and the palm
PINEAPPLE Ananas commosus So cheap it is hardly worth growing your self. But, if you do, follow the link below-
The Pineapple JJJJ A good fact sheet at the Californian Rare fruit growers site, covering all aspects of growing pineapples, plus notes on varieties. Written for USA conditions, but widely applicable.
Growing Pineapples- JJJJ from the Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University Site, an extract from Julia Morton's Book 'Fruits of warm climates'. Covers Description, Origin and Distribution, varieties, suitable climates and soils, propagation, culture, harvesting, pests and diseases and more. Concise, informative. 2 good photos of fruit
PITOMBA Eugenia luschnathiana A slow growing small bushy tree that one day may reach 30 feet in ideal conditions. In areas of calcareous soils, such as Southern Florida, it commonly suffers from micro element deficiencies. The more-or-less round fruit are bright orangy-yellow, about an inch in diameter, with soft, juicy, slightly acid pulp. Seedlings take a long time to fruit, so either buying grafted plants where they are available, or not bothering, is the best idea.
Citrus maxima [C.grandis, C.decumana] 'Shaddock', the
is closely related to the grapefruit (C.paradisi) . The pummelo
is is the largest kind of citrus fruit there is. The fruit are
large, with rather coarse flesh and thick skin. Because of it's lower
content and firm flesh, the fruit segments are seperated, and the outer
membrane is removed from the segments, leaving only the coarse flesh
There are many varieties, mostly of South EastAsian origin, with flesh
that varies from yellow to deep red, and from acid and inedible to
Some varieties are very seedy, others are virtually seedless. The trees
are equally variable- thornless, thorny; round topped, open; small,
Chandler is a vigorous, red fleshed cultivar with good sugar:acid
that is usually available.
RARE FRUIT - there are gazillions of species, ecotypes, and forms of fruit plants that could be grown, but, for a wide variety of reasons, rarely are. For further information, thrash around in the sites listed below, or use the search facility on top of the index (or any good search engine).
Pacific Coast Tropical Gardens JJJ
Tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate fruit seeds, most are rare and wild species. Includes short descriptions and advisory.
Desert Tropicals JJJ
Good fact sheets on 'Cherry of the rio grande' (eugenia aggregata), 'Grumichama' (E.brasiliensis), 'Imbe' (Garcinia livingstoneii), 'Velvet apple' (Diospyros discolor), and several other rare fruit, as well as a good selection of fruit plants for hot and arid areas.
Camu Camu JJ
Several paragraphs on the distribution of Camu-camu, Myrciaria dubia, the fruit richest in vitamin C, and it's nutritional value and uses. Includes a picture of the berries.
Camu Camu and Rum Berry JJJJ
A very good page from Purdue University on both these minor Mycriaria species, including a nice picture of the rum berry, M.floribunda
ROLLINIA Rollinia deliciosa 'Biriba' This is a small (6-10 metres), easily grown, fast fruiting tree which has the virtue of not needing hand pollination to set fruit, unlike some other members of the same family. The globe shaped fruit are about cherimoya size, yellow when ripe, and with juicy, sweet, somewhat off-putting mucilaginous flesh. The seedlings are very variable in quality, and improved selections would have to be made to make them worthwhile compared to the closely related atemoyas, cherimoyas, and sugar apples.
SURINAM CHERRY Eugenia uniflora 'Pitanga', 'Brazilian cherry'.A very useful plant for the home food garden, because it is a small leafed, wiry stemmed bushy tree or a large shrub (with small creamy white flowers), and won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. It can also be clipped into a fruiting hedge. The bronzy red tender new growth is quite attractive. The juicy fruit is small, thin skinned, about 1-1½ inches/3-4 cms wide, vaguely roundish, with 8 deep grooves running longitudinally, and with a fairly large stone. The fruit is very variable, most trees producing clusters of acid red fruit, and with some producing rather resinous, unpleasant fruit. The best types are mild, aromatic, subacid and sweet, with a melting quality. Fruit color varies from red to almost black. Selected varieties can be hard to find. 'Lorver' and 'Westree' are two very good flavored cultivars in USA. They can bear fruit almost year round in the right climate, but there is usually a main crop around 'spring'. Fruiting usually begins 2 or 3 years after planting.
- A cross between a mandarin and (usually) a grapefruit or
a pummelo. They are somewhere between an orange and a grapefruit in
Tangeloes fruit better when there is a mandarin (not another tangelo)
to pollinate them. Tangeloes make a medium to large sized tree in time,
and will bear far more fruit than you would want to eat, given that
tangeloes have quite a bit of acid in them. The fruit tend to be seedy,
and very juicy. They peel fairly well. The bright orange red fruit are
very ornamental, and the white flowers, like most citrus,
The fruit mature in late winter/spring. There is a good arguement for
rather than growing this fruit.
Minneola-the common commercial tangelo. The fruit are highly colored, with a prominent neck, and are carried on a vigorous tree.
Orlando-is difficult to peel, seedy, juicy, and sweet.
Seminole-is moderately easy to peel, soft, extremely juicy (messy to eat), and has to change from orange-red to orange-yellow before it is ripe. Picked too soon it is very acid, when dead ripe it has very high , sugars along with the acidity.
UGLI Possibly a hybrid of a grapefruit and a mandarin (and therefore is strictly a type of tangelo), the Ugli forms a larger tree than most mandarins. The fruit are large, with very thick, often deeply corrugated, pale orange skin, but easy peel. It is sometimes a little difficult to pick exactly when they are ripe-they are acid when they are underripe, and they dry out quickly if they are overipe.Definitely worth a place in a collection, but not at the expense of a mandarin.
UVALHA Eugenia uvalha (Sp. lit 'little grape') A typical subtropical eugenia, the Uvalha is a slow growing, narrow leafed, Myrtaceous 'powder puff' creamy-white flowered small shrubby tree. As long as the previous winter has been particularly mild, In mid summer it bears (usually meagerly) yellow 2.5cm/1 inch diameter fruit that are pleasant and slightly acid. There is a single, pea sized seed. The tree is slightly frost hardy. However, it takes a long time to come into fruit from seed, maybe ten years, and so is best left to the very interested.
WAMPI Clausenia wampi- A useful plant for the home food garden, because it is a moderate sized tree (eventually growing to around 8 metres/26 feet) and won't form massive roots that can damage paved areas, and because it will remain fruitful even when trimmed to fit into a narrow space, such as a border. The large grape sized fruit are pale yellow with transluscent, jelly like flesh., and hang in panicles of 6-8 fruit. Some forms are acid, and others sweet.