This is a widely distributed shrub from Madagascar and Africa and it’s found widely through the tropics. The leaves are shiny and from 7-20cm long and are pale green in colour and are opposite on the branches. At fruiting time, small greenish white flowers are borne in clusters in the axils of the leaves and from these round to pear shaped fruit develop which can be up to 5cm and contain 4 or 5 large seeds. The fruit at full maturity is green smooth and has white dots, but if allowed to remain on the bush after maturity eventually the fruits shrivel and become brown in colour. At this stage the flavour is suggestive of the tamarind. You can also eat the fruit when it is fresh at full maturity and it is sweet and sub-acid suggesting an unripe or greenish apple. The shrubs are reported to be quite drought tolerant and seemingly well adapted for a wide variety of soil. Propagation is easily accomplished by cuttings or planting seeds and there has been little if any selection of superior varieties. Cold hardiness is unknown, but it should definitely be tried.
Gene Joyner Palm Beach County Co-op Ext. Service
Sub-Tropical Fruit Club of Qld. Inc Newsletter June – July 2007