As I have supplied several seedlings of this tree for the Club’s raffle, I therefore presume people may be wanting cultural information.
We planted our Canistel almost immediately after purchasing it from Daleys in 2004, along with another unknown variety I received from work colleague. The first flowers appeared in 2008, and first fruit in 2009. Both trees are in our north facing front garden on a shallow soil over medium clay, in an area which is low on the block, and tends to get very wet when we have heavy rain, often taking several days to drain. I haven’t had a strict watering regime, and the last couple of years of sudden rain have caused the fruit to split. The fruit must be eaten (or frozen) immediately they become ripe, as they lose vitality very quickly – 24 hours, the skin become darker and they start to give off a smell of rotting fruit. I have eaten them out of hand, or made a sort of bread or cake (which was provided to the Club’s supper table). It is very difficult to tell when fruit will become ripe, the colour is fairly consistent through ripening, and the fruit does not give to the touch until completely (the day it is) ripe. The only apparent pests on our tree are ants which bring scale and aphids to the fruit and fruit bearing branches. I usually try and hose these pests off with some success (not the scale). Our tree is fairly small, my aim is to keep it that way by judicious pruning. There is a very large specimen in the Brisbane Mount Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha to remind me just how big they can get. The following information is a selection taken from http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/ab777e/ab777e06.htm (9 Feb 2012) Our tree’s growth habit pretty much conforms to this information. The uses section was very welcome.
The synonym of this species is Lucuma nervosa A. DC. Ref: Russell Reinhardt
This fruit tree belongs to the Sapotaceae family. It is a native of Mexico and has been introduced into the Philippines and later to other Southeast Asian countries including Thailand where it has been found growing as a collectors plant in home gardens in some villages in the North and Northeastern regions.
3.1 Vernacular names
The English names are canistel, egg-fruit, and yellow sapote. Tiesa, canistel, (Philippines); lamut khamen, khe maa, to maa (Thailand).
3.2 General description
Lamut khamen is a medium sized evergreen tree 12-20 m tall and with a 25-60 cm wide trunk. The dark grey bark is finely ribbed and 4-5 mm thick. It is rich in white gummy latex in every part of the tree. The branches are mainly horizontal. The leaves whorl at the tips of the branches, are obovate-elliptic, 6-25 × 2.5-8 cm in size, glossy, bright green, and tapering towards both ends. The petioles are 5-25 cm long. Flowers are axillary borne in the lower leaves. They are solitary or clustered and fragrant. The pedicel is 5-12 mm long. The fruit is a spindle shaped to ovoid, obovoid or subglobose berry, often beaked at the apex with a thin, tough, waxy smooth, yellow skin. The flesh is more or less musky aromatic, moist or dryish, mealy and very sweet with 1-5 seeds. The glossy brown seeds are ovoid and 4-5 × 1.5-2 cm in size.
3.3 Propagation and Agronomy
Lamut khamen is usually propagated from seeds. The seeds lose viability quickly and should be germinated within a few days after removal from the fruit. Seedlings grow fast and may produce fruit in 3-4 years. Vegetative propagation such as grafting can be done and the grafted plants can produce fruit in 2-3 years. Trees tend to flower over an extended period, as the dry season progresses in the tropics. In some areas the trees may flower intermittently throughout the year. Fruit ripens 5-6 months after bloom.
3.4 Uses After removal of the skin and seeds, the fruit may be eaten as a sweet fruit, or as a vegetable with salt and pepper, lemon juice or mayonnaise. Blended with milk and nutmeg, it makes a highly nutritious cold beverage. It may be added to custards and to ice-cream before freezing. The flesh can be dehydrated, powdered and employed as a rich food additive. The edible portion constitutes up to 70 percent of fruit weight, the fruit is rich in carbohydrates, carotene and niacin.
http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/ab777e/ab777e06.htm (9 Feb 2012)