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An encyclopedia of 556 edible fruits of the world.

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FOREST TOAD TREE_Tabernaemontana ventricosa

By parmarch28/12/20180

FOREST TOAD TREE
(Tabernaemontana ventricosa)

A forest toad tree shrub in full bloom

Family: Tabernaemontana 
Common names 
: bospaddaboom, Khamamasane

Forest toad tree is a native of Sothern Africa.  It grows in riverine forests and the forest understoreys in the coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal. It is also found in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The fruits which are edible, are  paired.   These are covered in light brown warts resembling a toad’s skin, hence the common name forest toad tree.

Description:

This is a small to medium-sized tree which can attain a maximum height of 15 m, but averages between 4 and 8 m. It has a single, slender, straight trunk with smooth grayish-brown bark. The tree is low branching with smooth, dark green young branches turning a pale brown when mature.

Developing fruits and foliuage of forest toad tree

The flowers are salver-shaped, white and sweet scented. 

The fruits are pods, usually two joined at the base. They are dark green and smooth, sometimes with wrinkles and light green speckles or markings. They split open to reveal fleshy orange pulp with embedded seeds in June to August.

Utilization:

The ripe orange pulp is edible and fondly taken by local people.

Ripe and ready to eat fruits of forest toad tree

The bark of this tree is said to be used for bringing down a fever and the sap can be used to treat wounds and sore eyes.. The wood is suitable for using as planks.  It is said to be insect-proof.

Cultivation:

This small to medium- sized evergreen tree with its dark green leaves and large dark green fruit will make an attractive addition to your garden. The tree prefers full to semi-shade, but can withstand a certain amount of sunlight. It requires a moderate amount of water. This tree is frost sensitive, preferring more tropical areas with mild winters. It can easily be grown from seed and grows relatively fast.

Input from:

Lou-Nita Le Roux
Lowveld National Botanical Garden, South Africa.

RED BUSH APPLE_Syzigium suborbiculare

By parmarch28/12/20180

RED BUSH APPLE 
(Syzigium suborbiculare)

A tree of red bush apple

Family: Myrtaceae

Other names: Forest satinash, lady apple.

Red bush apple is a wild growing fruit from Northern Australia and Papua New Guinea.  It is belied to have originated somewhere in this region only.  The fruits, which are of good quality, are eaten by aboriginals.  These are, however, not yet sold commercially.

Description:

A large broad evergreen tree growing up to 12-15m; bark flaky on the trunk and the initially smooth branchlets becoming scaly with age

            Leaves smooth, opposite, thick, leathery, variable in shape, orbicularoblongovate, elliptical or lanceolate, usually quite large about 7-19 x 4-13 cm; petioles about 0.7-3.4 cm long; oil dots sparse to numerous; midrib slightly grooved, depressed or flush with the upper surface.

Red bush apple flower

            Flowers white, calyx tube (hypanthium) + pedicel about 14-30 mm long, calyx tube (hypanthium) about 8-18 mm diam., calyx lobes rounded, dimorphic, inner larger, about 6-15 mm long, petals orbicular or oblong about 12-24 x 12-20 mm, oil dots numerous, more than 100 per petal; outer staminal filaments about 18-45 mm long, glandular, anthers about 1.1-2.1 x 0.4-0.7 mm, gland terminal, near the back of the anther; ovules about 25-65 per locule, placentas axile, central, ovules radiating, ascendingstyle about 20-55 mm long, approximating or exceeding the stamens.

            Fruits depressed globularglobular or ovoid, about 30-70 x 35-90 mm, often conspicuously longitudinally ribbed, calyx lobes persistent, about 6-13 mm long, red, fleshy.

Red bush apple foliage

Seed solitary, large, about 30-55 mm diam., testa free from the pericarp but adhering to the rugose surface of the cotyledons by numerous peg-like intrusions; cotyledonsuniformly textured except for the peripheral layer, stipules small and inconspicuous; radicle basal or latera

Utilization:

Red bush apple fruits are edible and eaten in very large quantities by the aboriginals. Their sharp pleasant tang of the fruits is very much appreciated by visitors too.

Fruits of red bush apple

            The fruits are said to possess medicinal properties.  The aborigines use the fruit for colds and chest congestion.  They also squeeze the juice and pulp into their ears to relieve earache.

Cultivation:

Red bush apple fruits are collected from the wild.  This fruit has still not brought under cultivation despite its popularity. However, the trees seem to be growing nicely on well drained or sandy tropical and woodland soils in the top end of Australia.

            New plants can be raised from seed.

BRUSH CHERRY_Syzygium paniculatum

By parmarch28/12/20180

BRUSH CHERRY 
(Syzygium paniculatum)

Brush cherry tree

Family: Myrtaceae

Other names: Magenta cherry, scrub cherry.

Brush cherry is a fruit from Australia.  It is native to the rainforests of the East Coast of Australia. This is widely grown as a specimen or small shade tree in south eastern Australia.  It is also suitable for streetscape planting.  Brush cherry has now spread to many parts of the world.

Brush cherry fruits

Description:

Brush cherry is a short or medium sized tree, with flaky bark that can grow upto a height of 10 m; leaves opposite (each pair emerging from the stem at the same location but on opposing sides), lance-shaped or elliptical, and bright, glossy green.; flowers are white, showy and very pretty.

Flowers of brush cherry

            Fruits a berry, 20 mm long, ovoid, fleshy and magenta coloured.  The fruits contain a large seed. 

Uses:

The fruits are crispy, juicy, and sweet tasting and make wonderful jam.

Bearing in brush cherry

Cultivation:

The tree prefers subtropical climate but can withstand upto 25 F. The tree likes plenty of moisture all the year round.  It can grow in sun as well as in part shade.  This plant requires a rich soil.

Propagation is mostly my seed.  Some superior selections are, however, also raised from cuttings taken from firm current season’s growth.

JAMNU_Syzigium fruiticosum

By parmarch28/12/20180

JAMNU
(Syzigium fruiticosum)

A tree of jamnu

English name: Wild jamun.

            This is a large evergreen tree.  It grows mostly wild in North India but is also planted along the roads or as a wind break around the orchards.

A close up of a jamnu tree

            The fruits are edible but smaller in size than jamun (Syzigium cumunii).  These are shaped like dates and dark purple in colour.  The flesh is also purple and is somewhat astringent at maturity.  Some seedlings may bear larger fruits too.

Jamnu fruits

            The fruits are collected by villagers or petty traders.  There is a lot of demand for the seeds which are prescribed in Ayurveda as a medicine for diabetes.  Sometimes the fruits are dried by these traders alongwith the pulp for sale to the dealers of Indian herbal drugs.

WHITE APPLE_Syzigium eucalyptoides

By parmarch28/12/20180

WHITE APPLE
(Syzigium eucalyptoides)

A tree of white apple

Family: Myrtaceae

Synonym: Syzygium eucalyptoides ssp. eucalyptoides; Syzygium eucalyptoides ssp. bleeseri.

Other names:  White bush apple

White apple is a native of Australia. This fruit is found growing wild in North Western Australia to Central Cape York Peninsula.  It can be seen there in open woodlands, seasonally flooded depressions and along rivers and streams.

            The fruits from white apple trees bear edible fruits which have been one of the popular sources of food of the Australian aboriginals.  It is rarely known outside Australia.

Description:

A small evergreen tree, upto 6 m tall.

            Leaves long, narrow and tapered on ssp. eucalyptoides and broad in ssp. bleeseri.

            Flowers white cream, showy, stamens numerous.

White apple flowers

            Fruits white, edible.

Utilization:

White apple fruits are edible and have been a source of subsistence food for aboriginals for ages.
 

Fruits of white apple
 

Cultivation:

So far no attempt has been made to domesticate this wild growing fruit and it is found in wild only. 

JAMUN_Syzigium cumunii

By parmarch28/12/20180

JAMUN
(Syzigium cumunii)

A tree of jamun 

Family: Myrtaceae

Jamun is indigenous to India.  Its tree is tall and evergreen.  Therefore It isgenerally grown as avenue tree or as wind break.  Though the fruits are liked by all and sell at a high price, but it is still not grown as an orchard tree.  Jamun is found all over India.

Jamun fruits

            Jamun fruits are a good source of iron and are said to be useful in the troubles of heart and liver.  The seeds of jamun are an effective medicine against diabetes and their powder is widely used in India to control diabetes

Climate and soil

Since jamun  is a hardy fruit, it can be grown under adverse soil and climate conditions.  It thrives well under both tropical and subtropical climate.  It requires dry weather at the time of flowering and fruit setting.  Early rains are beneficial for better growth, development and ripening of fruit. Young plants are susceptible to frost. 

Jamun fruits being sold in a small town market of India

            The jamun trees can be grown on a wide range of soils-calcareous, saline sodic soils and marshy areas.  Deep loam and well-drained soils are, however, the most ideal.  It does not like very heavy and light sandy soils. 

 Varieties

There is no improved variety for commercial cultivation.  The most common type grown in north India is known as Raja jamun.  This is a large-fruited type having oblong fruits of deep purple colour.  A type having large- sized fruits is known as Paras in Gujarat.  Another type found in Varanasi has no seed.  A selection with desirable traits has been located by the agricultural university at Faizabad.  It has been named by them as Narendra Jamun 6.

Propagation

Jamun is propagated both by seeds as well as vegetatively.  Narendra Jamun 6 is usually multiplied by seeds.  The seeds have no dormancy; hence fresh seeds can be sown (within 10-15 days) 4-5 cm deep at a distance of 25cm x15 cm.  The seeds germinate in10-15 days after sowing.  The seedlings become ready for transplanting in spring or next monsoon.  Its seeds show polyembrony up to 30-40%.  Therefore nucellar seedlings can be used to produce true –to-type plants.         

            Seedling plants bear fruits of variable size and quality.  Therefore, vegetative method is desirable for propagation of improved or selected types.  Budding is most successful.  It is done on one-year old rootstock having about 10 mm thickness.  Patch and forkert methods of budding give more than 70% success if performed in March.  In low rainfall area, July –August is ideal time for budding. 

Cultivation

Planting

Pits of 1m x 1m x 1m size are dug 10 m apart for seedling trees and 8m apart for budded plants. Pit digging should be completed before the onset of the monsoon or spring season.  They should be filled with a mixture of topsoil and well- rotten farmyard manure or compost in 3:1 ratio.  Monsoon season (July-September) is ideal time of planting.  But it can also be planted with a good survival rate in spring (February-March) if irrigation facilities are available.  About 100 -150 plants are required for planting a hectare land.

Training and pruning

Young plants need training for the development of framework, keep the main stem or trunk clean up to a height of 60-90 cm from the ground level by removing the basal branches and sprouts.  Jamun plants do not require any pruning except removing diseased, dry and crisscross twigs. 

Manuring and fertilization

In pre bearing period, 20-25 kg well rotten farmyard manure or compost/plant/ year should be applied.  For bearing trees, this dose should be increased up to 50- 60kg/plant/ year.  The ideal time for applying organic manure is a month before flowering.  Grown up trees should be applied 500 kg N, 600gand 300g K /plant /year.  This should be spread near the canopy of the plant and mixed in soil by hoeing. 

Aftercare

Green manuring  can be done during the rainy season.  Intercropping  karaunda or phalsa or seasonal vegetable crops in initial years between the rows or interspaces can be done.  Sprouts arising from base of its plants should be removed timely and the plantation should be kept weed-free.  Jamun is a cross- pollinated crop. Hence keeping of honey-bees near the plantation is beneficial for maximum fruit set and productivity. 

Irrigation

Irrigation should be given just after manuring.  Young plants require 6-8 irrigations for better growth.  In bearing trees, irrigation should be given from September to October for better fruit bud formation and May to June for better development of fruits.  Normally 5-6 irrigations are required. 

Harvesting and postharvest management

Seedling trees start bearing at the age of 9-10 years, whereas budded ones take 5-6years.   Flowering starts during March and continues up April in north Indian conditions.  Fruits ripen during June- July or with the onset of rains.  It takes about 3-5 months to ripen after full bloom.  Fruits change their colour from green to deep red or bluish black.  This is a non climacteric fruit hence it des not ripen after harvesting.  Fully ripe fruits are harvested daily by hand picking or by shaking the branches and collecting the fruits on a polythene sheet.  Jamun trees need a number of pickings, since all fruits do not ripen at a time.  The average yield of fully grown budded and seedling trees is 50-70 kg and 80-100 kg /plant /year. 

            Jamun fruits are highly perishable. They can be stored only up to  2 days at ambient temperature.  Precooled fruits packed in perforated polythene bags can be stored for 3 weeks at 8-10 C and 85-95% humidity. 

            There is no standard practice for grading of fruits.  Blemished or bruised fruits must be sorted out before packing.  Fruits are normally packed in bamboo baskets and transported to local markers.  In the market, fruits are sold on green leaves or on pieces of newspaper.  The fruits prepacked in leaf cup covered with perforated polythene bags have little or no damage, during handling.  Handling of fruits during transit from market to home is also easier in this container. 

            Jamun fruits can be processed into excellent quality  fermented beverages such as vinegar and cider , and non-fermented ready-to-serve  beverages and squashes.  A good quality jelly can also be prepared from its fruits.  The seeds can be processed into powder which is very useful to cure diabetes.  These have a ready market.

Physiological   disorder

Heavy drop of flowers and fruits has been observed in jamun at various stages.  About 50% flowers drop within the 3-4 weeks of flowering.  It occurs at very young stage during 5-7 weeks of full bloom.   The problem of flower and fruit drop can be minimized by spraying of GA3 (60ppm) twice, one at full bloom and other 15days  after  fruit set. 

INPUT FROM 

Dr. I.S. Singh
Professor of Horticulture
Narendra Dev University of Agriculture & Technology
Faizabad  UP  224229
INDIA

UNCHANA_Syzigium bracteatum

By parmarch28/12/20180

UNCHANA
(Syzigium bracteatum)

 A flower and leaves of unchana

Family: Myrtaceae

Synonym: Eugenia bracteata

Other names: sagarabatua, misi-ia-thap, lukluki-jam.

            Unchana is a shrub or small tree, found in the East Indian states Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya and also in Tamil Nadu in South India upto an elevation of 900 m.  It also grows in Nepal where they call it harch.

            Unchana is cultivated in many parts of India as an ornamental plant.  It bears handsome white flowers.

            The fruits are globose berries, orange or red in colour having a persistent calyx.

            The fruits are eaten when ripe.  These are available through out the year.

MUNGA_Synsepalum subcordatum

By parmarch28/12/20180

MUNGA
(Synsepalum subcordatum)

 A tree of munga

Family: Sapotaceae

Other names: Giant miracle fruit

Munga or giant miracle fruit is also a native of West Africa like its more famous relative miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum).  This fruit, however, has a much taller plant.  Moreover, some people are of the view that it does not have that strong effect on desensitizing the sour taste perceiving taste buds of the human tongue. But still it does make sour limes or sour apples taste sweet.

Description:

A large shrub or small tree, upto 10 m tall;

            Leaves, lanceolate, large, 20-30 cm,

            Flowers cauliflorous, occurring in bunches, about 1 cm wide,

 flowers of munga

            Fruit nearly round, 2.5 cm wide, thin skinned, red or yellow, about ¼ cm wide nearly translucent flesh which is sweet and tasty when ripe.

            Seed large, occupying most space of fruit.

Cultivation:

New plants of munga are raised from seed only.  The seedlings may take 2-5 years for coming into bearing.

            Some taxonomists who have carried out detailed studies on munga tree have further classified it into four types:

1)     Water munga: the largest of the munga trees, it is found growing near water. The fruit is heart-shaped and comes in colors from red to yellow.

2)     Small forest munga: a small tree with shorter leaves, subsequently, the fruits are small too, about the size of the end of your little finger.

3)     Village munga: curiously, found mainly in village settings. This red fruit is twice the size of the small forest munga and is the S. subcordatum.

4)     Large forest Munga: a robust (20m) tree with abrupt oblanceolate leaves and dark red fruit (3cmx 2cm). It can withstand 6 months of drought.

Utilization:

Munga fruits are sweet and edible. The fruit has a unique glyco protein that inhibits tastebuds’ perception of sour taste for half an hour to a couple of hours. Therefore eating munga enhances flavor of grapefruit, strawberries, and makes beer taste like a malta soft drink. This fruit has successfully been used as an appetite stimulant for persons taking chemotherapy medicines.

Fruits of munga

Cultivation:

Munga is often planted by people in home gardens as a sample plant because of its interesting property of making sour fruits taste sweet.  All the family enjoy its tricky entertaining quality.

            Munga is basically a tropical plant, so naturally it will not withstand cold.  It will not fruit in case the winter temperature goes below10 C.  However, if the location is suitable and the plant starts fruiting, then a single mature tree can produce upto one thousand fruits.

            Propagation is by seed only.

MRACLE FRUIT_Synsepalum dulcificum

By parmarch28/12/20180

MRACLE FRUIT
(Synsepalum dulcificum)

A tree of miracle fruit

Family: Sapotaceae

Other names: Aasa, taami

  

Miracle fruit is a very interesting small fruit.  It bears small elongated berries.  If one eats a berry of this fruit, a small miracle happens.  The taste buds of your tongue get confused and if you are given a lemon to eat, you will taste it sweet.  The sour taste would be entirely gone.  Similarly, if you given an apple of some sour variety.  You will taste it sweet.  That is why the fruit by christened “miracle fruit” by plant explorers in West Africa in 1700s.  The effect lasts for 30-40 minutes.

Leaves of miracle fruit

            Miracle fruit is a native of West Africa.  It has reached all parts of the world and is grown mostly as sample plant or for fun in hoes.

Description:

An evergreen shrub growing upto 5 m in its native habitat and 1-1.5 m at other places.

            Leaves simple, elongated, alternate,  5-10 cm long, 2-3.7 cm wide, 3-5 leaves clustered at branch terminals, deep green

            Flowers small, 5-6 mm wide, white.

Miracle fruit fruits on tree

             Fruit a small, bright red, ellipsoid, flashy berry, 2.5 cm long.

            Seed 1.

Utilization
:

The tribals of West Africa eat a fruit of two in case the food they are going to eat is state and

Miracle fruit fruits

Cultivation:

Miracle fruit is not cultivated on commercial scale.  However, it is quite popular with home gardeners because of its interesting effect.  So it is planted as a sample plant in gardens and as potted plant in the homes.

            Miracle fruit is a tropical fruit and if planted does not perform well if grown at colder places.  The plant may keep growing but will not fruit at all even if planted indoors.  So it has to be at the right place if one wants to get fruits.

            New plants are raised from seeds which are not very user friendly and take long to, come out.

            The plant grows best in soils with a pH as low as 4.5 to 5.8, in an environment free from frost and in partial shade with high humidity. It is tolerable to drought, full sunshine and slopes.

            The seedlings start bearing after three years.  They blossom and bear fruits 3-4 times a year.  If the climate is favourable, then miracle fruit is a prolific bearer.

MONKEY ORANGE_Strychnos spinosa

By parmarch28/12/20180

MONKEY ORANGE
(Strychnos spinosa)
 

A tree of monkey orange
 

Family: Loganiaceae

Synonyms: Brehmia spinosa, Strychnos carvalhoi, Strychnos djalonis, Strychnos gilletti, Strychnos laxa, Strychnos lokuma, 
                  Strychnos schweinfurthii, Strychnos tonga.      

Common names: Spiny monkey-orange, green monkey orange, doringklapper, massala, morapa, umkwakw.

Monkey orange is a tree indigenous to tropical and subtropical Africa which bears juicy, sweet-sour, yellow fruits containing numerous hard brown seeds. In Tropical Africa, this fruit grows in Eastern Cape to Kwazulu-Natal, Mozambique and inland to Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Northern Botswana and Northern Namibia and north to tropical Africa.

Monkey orange fruits
 

            This fruit has now travelled to other parts of the world too.  It has recently been introduced into Israel for trial as a potential new commercial crop.

Botanic description:

Monkey orange is a thorny shrub or small tree, 1-9 m in height. Bark grey, rough, tends to flake in rectangular segments but is not deeply fissured or corky; branchlets rather pale and thin, with or without short hairs, with hooked thorns; slash yellowish with green margin. Leaves elliptic, ovate to almost circular, 1.5-9 x 1.2-7.5 cm, light to dark green and glossy at the base; veins pale green and curving along the margin; apex tapering to rounded, sometimes notched; base tapering, rounded or slightly lobed; margin entire, inclined to be wavy; petiole 2-10 mm long. 
 

Leaves of a monkey orange tree
 

Flowers creamy green, up to 6 mm long, in compact heads about 3.5-4 cm, terminal on short lateral twigs, densely crowded together on short stalks about 10 mm long.

Monkey orange flowers

Fruit spherical, woody shelled, 5-12 cm in diameter, deep yellow to yellow-brown when mature, contains many flat seeds.

Uses:

Fruit is edible and is used as a supplementary source of food by rural people during times of shortage.  The fruit is often sun dried as a food preserve. However, he seeds should be avoided though as they are poisonous or could have purgative effects.

The wood is used for general carpentry. Timber from this tree is also used to produce implement handles, fighting sticks and hut poles. It is also used for carving.

The leaves, roots and fruit (seeds) are used medicinally. Some people use root infusions as a treatment for snakebite. Others use the bark and unripe fruit. It is believed that the presence of strychnine in the bark and unripe fruit along with other alkaloids are responsible for helping overcome the venom of certain snakes, such as Mamba. A decoction of the leaf or root is used as an analgesic in Central Africa.

The dried fruit, after the seeds are removed, are often used as sounding-boxes for musical instruments such as the marimba. They are also carved and sold as curios.

Culture:

            Monkey orange tree looks attractive with its dark green glossy leaves and the bright yellow fruits.  Though it is a deciduous plant, but the autumn foliage, which develops an attractive yellow colour, also looks pleasant.  So the plant is also quite suitable as a border or fence tree.  It is quite hardy plant and can grow even in poor and rocky soils.

            This plant can be multiplied from seed.

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