(Mimusops balata)

A tree of ausubo


Family: Sapotaceae

Synonyms: Achras balata, Manilkara bidentata

Other names:  Assapookoo, balata

Ausubo is a little known fruit growing in tropical America.  It is believed to have been originated in Puerto Rico.  It grows naturally in the West Indies, and ranges from Mexicothrough Panama to northern South America, including the Guianas and Venezuela, to Peru, and to northern Brazil.

Ripe fruits of ausobo

           Ausobo is a very long lived tree and can continue growing upto 400 years.  It is more important for timber than its fruits.


A large, and very long lived evergreen tree, upto 45 m tall and 200 cm in diameter.

           Leaves, alternate, elliptical, entire, and 10-20 cm long.

Ausubi flowers

           Flowers white.

           Fruit is a berry, 3-5 cm in diameter, yellow.

           Seed black, shiny, 1-2 per fruit.


Fruits are edible and eaten fresh.  However,  the more common use of the tree is as a commercial timber.

            The tree is often tapped for its milky latex which is the source of balata gum.  The latex becomes solid and somewhat crumbling at ordinary temperature, it softens at 120.2F, and can be molded like gutta-percha.

Fruits on tree

            Ausubo is one of the strongest and most attractive commercial woods in Puerto Rico. It is widely used in the tropics for railway sleepers, bridging, heavy construction, furniture, turnery, flooring, violin bows, and billiard cues. Its strength, high wear resistance, and durability qualify the timber for use in textile and pulpmill equipment. Its excellent steam-bending properties make it suitable for boat frames and other bent work


Ausubo is very adaptable to both full sun and shaded conditions.  Though it is a very slow growing tree, but still it is often planted for its timber.

           New plants are raised from seed. But the germination of seeds is slow, irregular and not more than 10%.  Some seeds may even take upto 12 months to germinate.

           The young plants requite regular irrigation.  These also require protection from cold.