Caimito

Chrysophyllum cainito is a tropical tree of the family Sapotaceae. It is native to the Greater Antilles and the West Indies. It has spread to the lowlands of Central America and is now is grown throughout the tropics, including Southeast Asia. It grows rapidly and reaches 20 m in height.


Overview


It has numerous common names including cainito, caimito, star apple, golden leaf tree, abiaba, pomme du lait, estrella, milk fruit and aguay. It is also known by the synonym Achras cainito. In Vietnam, it is called vú sữa (literally: breast-milk). In Malayalam it is called "Swarnapathry" means '[the tree with] golden leaves'.

The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple oval, entire, 5–15 cm long; the underside shines with a golden color when seen from a distance. The tiny flowers are purplish white and have a sweet fragrant smell. The tree is also hermaphroditic (self-fertile).


Fruits


The fruit is globose and typically measures from 2 to 3 inches in diameter. When ripe, it usually purple-skinned with a faint green area appearing around the calyx. A radiating star pattern is visible in the pulp. Greenish-white and yellow-fruited cultivars are sometimes available. The skin is rich in latex, and both it and the rind are not edible. The flattened seeds are light brown and hard. It is a seasonal fruit bearing tree.

The fruits are delicious as a fresh dessert fruit; it is sweet and best served chilled. Infusions of the leaves have been used against diabetes and articular rheumatism. The fruit has anti-oxidant properties., The bark is considered a tonic and stimulant, and a bark decoction is used as an antitussive. The fruit also exists in three colors, dark purple, greenish brown and yellow. The purple fruit has a denser skin and texture while the greenish brown fruit has a thin skin and a more liquid pulp; the yellow variety is less common and difficult to find.

A number of closely related species, also called star apples, are grown in Africa, including C. albidum and C. africanum.

In Vietnam, the most famous variety is Lò Rèn milk fruit coming from Vĩnh Kim commune, Châu Thành District, Tiền Giang Province.

In Sierra Leone the fruit is referred to as "Bobi wata" or breast milk fruit.


In literature


The Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott immortalizes the fruit as a symbol of the Caribbean itself in his 1979 collection, The Star-Apple Kingdom.


Thanks to wikipedia.org

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