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Black Sapote Diospyros ebenaster Retz.


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Black Sapote Diospyros ebenaster Retz. In Spanish, it is known variously as sapote, sapote negro, zapote, zapote negro, zapote prieto, zapote de mico, matasano (or matazano) de mico, or ebano. It has been called black persimmon in Hawaii. The tree is handsome, broad-topped, slow-growing, to 80 ft (25 m) in height, with furrowed trunk to 30 in (75 cm) in diameter, and black bark. The evergreen, alternate leaves, elliptic-oblong to oblong-lanceolate, tapered at both ends or rounded at the base and bluntly acute at the apex, are leathery, glossy, 4 to 12 in (10-30 cm) long. The flowers, borne singly or in groups of 3 to 7 in the leaf axils, are tubular, lobed, white, 3/8 to 5/8 in (1-1.6 cm) wide, with persistent green calyx. Some have both male and female organs, large calyx lobes and are faintly fragrant; others are solely male and have a pronounced gardenia-like scent and a few black specks in the throat of the corolla. The fruit is bright-green and shiny at first; oblate or nearly round; 2 to 5 in (5-12.5 cm) wide; with a prominent, 4-lobed, undulate calyx, 1 1/2 to 2 in (4-5 cm) across, clasping the base. On ripening, the smooth, thin skin becomes olive-green and then rather muddy-green. Within is a mass of glossy, brown to very dark-brown, almost black, somewhat jelly-like pulp, soft, sweet and mild in flavor. In the center, there may be 1 to 10 flat, smooth, brown seeds, 3/4 to 1 in (2-2.5 cm) long, but the fruits are often seedless. The black sapote is not strictly tropical inasmuch as it is hardy as far north as Palm Beach County, Florida, if protected from frost during the first few years. Trees that have become well established have withstood occasional brief exposures to 28º or 30º F (-2.22º or-1.11º C). In Mexico, the tree is cultivated up to elevations of 5,000 or even 6,000 ft (1,500-1,800 m). The tree has a broad adaptability as to terrain. In Mexico it grows naturally in dry forests or on alluvial clay near streams or lagoons where it is frequently subject to flooding. Nevertheless, it thrives on moist sandy loam, on well-drained sand or oolitic limestone with very little top-soil in southern Florida. It is said to flourish on all the soils of Cuba.

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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 05 January, 2011.