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White Sapote Casimiroa edulus Llave.

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White Sapote Casimiroa edulus Llave. White sapote trees range from 15 to 20 ft (4.5-6 m) up to 30 to 60 ft (9-18 m) in height. They have light-gray, thick, warty bark and often develop long, drooping branches. The leaves, mostly evergreen are alternate, palmately compound, with 3 to 7 lanceolate leaflets, smooth or hairy on the underside. The odorless flowers, small and greenish-yellow, are 4- or 5-parted, and borne in terminal and axillary panicles. They are hermaphrodite or occasionally unisexual because of aborted stigmas.

The fruit is round, oval or ovoid, symmetrical or irregular, more or less distinctly 5-lobed; 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 in (6.25-11.25 cm) wide and up to 4 3/4 in (12 cm) in length; with thin green, yellowish or golden skin coated with a very thin bloom, tender but inedible; and creamy-white or yellow flesh glinting with many tiny, conspicuous, yellow oil glands. The flavor is sweet with a hint or more of bitterness and sometimes distinctly resinous. There may be 1 to 6 plump, oval, hard, white seeds, 1 to 2 in (2.5-5 cm) long and 1/2 to 1 in (1.25-2.5 cm) thick, but often some seeds are under-developed (aborted) and very thin. The kernels are bitter and narcotic.

C. edulis has leaves that are usually composed of 5 leaflets, glabrous to slightly pubescent on the underside, and 5-parted flowers. The fruit is somewhat apple-like externally, generally smooth, fairly symmetrical and 2 1/2 to 3 in (6.25-7.5 cm) wide. C. sapota is very similar but the leaves usually have only 3, somewhat smaller, leaflets. The woolly-leaved white sapote usually has 5 leaflets, larger and thicker than those of C. edulis and velvety-white on the underside, and all the parts of the flowers are in 4's. The fruits are usually 4 to 4 1/2 in (10-11.25 cm) wide, ovoid, irregular and knobby, with rough, pitted skin, and there are often gritty particles in the flesh.

The white sapotes can be classed as subtropical rather than tropical. C. edulis is usually found growing naturally at elevations between 2,000 and 3,000 ft (600-900 m) and occasionally in Guatemala up to a maximum of 9,000 ft (2,700 m) in areas not subject to heavy rainfall.

In California, light frosts cause some leaf shedding but otherwise do not harm the tree. Mature trees have withstood temperature drops to 20º F (-6.67º C) in California and 26º F (-3.33º C) in Florida without injury.

The trees prosper near the coast of southern California where the mean temperature from April to October is about 65º F (18º C). They do poorly and often fail to survive further north near San Francisco where the mean temperature for the same period is 57º to 58º F (13.89º-14.44º C). The woolly-leaved is somewhat less hardy than the common white sapote.

As long as there is good drainage, the trees will do very well on sandy loam or even on clay. In California, some of the early plantings were on light, decomposed granite soil, and they were fruitful for many years. In Florida, the trees grow and fruit well on deep sand and on oolitic limestone, though, on the latter, they may become chlorotic. They are fairly drought-resistant.

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