The Canistel is a large, evergreen tree native to Central America. It usually grows to around 8 m in height, but occasionally grows larger in favorable conditions. Leaves are commonly oblanceolate at 10-30cm in length and alternately cluster around branch tips. The tree has an open-growing canopy, light brown mature bark, and abundant latex. The fruit shape and size is variable. Green, immature fruits ripen to a golden-yellow or orange-yellow. The fruit varies from firm and fibrous towards the exterior, to a cooked egg yolk texture towards the center. The flavor is sweet and mild, often described as a cooked sweet potato.
Harvesting and Seed Production
Mature fruits should be allowed to ripen fully before consumption to reduce the quanity of latex. Yellow fruits will ripen on the tree, but they are commonly picked when fully yellow and allowed to soften off the tree (3-10 days after harvest). Fruits should be clipped off trees to avoid damaging the fruit. The seeds should be planted soon after harvest, and may not germinate for several months (3-5 months average). Seeds should remain in well-drained, damp composted soil throughout the germination period.
Pests and Diseases
The trees are often very healthy and are not usually attacked by pests. Scale insects are the most common pest, with rust and fruit spot occasionally damaging fruit .
Morton, J. 1987. Canistel. p. 402–405. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.