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Edible parts - Fruit, Kernel, Seeds, Nuts

A large tree. It grows 20-45 m tall. The trunk can be 1 m across. There can be buttresses. The branches are thick. There is a dense covering of leaves. The leaves are oval or sword shaped. They are towards the ends of the branches. They are arranged in spirals. The leaf stalk is 2-5 cm long. The leaf blade is 10-30 cm long by 4-10 cm wide. The flowers are small and almost without stalks. They grow in large numbers under branches and along leafless branches. They are in clusters of 6-15 in the axils of fallen leaves. Each flower has 5 true and 5 false stamens. The fruit is large and reddish brown. It has a rough, hard skin. The fruit can be 8-25 cm long. The flesh can be red, orange or greyish. Many varieties occur. They can be long or rounded. The amount of fibre in the flesh varies. The fruit contain one or more seeds. The seeds are large and have a sharp end. They are dark brown and smooth and shiny on one end.

A tropical plant. It is native from Mexico to Central America. It does best in the hot humid tropical lowlands. It prefers a rainfall above 1900 mm per year. They are susceptible to frost. It cannot tolerate low temperatures. Temperatures between 25°-28°C are best. They cannot tolerate drought. It grows naturally at low elevations in Central America. Trees grow from sea level to 1400 m altitude. A distinct dry season limits the fruiting season. It suits hardiness zones 10-11.