Urban

Psidium Cattleianum - Strawberry Guava

Native to Brazil, Cattley Guava was brought to China by the Portuguese. From China it was introduced into Europe where it is known as Strawberry Guava, it can also be found cultivated in the Mediterranean, Hawaii, Florida, California, Mexico and throughout Central America. P. cattleianum is a very attractive shrub, however it can grow up to eight m in height. The leaves are dark brown and somewhat glossy, the bark is shiny and peeling. The fruit are 3-4 cm in diameter, considered by many to be the best species of guava. There are red and yellow varieties.

The Strawberry guava is rich in vitamin C and contains 4.5% sugar, 6% fiber and 1.1% protein.

strawbg
strawbg
strawberry-g1
strawberry-g1

Pouteria campechiana - Eggfruit, Canistel

egg-fruit-canistel
egg-fruit-canistel

Canistel originates in Mexico and Central America where it has been cultivated since antiquity. It is now very common in Cuba and tropical America from Florida to Uruguay, it can also be found in the Philippines and Malaysia. The tree is typically managed between five and eight meters high. The fruit is five to ten centimeters long and round, or in the form of a egg with a point. The pulp is firm and almost powder, likened to the texture of a hardboiled egg yolk. It has a very rich flavor and texture. A fantastic fruit, in my opinion. I have heard that cheesecake made out of the fruit pulp is exceptional. Due to its almost powdery texture, the eggfruit is highly versatile and can be integrated into virtually any kind of blended drink or dish.

The fruit contains up to 40% carbohydrates, 2.5% protein, and is  great source of Vitamins A, B3, and C.

Canistel is adaptable to a wide variety of soils and can be grown in both tropical and subtropical climates, as long as there is no freeze. It is very drought tolerant.

Moraceae, Artocarpus lakoocha, Monkey jack, Lakoocha, Emerald Jack, Pachoo Phanas (Bangalore), Badahar (Guyana), Selengking (Borneo)

This is the ripe orange bumpy fruit. I was unable to identify it for a long time, just recently found it in a book called  Fruits and Cultivated Exotics that I found at Fairchild Botanical Garden. The taste and texture are very interesting. Taste is tangy and slightly citrus-like. The texture is like that of unripe jackfruit only finer fibers, as a visitor to the site pointed out (see comments), similar to kiwi. I germinated a bunch of seed about five months ago. The small trees are just now about to surpass me in height. Supposedly the tree yields an excellent hardwood, said to be superior to Teak, useful for toolhandles and construction both above and below water. The trees I saw were not cultivated as a hardwood.

This photo was taken a month after transplanting the germinated seedlings, they are growing quickly. I'll take some up-to-date photos to upload today.

Rhamnaceae, Zizyphus mauritiana, Indian Jujube

Jujube is one of the five primary fruits in China, having been cultivated thereabouts for 4,000 some odd years, probably longer.  The fruit is very common in parts of Asia, and increasingly so in the Medeterranian. The tree is best adapted to dry tropical climates and can be found throughout the tropics, although it is not very common outside of Asia. 

The tree can reach 12 meters in height, although most of the ones I've encountered, propagated by approach grafting, are smaller, sprawling shrubs. In dry, colder areas the tree doesn't typically surpass 4 meters in height. 

The Indian Jujube (Z. mauritania) and the Chinese Jujube (Z. jujuba) can be distinguished by the underside of the leaves. The underside of the Indian jujube leaves is covered with an almost cream colored fuzz. The fruit is usually the shape and size of a olive, although improved Chinese varieties can be larger than 6 cm in length. Each fruit contains a stone with two seeds. 

The Jujube can be consumed in numerous ways: ripe or unripe, cooked, in sweets and jams, breads, cheeses, and a butter is prepared with the pulp. Juices are also made. In order to dry the fruits, one must wait until the process is initiated on the tree, the fruit ripens, becomes soft and then dries. The soft fruit has a higher concentration of sugars. Dried fruits are common, and can be conserved and consumed like raisins. 

The wood is very strong, often used to make agricultural implements, also used to make a top quality charcol. The tree is commonly used as a living fence and windbreak in arid regions. Leaves are used as food for silkworms. The bark is used for tanning. The leaves and fruit are an excellent animal forage. 

There are numerous superior grafted varieties of Chinese Jujube, including Lang, Li, Sui Men, Mu Shing hong, and Yu. There are over 125 known varieties of Indian Jujube in India, including "Gola", "Safeda", "Banarsi", and "Haichi". 

High quality fruits contain up to 21% sugar, 1.5% protein, and are rich in calcium, fosforo and vitamin C.

The trees can be propagated by seed, approach grafting, cuttings and air layer. 

Meliaceae, Azadirachta indica, Neem

Well known in its native North-ease India and Burma Neem is a fast growing, medium size tree, mature trees reach heights of 20 m or so.

Neem is widely considered to be one of the most useful of all cultivated trees. The uses are diverse and extensive. Neem is very drought tolerant and is grow extensively in arid and semi arid regions of tropical Africa.

Roots grow deep and wide, the tree does not stand waterlogging, leaves will ceas to grow, turn yellow, and eventually the roots will rot.

 

The wood is of very high quality, red in color, similar to that of Mahogany. Also notable is that  it is resistant to rot, due to its fungicidal properties. The wood is also used to produce a carbon of superior quality. The tree grows rapidly and regenerates easily after heavy pruning.

Neem is widely acclaimed for its insecticidal and fungicidal properties and has been used as such for thousands of years. Neem oil is, perhaps, the most effective natural product to combat such plagues. The oil is also used in the fabrication of soaps, lubrication oils, toothpaste and other cosmetic applications. Pure neem oil is said to be 98% effective as a spermicide when applied topically. The tree is also an excellent pioneer reclamation species to plant in exhausted soils. It is extremely drought tolerant.

Despite the fact that Neem is toxic to fungus and insects, it can be used as a highly nutritious and productive livestock forage crop.

In East Africa Neem is used as firewood, charcoal, timber, furniture, poles, utensils (pestals and mortars), medicine (leaves, bark, roots, fruit), fodder (goats eat leaves and oil-seed cake), bee forage, shade, ornamental, soil improvement, windbreak, veterinary medicine, oil (seed), a powerful antifeedant (azadirachtin from seed and leaves), soap manufacture.

For in-depth information I would suggest starting with The Neem Foundation, which can be found on the internet. Here's a link to the Kenya Neem Foundation.

Syzygium samarangense - Java Apple

This is an air layered variety I got from Taiwanese agronomistsIn Panama

Myrciaria cauliflora var. ? - Dwarf jaboticaba

The Jaboticaba originates in Southern Brazil where it is one of the most popular fruits, in some parts of the country this is the most common fruit in markets.

Typically Jaboticaba trees grow from 10 - 12 meters high and can take from 6-8 years to bear fruit when grown from seed, and even longer (8-10) when grown in lower, hotter climates.

The variety photographed below is a dwarf, only about two and a half feet tall, bears three times a year, and has larger leaves then the common Jaboticaba. The skin is thin enough to be eaten. As long as it gets irrigated when fruiting, this particular variety seems to do great in the lowland, dry humid tropics.

This is a stem bearing tree. When it is in full bloom the trunk and thicker branches are covered in an almost fuzz like layer of flowers, then the bulbous fruit appear and grow quite rapidly. It seems to take about 15-20 days from flower to mature fruit on this tree.

I'm trying to grow as many as I can. It's bearing right now (end of April).

Dwarf Jaboticabajpg
Dwarf Jaboticabajpg
Dwarf Jaboticaba Flower
Dwarf Jaboticaba Flower
Dwarf Jaboticaba, young fruit
Dwarf Jaboticaba, young fruit
dwarf jaboticaba fruit
dwarf jaboticaba fruit
Dwarf jaboticaba, fruit
Dwarf jaboticaba, fruit
dscf63212
dscf63212
Jaboticaba fruit close-up, cross-section
Jaboticaba fruit close-up, cross-section