Subtropical Fruits

Atemoya

The atemoya is a small tree, with the maximum height and spread of about (33'). It has an open and sprawling canopy. Flowers are 3-4 cm (1¼-1½ in) long, with three fleshy, pale yellowish-green petals, and are borne singly or in clusters of two to three in axils of leaves on year-old wood or on new shoots. The main bloom period in Florida is May-June, with a minor bloom in August-September. The flowers are protogyrous, functioning first as female, then as male.

The atemoya is an aggregate fruit. The fruit matures in five to six months from bloom in Florida, up to eight months in cooler climates. Its color is medium green, becoming light green or greenish-yellow at maturity, depending on the cultivar. The pulp is white, with a custard-like consistency and sweet, pleasing flavor when ripe. There are ten to forty seeds per fruit, which are dark brown or black. The atemoya is available August to October.

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Avocado

Florida avocados are dark green and have a smooth and shiny skin texture. The flavor is rich and nutty. Avocados do not soften on the tree but must reach full maturity before being picked to develop full flavor. The tree acts as a storehouse; the fruit can be held on the tree for many months after it reaches maturity. The fruit is ripe when it softens to the touch, should be ripened at room temperature, and then may be refrigerated. Availability is June to March.

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Guava

Small tree to 20' in height with broad, spreading top, branching freely close to the ground. Trunk short, with a scaly bark, greenish-brown to light brown in color. Fruit shape ranges from round and ovoid to pear-shaped. It weighs from one ounce to as much as one pound. The skin color is usually yellow with flesh ranging from white, yellow, pink, to red. Fruit ranges from thin-shelled, with many seeds embedded in a firm pulp, to thick-shelled with few seeds. Flavor from sweet to highly acid. The distinctive aroma ranges from strong and penetrating to mild and pleasant. Fruit matures practically year-round, but the bulk of the production occurs in Florida during the summer months.

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Longan

Longan is a subtropical tree well adapted to tropical climates with distinctive wet/dry periods and subtropical areas with a cool, nonfreezing fall/winter period. Longans produce more reliably in areas characterized by low non-freezing temperatures and a dry period during the fall and winter. Warm temperatures during spring, followed by high summer temperatures and nonlimiting soil moisture are best for fruit development. Warm and rainy winters are conducive to vegetative growth.

The fruit are spherical to ovoid and the peel is tan or light brown, thin, leathery, and smooth. The pulp is whitish and translucent and is flavorful and sweet. Fruit have one seed; it is globular and shiny, brown to dark brown. The main bloom season for longans in South Florida is from February/March through April and the beginning of May.

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Lychee

Trees may grow to 40' (12 m) in height and have a beautiful, dense, rounded, symmetrical canopy extending nearly to the ground. Trees are very attractive with dark green foliage and reddish-colored fruit. Fruit are borne in loose clusters numbering from three to fifty fruits and are round to oval. The skin ranges from yellow to pinkish or red and is leathery, with small, short, conical or rounded protuberances. The pulp is succulent, whitish, and translucent, with excellent flavor. Fruits contain one shiny, dark brown seed, which is usually relatively large, but may be small and shriveled in some varieties. Fruit must be ripened on the tree for best flavor. The fruit bearing season is mid-May to early July in Florida, depending upon variety.

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Mamey Sapote

The mamey sapote grows into a handsome, open tree with a thick central trunk and a few large limbs. Mamey sapote trees are large, erect to spreading trees which may grow to a height of about 40' in Florida and may exceed 60' in more tropical regions. The fruit is a berry ovoid to ellipsoid in shape. Most vary from 3" to 8" in length. The skin is thick and woody with a russet brown, somewhat scurfy surface. The pulp of mature fruits is salmon pink, orange, red or reddish-brown in color, soft and smooth to finely granular in texture, usually low in fiber. The pulp has a sweet, almond-like, unique flavor.

Normally, the fruit contains a single, large, elliptical seed but it may have up to four. The seed has a shiny, hard, dark brown surface. In Florida, the bloom season may be in summer, fall, and winter depending on the cultivar. Because of this, each cultivar has its own main maturity season. Trees may have flowers, immature fruit and mature fruit all at the same time. It takes from thirteen to twenty-four months for fruit to reach maturity.

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Mango

A medium to large (30' to 100'; 9.1 to 30.5 m), evergreen tree, with a symmetrical, rounded canopy ranging from low and dense to upright and open. Classified as drupes, mangos vary in shape (nearly round, oval, ovoid-oblong), size, and color depending upon the variety. Mangos may be greenish, greenish-yellow, yellow, red, orange, or purple and weigh from a few ounces to more than five pounds. The skin is smooth and leathery, surrounding the fleshy, pale-yellow to deep-orange edible portion.

The fruits possess a single large, flattened, kidney-shaped seed that is enclosed in a woody husk. Although the fruit will ripen on the tree, commercially it is usually picked when firm and green for shipment to market. The crop is considered mature when the shoulder of the fruit broadens (fills out) and some fruits on the tree have begun to change color from green to yellow. Prior to this external color break, the fruit is considered mature when the flesh near the seed changes color from white to yellow. Generally, mature fruit are available from May to September in Florida.

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Pomegranate

Normally a dense, bushy, deciduous shrub 6'-12' tall, the plant has slender, somewhat thorny branches. It may be trained as a small tree reaching 20' in height. Pomegranate leaves are glossy, dark green, oblong to oval, 1"-1.25" long. Blooms are a flaming orange-red, 1.5"-2.5" in diameter with crinkled petals and numerous stamens. Flowers are borne solitary or in small clusters angled towards the end of branchlets.

Pomegranates are brownish-yellow to purplish-red berries 2-5" in diameter with a smooth, leathery skin. Fruits are spherical, somewhat flattened. Numerous seeds are each surrounded by a pink to purplish-red, juicy, subacid pulp which is the edible portion. The pulp is somewhat astringent. Pomegranates in North Florida mature from July to November, but may produce year round in South Florida.

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Sapodilla

Medium to large tree. These long-lived trees grow slowly but after many years, can reach 60 to 100 ft in height. It is well adapted to subtropical and tropical climates. The tree has ornamental value and may be used for landscaping. Branches are horizontal or drooping and milky latex exudes from all tree parts. The foliage is evergreen. The fruit is a berry with a scurfy, brown, peel. Fruit may be round to oval-shaped or conical, 2 to 4 inches in diameter and weigh 2.6 oz to 2.2 lbs.

The pulp is light brown, brownish yellow to reddish brown, with a texture varying from gritty to smooth. The pulp has a sweet to very sweet, pleasant flavor. Seed number varies from 0 to 12. Seeds are dark brown to black, smooth, flattened, shiny, and 3/4 inch long. When fruit reaches maximum size, it may be picked and allowed to ripen off the tree. Sapodillas are adapted to tropical and warm sub-tropical climates. In Florida, trees mainly bear from May to September but fruit may mature throughout the year.

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Sugar Apple

Small, open tree with a rounded head and long, slender branches, rarely exceeding 15' in height and width. Leaves are thin, lanceolate to oblong lanceolate, 2½" to 4" long and deciduous, depending upon the severity of the winter. Dull, pale green, sparsely hairy when young but smooth at maturity. Greenish yellow, about 1" long, produced singly or in clusters of 2" to 4" late spring. Heart-shaped, round, ovate or conical, from 2" to 4" in diameter. Composed of loosely cohering segments which project as rounded protuberences and are easily separated when the fruit is ripe.

The thick skin is yellowish green in color and usually covered with a white or bluish bloom. The pulp is white or creamy white, with a custard-like consistency and a sweet, pleasant flavor. Numerous small, shiny, dark brown seeds are embedded in the pulp. The fruits do not ripen all at one time, giving it a fairly long season. It begins in midsummer and lasts through fall, but it may last to midwinter if there is no frost, giving a season from three to as long as six months.

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