Tropical Fruit Information
Fruit Trees -- D-I
Fruiting Trees, Shrubs and Herbaceous Plants - D through I
++ Indicates that this is a variety or a species that is found in our arboretum, but not often stocked in our nursery. Inquire about availability. If we do not have it in stock, we can put you on our "waitlist" and call you when we have it available.
FCFS available. The common fig is a small, deciduous tree or shrub that produces fruits without pollination. The tree should be planted in soil with compost worked in and then kept mulched to reduce nematode damage to the roots. Flooding is not tolerated, but a fairly large amount of water is beneficial until the fruit starts to ripen. Fruit is often produced the first year. Nematodes and leaf blight often greatly limit production in SW Florida. Severe winter pruning can reduce rust problems by invigorating the next season's growth. In the past, we sometimes had available a related, much more vigorous and nematode resistant fig to which we have grafted common figs. These can be especially productive, but should not be planted near septic tanks. A large, grafted, "Green Ischia" fig tree is located on the edge of the Herb Garden area
'Alma' originated in Texas and its nearly closed eye makes it a good selection for humid regions. The medium-sized fruit is greenish yellow with amber flesh. Very sweet, this cultivar may produce both a good spring and summer crop.
'Black Mission' produces large crops of medium to large fruits. The purplish black fruit and strawberry-colored flesh are of excellent quality and good for drying. May bear spring and summer crops.
'Brown Turkey' is a popular variety, producing moderate to large-sized fruit of bronze color. Though often rated as one of the best-flavored figs, an open eye makes this fig prone to souring in SW Florida's humid climate. Fruiting season begins with small spring crop followed by larger summer and/or fall crop.
'Celeste' is similar to 'Brown Turkey', but smaller and with a closed eye. Excellent flavored fruit that tends to fall when ripe. Tree bears one heavy crop a year, mid-July to mid-August.
'Green Ischia' bears medium-sized, tight-eyed figs camouflaged from birds by green skin color. The strawberry-colored flesh is delicious fresh or dried. The tree is small, often grown in containers, and produces late July to early August.
++'King' yields large green figs with amber flesh of good quality. Used either fresh or dried, 'King' bears in summer.
'Magnolia'has similar flavor to 'Brown Turkey' but is a larger fruit. Fruit skin is a light burgundy-brown with an amber interior. They are found to be resistant to late summer rust. Fruit is prone to souring and splitting; to prevent this fruit should be picked before it is fully ripe. Not highly recommended.
Flying Dragon is a very cold hardy cross between the trifoliate orange and sweet orange - it is one of the hardiest close relatives of citrus. The leaves drop during the winter months emphasizing the downward curving thorns even more. This striking ornamental grows 10-12 ft. and is useful in landscaping as a barrier to intruders. The fruit is of poor quality and not normally eaten.
see Madagascar Plum
Eugenia brasiliensis,syn. E. dombeyi
FCFS available: "Selected Eugenia Species". Grumichama is in the same genus as the Surinam cherry and has a slight hint of the Surinam cherry's resinous flavor. The flesh is soft, almost melting, and sweet with good flavor. The fruit is ½² to ¾² wide and contains fairly large seeds. Growth is compact and has been slow at ECHO. The plant eventually grows into a large shrub or small tree. If not for the fruit, at least for its attractive appearance, the grumichama is a nice addition to the yard with its large glossy, evergreen leaves that are reddish when young. Full sun is preferred and alkaline soils should be avoided. Although this is the least hardy of the common Eugenias, mature trees have tolerated 26° F without injury. Local nurseries recommend low nitrogen and high potassium fertilizer for good fruit production. One shrub is located between the Appropriate Technology shelter and the Propagation Greenhouse, another is in our "Tropical Cherry" row to the south of the driveway entrance to the nursery, and another one is growing next to the library in the landscaped area between our office building and technical building.
FCFS available. One of the most useful fruits, it can be eaten fresh, made into a refreshing drink, or processed in many other ways. The entire fruit can be used, the hard small seeds eaten right along with the pulp. There are jelly guavas, which contain enough natural pectin for making jelly, and sweet guavas. Depending on variety, flesh may be white, pink, yellow, or red. Guava fruits are highly nutritious. They are especially rich in vitamin C. Some varieties have five times the vitamin C as fresh orange juice. Guava trees tolerate fairly wet soils and some flooding. They can be frozen back by low temperatures of 25-28° F but usually re-sprout and may begin producing again in about a year. Fruit flies and white flies are common pests. Pruning trees will help them produce larger fruit and a heavier crop. We have a nice guava tree growing next to the fish pond in the landscaped area between our office building and library building.
'Asian' is a white guava, usually eaten immature when mildly sweet and crunchy.
'Mexican White' is a newer variety that has come highly recommended.
'Old Time' is the old variety of guava common in south west Florida. Fruits are small, yellow-skinned with pink flesh. Trees are highly productive and do well in our local area.
++'Peruvian White' is a round rather than pear-shaped guava. It has a texture similar to a pear, but with the mild guava flavor. The skin is yellow and the flesh is white and contains few seeds.
++'Redland', when fully ripe, looks like a small 'Bartlett' pear. It has yellow skin, pink flesh and a good number of seeds. Redland is a guava lover's guava that is high in pectin and excellent for making jellies.
'Ruby X Supreme' is the preferred guava of ECHO's director, Martin Price. This highly productive cultivar produces pear-shaped, yellow skinned guavas with thick, pink flesh. Lower in pectin than other varieties, this variety is superior for eating out-of-hand or processing into juice.
++'Thai Guava' is apparently a guava from Thailand that bears large pear-shaped white-fleshed fruits. Recently planted at ECHO, its quality is still unknown.
see Red Mombin
Inga edulis, I. vera, I. spectibilus, etc...
Ice cream bean is a fast growing leguminous tree species of the tropics where it is often grown to shade coffee and cacao. The pods are quite large, 1-1½ in. wide and 9 or more in. long. The fibrous pulp around the seeds looks like vanilla ice cream or white cotton candy and is mildly sweet. The seeds are large and are not eaten. Some light frost is usually tolerated, but it is very freeze sensitive. Ice cream bean is not a particularly heavy bearer in Florida and requires cross-pollination.
Several Inga spectibilus seedlings are planted in the Rainforest Clearing garden of our Global Village. They were collected in the Congo and come from pods over 2¢ long containing snow-white flesh with superb flavor. We will be propagating this variety for sale in our nursery when the seedlings begin production.
Illama is perhaps the finest of the Annonas with extraordinary flavor unique to this cultivar. David Fairchild described this fruit as "very juicy, delightfully sweet, with a refreshing flavor unlike any Annonaceae I ever tasted." This delectable fruit is native to the tropical lowlands of Mexico and Guatemala where it is called, "the old woman's sapote." The illama fruit is softball-sized with the characteristic protuberances associated with the Annona family. The thick rind is coated with downy gray fuzz. Green-skinned varieties generally have white, very sweet flesh; while pink varieties have shell colored flesh that is somewhat tart. Flesh is sweet and somewhat fibrous but custard-like toward the middle. Fruit is ripe when it cracks open on the tree; however, they can be picked up to 3 days early and allowed to soften. The fruit will not ripen off the tree. The leaves of this deciduous tree emerge red and pubescent. Tree height does not surpass 25 ft. The flowers are maroon. A seedling bears in 3-5 years, however ECHO sells named varieties that are grafted onto wild pond apple, Annona glabra, or custard apple, A. reticulata. Bears Aug-Sept.
Imbe is a small ornamental mangosteen relative that can grow to 9 ft. Female trees produce an orange-yellow fruit if a male tree is near. The fruit pulp is thin and juicy with a pleasant tangy flavor and one or two large seeds. The rind and seed are not edible. It is mainly used as an ornamental and grows well in most soil types. The tree is fairly drought tolerant, but has been killed back by freezes at ECHO. You can see an Imbe growing in the "Edible Landscaped" area between our office building and library.
Ziziphus mauritiana, syn Z. jujuba
FCFS available. This is the large spreading tree at ECHO's farm entrance. Our trees have received little frost damage and produced fruit following the freeze of January 1997. Jujube does well even in poor soil and is drought, flood and wind tolerant. It blooms for several months, attracting innumerable bees and beneficial insects, and then fruits heavily. The fruit has a sweet, firm, crisp flesh, somewhat like an apple, and contains one hard pit. The immature fruit resembles a small green apple and is sometimes eaten with salt. The mature fruit is brown and softer and mealy, slightly resembling a baked apple in taste. They are usually eaten fresh, made into a cold drink, dried or cooked. Most varieties are self-fertile and start producing in about two years. An Indian Jujube is the large tree providing shade to the entrance to our shop building on the south side of the nursery parking lot.
'Giant Thai' Nearly thornless, large leaved variety. Produces large, near-apple sized fruits when mature. Grafted trees of this variety produce quickly.