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CASIMIROA edulis

Image of Casimiroa edulis

James H. Schutte

Family

Rutaceae

Botanical Name

CASIMIROA edulis

Plant Common Name

White Sapote

General Description

The tasty tropical fruit, white sapote, is a relatively obscure but close cousin of citrus. In addition to its fine fruit, it has a pretty form and multicolored bark. Native to the middle highland elevations of southern Mexico and Central America, this broadly branched tree is usually evergreen but frost and drought can cause leaf drop, so it is better listed as semi-evergreen. When mature, it attains a somewhat weeping form and curvaceous trunk and branches. Its bark is warty, thick and gray with blotches of white, tan and sandy brown.

White sapote's compound leaves are palmate, with three to seven oval leaflets. They are medium to deep green, depending on soil fertility, and often lustrous. In midwinter, it produces tiny, inconspicuous, greenish white flowers that are pollinated by bees. The flowers are listed as fragrant by some specialists and non-fragrant by others; in our experience, they have little fragrance. The apple-sized fruits mature to pale yellow-green and dangle in clusters. Each thin skinned fruit has soft, buttery yellow flesh that’s quite sweet. Some say the flavor is almost peachy. The fruit is dotted with white seeds that are not to be eaten.

Grow white sapote in full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. Mulch around the root zone and fertilize, especially in soils that are neutral to slightly alkaline. Although drought and frost tolerant, dryness will diminish fruit yield, so irrigate during long dry periods. This species is quite cold sensitive and may grow as a shrub even in warmer parts of USDA zone 8. It is best in regions with cool, dry winters and hot, wet summers. Salt spray can cause significant foliar damage, so avoid planting it near the Oceanside. White sapote offers shade and beauty as well as fruit, so it's perfect for large, open landscapes. The fruit's pulp can be blended into milkshakes and other cool, fresh beverages.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    11 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Fruit

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    20'-50' / 6.1m - 15.2m

  • Width

    25'-55' / 7.6m - 16.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Winter, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Mexico, Central America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Light Green, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Light Yellow, Yellow Green, Light Green

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    White, Sandy Brown, Gray

  • Bark Color Modifier

    Spotted/Mottled

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Corky

  • Usage

    Edible, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Shade Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes