Banana

BANANA

B/W sketch

Musa species

Musaceae

Common Names: Banana, Bananier Nain, Canbur, Curro, Plantain

Origin: Edible bananas originated in the Indo-Malaysian region reaching to northern Australia.

Species: Musa acuminata Colla, M. X paradisiaca L. (hybrid)

Related species Abyssinian Banana (Ensete ventricossum Cheesman), Musa balbisina Colla, M. ornata Roxb., M. textilis Nee

Adaptation Bananas and plantains are today grown in every humid tropical region and constitutes the 4th largest fruit crop of the world. The plant needs 10 – 15 months of frost-free conditions to produce a flower stalk. All but the hardiest varieties stop growing when the temperature drops below 53° F. Growth of the plant begins to slow down at about 80° F and stop entirely when the temperature reaches 100° F. High temperatures and bright sunlight will also scorch leaves and fruit, although bananas grow best in full sun. Freezing temperatures will kill the foliage. In most areas bananas require wind protection for best appearance and maximum yield. They are also susceptible to being blown over. Bananas, especially dwarf varieties, make good container specimens if given careful attention. The plant will also need periodic repotting as the old plant dies back and new plants develop.

DESCRIPTION

Growth Habit: Bananas are fast-growing herbaceous perennials arising from underground rhizomes. The fleshy stalks or pseudostems formed by upright concentric layers of leaf sheaths constitute the functional trunks. The true stem begins as an underground corm which grows upwards, pushing its way out through the center of the stalk 10-15 months after planting, eventually producing the terminal inflorescence which will later bear the fruit. Each stalk produces one huge flower cluster and then dies. New stalks then grow from the rhizome. Banana plants are extremely decorative, ranking next to palm trees for the tropical feeling they lend to the landscape.

Foliage: The large oblong or elliptic leaf blades are extensions of the sheaths of the pseudostem and are joined to them by fleshy, deeply grooved, short petioles. The leaves unfurl, as the plant grows, at the rate of one per week in warm weather, and extend upward and outward , becoming as much as 9 feet long and 2 feet wide. They may be entirely green, green with maroon splotches, or green on the upper side and red-purple beneath. The leaf veins run from the mid-rib straight to the outer edge of the leaf. Even when the wind shreds the leaf, the veins are still able to function. Approximately 44 leaves will appear before the inflorescence.

Flowers: The banana inflorescence shooting out from the heart in the tip of the stem, is at first a large, long-oval, tapering, purple-clad bud. As it opens, the slim, nectar-rich, tubular, toothed, white flowers appear. They are clustered in whorled double rows along the the floral stalk, each cluster covered by a thick, waxy, hood like bract, purple outside and deep red within. The flowers occupying the first 5 – 15 rows are female. As the rachis of the inflorescence continues to elongate, sterile flowers with abortive male and female parts appear, followed by normal staminate ones with abortive ovaries. The two latter flower types eventually drop in most edible bananas.

Fruits: The ovaries contained in the first (female) flowers grow rapidly, developing parthenocarpically (without pollination) into clusters of fruits, called hands. The number of hands varies with the species and variety. The fruit (technically a berry) turns from deep green to yellow or red, and may range from 2-1/2 to 12 inches in length and 3/4 to 2 inches in width. The flesh, ivory-white to yellow or salmon-yellow, may be firm, astringent, even gummy with latex when unripe, turning tender and slippery, or soft and mellow or rather dry and mealy or starchy when ripe. The flavor may be mild and sweet or subacid with a distinct apple tone. The common cultivated types are generally seedless with just vestiges of ovules visible as brown specks. Occasionally, cross-pollination with wild types will result in a number of seeds in a normally seedless variety.

CULTURE

Location: Bananas require as much warmth as can be given them. Additional warmth can be given by planting next to a building. Planting next to cement or asphalt walks or driveways also helps. Wind protection is advisable, not for leaf protection as much as for protection of the plant after the banana stalk has appeared. During these last few months propping should be done to keep the plant from tipping or being blown over.

Soil: Bananas will grow in most soils, but to thrive, they should be planted in a rich, well-drained soil. The best possible location would be above an abandoned compost heap. They prefer an acid soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. The banana is not tolerant of salty soils.

Irrigation: The large leaves of bananas use a great deal of water. Regular deep watering is an absolute necessity during warm weather. Do not let plants dry out, but do not overwater. Standing water, especially in cool weather, will cause root rot. Plants grown in dry summer areas such as Southern California need periodic deep waterings to help leach the soil of salts. Spread a thick layer of mulch on the soil to help conserve moisture and protect the shallow roots. Container grown plants should be closely watched to see that they do not dry out. An occasional deep watering to leach the soil is also helpful.

Fertilization: Their rapid growth rate make bananas heavy feeders. During warm weather, apply a balanced fertilizer once a month–a 8:10:8 NPK fertilizer appears to be adequate. A mature plant may require as much as 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of the above fertilizer each month. Young plants need a quarter to a third as much. Spread the fertilizer evenly around the plant in a circle extending 4 – 8 feet from the trunk. Do not allow the fertilizer to come in contact with the trunk. Feed container container plants on the same monthly schedule using about half the rate for outside plants.

Frost Protection: Bananas flourish best under uniformly warm conditions but can survive 28° F for short periods. If the temperature does not fall below 22° F and the cold period is short, the underground rhizome will usually survive. To keep the plants that are above ground producing, protection against low temperatures is very important. Wrap trunk or cover with blanket if the plants are small and low temperatures are predicted.

Pruning Only one primary stem of each rhizome should be allowed to fruit. All excess shoots should be removed as soon as they are noticed. This helps channel all of of the plant’s energy into fruit production. Once the main stalk is 6 – 8 months old, permit one sucker to develop as a replacement stalk for the following season. When the fruit is harvested, cut the fruiting stalk back to 30 inches above the ground. Remove the stub several weeks later. The stalk can be cut into small pieces and used as mulch.

Propagation: Propagation of bananas is done with rhizomes called suckers or pups. Very small pups are called buttons. Large suckers are the preferred planting material. These are removed from vigorous clumps with a spade when at least three feet tall, during warm months. Pups should not be taken until a clump has at least three to four large plants to anchor it. When the pup is taken the cut must be into the mother plant enough to obtain some roots. Plant close to the surface. Large leaves are cut off of the pup leaving only the youngest leaves or no leaves at all. Some nurseries supply banana plants as container grown suckers.

Pests and Diseases: Bananas have few troublesome pests or diseases outside the tropics. Root rot from cold wet soil is by far the biggest killer of banana plants in our latitudes. California is extremely fortunate in not having nematodes that are injurious to the banana. Gophers topple them, and snails and earwigs will crawl up to where they can get continuous water, but these pests do not bother the plant.

Fruit Harvest: Stalks of bananas are usually formed in the late summer and then winter over. In March they begin “plumping up” and may ripen in April. Occasionally, a stalk will form in early summer and ripen before cold weather appears. The fruit can be harvested by cutting the stalk when the bananas are plump but green. For tree-ripened fruit, cut one hand at a time as it ripens. If latter is done, check stalk daily as rodents can eat the insides of every banana, from above, and the stalk will look untouched. Once harvested the stalk should be hung in a cool, shady place. Since ethylene helps initiate and stimulate ripening, and mature fruit gives off this gas in small amounts, ripening can be hastened by covering the bunch with a plastic bag. Plantains are starchy types that are cooked before eating.

CULTIVARS

The antiquity of the banana and its tendency to produce mutations or sports have resulted in an extensive number of cultivars. Only the common ones growing in California are listed.

Apple, Silk, or Manzana
Dessert type, pleasant sub-acid apple flavor when fully ripe. Fruit: 4 to 6 inches. Grows to 10 to 12 feet. The fruit is not ripe until some brownish specs appear on the skin. From planting until harvest is approximately 15 months.
Cavendish
Resistant to Panama Wilt disease. Clones of this variety are distinguished by the size of the pseudostem. The largest is Lacatan (12 to 18 feet) followed by Robusta and Giant Cavendish (10 to 16 feet). The smallest is the Dwarf Cavendish (4 to 7 feet).
Cuban Red
Very tall (up to 25 feet), very tropical. Skin dark red, with generally reddish pseudostem. Fruit is especially aromatic with cream-orange pulp. 20 months from planting until harvest.
Gros Michel
Commercially, the most important and considered by many to be the most flavorful. Because of its susceptibility to Panama Wilt disease it is being replaced with resistant varieties. Although there is no Panama Wilt in California, it does poorly here as the plant seems to need more heat and it tends to grow more slowly than other varieties
Ice Cream or Blue Java
Medium-tall (15 to 20 feet), bluish cast to the unripe fruit. Fruit: 7 to 9 inches, quite aromatic and is said to melt in the mouth like ice cream. Bunches are small with seven to nine hands. 18 to 24 months from planting until harvest.
Lady Finger
Tall (20 to 25 feet), excellent-quality fruit, tolerant of cool conditions. 15 to 18 months from planting to harvest.
Orinoco
Commonly grown in California for years as a landscape plant. Grows to 16 feet, more cold hardy than any other. 15 to 18 months from planting to harvest. Flavor is good, texture is less than perfect, but when properly grown and cultivated it can produce enormous stalks of fruit. Excellent in banana bread. Sometimes called horse, hog or burro banana, it can be purchased at most nurseries.
Popoulu
A Hawaiian variety with short, salmon-pink flesh, plump fruit that may be cooked or eaten fresh. A slender plant preferring a protected area with high humidity and filtered light. Grows to about 14 feet tall.
Valery
A Cavendish clone resembling the Robusta. Some believe them to be the same. The Dwarf Cavendish is the most widely planted as it is better adapted to a cool climate and is less likely to be blown over.
Williams
The same as Giant Cavendish. Originated from a mutation of Dwarf Cavendish found in Queensland, Australia. A commercial banana grown in many countries that does well in California. 10 to 16 feet in height and has a distinctive long, very large bud. The Del Monte is a Williams.

FURTHER READING

  • Lessard, William O. Complete Book of Bananas. William O. Lessard, Publisher. 1992
  • Morton, Julia F. Fruits of Warm Climates. Creative Resources Systems, Inc. 1987. pp. 29-46
  • Ortho Books. All About Citrus and Subtropical Fruits. Chevron Chemical Co. 1985. pp. 20-23

See Index of CRFG Publications, 1969 – 1989 and annual indexes of Fruit Gardener for additional articles on the banana.


Here is the list of additional CRFG Fruit Facts.


© Copyright 1996,1997, California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.
Questions or comments? Contact us.

Fruit Cultural Data — P

 

Key
Chill Hours between 32°F and 45°F, less hours above 65°F
Water D = dry, W = wet, M = medium
Genus Species Common Name Harm Kill Chill Water Soil/pH
Pachyrhizus erosus Jicama 32°F 20°F
Panax quinquefolium Ginseng -10°F -30°F
Pandanus odoratissimus Pandanus
Pandanus veitchii Striped Screw Pine
Papea capensis South African Cherry
Parkia biglobosa African Locust
Parmentiera alata Mexican Calabash
Parmentiera edulis Guajilote 32°F 28°F
Passiflora alata Fragrant Granadilla 30°F 28°F
Passiflora antioquiensis Banana Passion Fruit
Passiflora caerulea Blue Passion Flower 20°F
Passiflora cincinnata Crato Passion Fruit
Passiflora edulis Purple Passion Fruit 30°F 24°F 6.5-7.5
Passiflora edulis var. flavicarpa Yellow Passion Fruit 26°F
Passiflora foetida Love-in-a-mist 30°F 28°F
Passiflora herbertiana Passion Flower
Passiflora incarnata Maypop 28°F 20°F
Passiflora laurifolia Jamaican Honeysuckle
Passiflora ligularis Sweet Granadilla 26°F W
Passiflora maliformis Sweet Calabash Warm
Passiflora mollissima Banana Passion Fruit <28°F
Passiflora platyloba Montesa Granadilla
Passiflora quadrangularis Giant Granadilla 30°F 28°F W
Passiflora serrato Digitata
Passiflora serrato digitata Tagua-Tagua
Passiflora vitifolia Grape-leaved Passion Fruit
Passiflora Buah Susu
Pereskia aculeata Barbados Gooseberry 30°F 25°F
Persea americana Avocado 28°F 0
Persea americana drymifolia Mexican Avocado 25°F 6-8
Persea borbonia Bay Tree
Persea nubigena Guatemalan Avocado
Persea scheideana Coyo
Phoenix canariensis Canary Island Date 25°F 18°F
Phoenix dactylifera Date Palm 26°F 22°F D Alkaline
Phoenix reclinata Senegal Date 27°F 25°F
Phoenix rupicola East Indian Wine Palm 26°F 22°F
Phoenix sylvestris India Date 22°F 20°F
Phoenix zeylanica Ceylon Date
Phyllanthus acidus Otaheite Gooseberry 32°F 28°F W Any
Phyllanthus emblica Emblic 30°F 28°F W 6.0-8.0
Physalis ixocarpa Tomatillo 32°F 28°F
Physalis lobata Purple Ground Cherry
Physalis peruviana Poha 31°F
Pimenta dioica Allspice Tree 30°F 26°F
Pinus edulis Pinyon Pine
Piper methysticum Kava Kava 32°F 28°F
Piper nigrum Black/White Pepper 32°F 32°F
Pistacia vera Pistachio 10°F 800-1000 D >7.0
Platonia insignis Bakuri W
Pleiogynium solandri See P. timorensis
Pleiogynium timoriensis Burdekin Plum 30°F 25°F
Podocarpus macrophyllus Japanese Yew 28°F 25°F
Pollia sorzogonensis Pollia
Pometia pinnata Fijian Longan 33F 30°F
Poncirus trifoliata Trifoliate Orange <-13°F
Poraquieba sericae Umari
Pourouma cecropiifolia Amazon Tree-Grape 38°F 32°F
Pouteria caimito Abiu 33°F 30°F W Acid
Pouteria campechiana Canistel 32°F 26°F D Any
Pouteria hypoglauca 28°F 27°F
Pouteria obovata Lucma 27°F
Pouteria sapota Mamey Sapote 32°F 28°F W
Pouteria viridis Green Sapote 32°F 26°F
Prinsepia sinensis -20°F
Prunus americana American Plum -35°F
Prunus armeniaca Apricot -15°F 350-1000
Prunus armeniaca dasycarpa Black Apricot
Prunus avium Sweet Cherry 700-1300
Prunus besseyi Western Sand Cherry
Prunus bokhara Bokhara Plum
Prunus carolinianus Wild Orange
Prunus cerasus Sour Cherry 1200
Prunus davidiana David Peach
Prunus depressa Sand Cherry
Prunus domestica Plum 250-500
Prunus domestica Plum, European 800-1100
Prunus dulcis Almond 0°F 200-700 M
Prunus fasciculata Wild Almond
Prunus lyonii Catalina Cherry
Prunus maritima Beach Plum
Prunus mume Ume (Japanese Plum/Apricot)
Prunus persica Peach -10°F -25°F 50-1100
Prunus persica nectarina Nectarine 200-800
Prunus pumila Sand Cherry
Prunus salicifolia Capulin 30°F 26°F
Prunus salicina Japanese Plum 700-1000
Prunus serotina Black Cherry -50°F
Prunus subcordata Sierra Plum
Prunus tomentosa Nanking Cherry -50°F
Prunus umbellata Sloe Plum W/D
Prunus virginiana Choke Cherry
Pseudanamomis umbellulifera Monos Plum 32°F 25°F
Psidium cattleianum Red Strawberry Guava 23°F W/D
Psidium cattleianum lucidum Yellow Strawberry Guava
Psidium friedrichsthalianum Costa Rica Guava
Psidium guajava Guava 26°F 4.5 – 9.4
Psidium guineense Brazilian Guava
Psidium littorale See P. cattleianum
Psidium microphyllum Puerto Rican Guava
Psophocarpus tetragonolobus Winged Bean
Psoralea esculenta Breadroot
Punica granatum Pomegranate (Wonderful) 5°F 0°F 0-200 D Any
Pyrus bretschneideris Chinese White Pear 7
Pyrus communis Pear 0-600
Pyrus cydonia Smyrna Quince
Pyrus pashia Wild Himalayan Pear
Pyrus pyrifolia Chinese Pear
Pyrus salicifolia Willow Leaf Pear
Pyrus serotina Asian Pear 450
Pyrus usseriensis Chinese Asian Pear -62°F 7
A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

© Copyright 1995,1997, California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.
Questions or comments? Contact us. [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Common Fruit Names: A-C

COMMON FRUIT NAMES — A-C

California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc

January 27, 1995

 

A – C D – L M – R S – Z

 

Common Name Genus species Family
Abaca Musa textilis Musaceae
Abiu Pouteria caimito Sapotaceae
Abyssinian Banana Ensete ventricosum Musaceae
Abyssinian Gooseberry Dovyalis abyssinica Flacourtiaceae
Acerola Malpighia punicifolia Malpighiaceae
Achiote Bixa orellana Bixaceae
Achira Canna edulis Cannaceae
African Apricot Mamumea africana Guttiterae
African Breadfruit Treculia africana Moraceae
African Gooseberry Dovyalis abyssinica Flacourtiaceae
African Honeysuckle Halleria lucida Scrophulariaceae
African Horned Cucumber Cucumis metuliferus Curcurbitaceae
African Locust Parkia biglobosa Leguminosae
African Oil Palm Elaeis guineensis Palmae
African Plum Vitex doriana Verbenaceae
African Walnut Coula edulis Olacaceae
Akebia Akebia quinata Lardizabalaceae
Akee Blighia sapida Sapindaceae
Allspice Pimenta dioica Myrtaceae
Almond Prunus dulcis Rosaceae
Alpine Strawberry Fragaria vesca Rosaceae
Alupag Euphoria didyma Sapindaceae
Amazon Tree-Grape Pourouma cecropiaefolia Moraceae
Ambarella Spondias dulcis Anacardiaceae
Ambra Spondias pinnata Anacardiaceae
American Black Currant Ribes americanum Saxifragaceae
American Black Gooseberry Ribes hirtellum Saxifragaceae
American Chestnut Castanea dentata Fagaceae
American Crab Apple Malus augustifolia Rosaceae
American Crab Apple Malus coronaria Rosaceae
American Cranberry Vaccinimum macrocarpon Ericaceae
American Cranberry Bush Viburnum trilobum Caprifoliaceae
American Dewberry Rubus flagellaris Rosaceae
American Elderberry Sambucus canadensis Caprifoliaceae
American Hazelnut Corylus americana Betulaceae
American Persimmon Diospyros virginiana Ebenaceae
American Plum Prunus americana Rosaceae
Amra Spondias pinnata Anacardiaceae
Amur River Grape Vitis amurensis Vitaceae
Ananasnaja Actinidia arguta X kolomikta Actinidiaceae
Andean Blackberry Rubus glaucus Rosaceae
Annatto Bixa orellana Bixaceae
Annona Asiatic Cananga odorata Annonaceae
Anonilla Annona palmeri Annonaceae
Appalachian Tea Ilex glabra Aquifoliaceae
Apple Malus Rosaceae
Apple Guava Psidium guajava Myrtaceae
Apple Rose Rosa pomifera Rosaceae
Appleberry Billardiera Pittosporaceae
Apricot Prunus americana Rosaceae
Arabian Coffee Coffea arabica Rubiaceae
Arctic Beauty Actinidia kolomikta Actinidiaceae
Arkurbal Willughbeia angustifolia Apocynaceae
Asian Pear Pyrus Pyrifolia Rosaceae
Atemoya Annona cherimola X squamosa Annonaceae
Australian Almond Terminalia canescens Combretaceae
Australian Brush Cherry Syzygium paniculatum Myrtaceae
Autumn Oleaster Elaeagnus umbellata Elaeagnaceae
Autumn Olive Elaeagnus umbellata Elaeagnaceae
Avocado Persea americana Lauraceae
Azarole Crataegus azarolus Rosaceae
Babaco Carica pentagona Caricaceae
Bacae Theobroma bicolor Sterculiaceae
Bacuri Platonia insignis Guttiferae
Bacuripari Rheedia macrophylla Guttiferae
Bacury-Pary Rheedia macrophylla Guttiferae
Bael Fruit Aegle marmelos Rutaceae
Baked Apple Berry Rubus chamaemorus Rosaceae
Bakupari Rheedia brasiliensis Guttiferae
Bakuri Platonia insignis Guttiferae
Banana Musa Musaceae
Banana Passion Fruit Passiflora antioquiensis Passifloraceae
Banana Passion Fruit Passiflora mollissima Passifloraceae
Barbados Cherry Malpighia punicifolia Malpighiaceae
Barbados Gooseberry Patinoa almirajo Bombacaceae
Barbados Gooseberry Pereskia aculeata Cactaceae
Barberry Berberis vulgaris Berberidaceae
Batoko Flacourtia indica Flacourtiaceae
Bay Tree Laurus nobilis Lauraceae
Bay Tree Persea borbonia Lauraceae
Beach Cherry Eugenia reinwardtiana Myrtaceae
Beach Plum Prunus maritima Rosaceae
Beach Strawberry Fragaria chiloensis Rosaceae
Bearss Lime Citrus latifolia Rutaceae
Bee Bee Raspberry Rubus Rosaceae
Belimbing Averrhoa carambola Oxalidaceae
Bell Apple Passiflora laurifolia Passifloraceae
Bengal Quince Aegle marmelos Rutaceae
Ber Zyzyphus jujuba Ramnaceae
Betel Nut Areca catechu Palmae
Bigay Antidesma bunius Euphorbiaceae
Bignai Antidesma bunius Euphorbiaceae
Bignay Antidesma bunius Euphorbiaceae
Bilimbi Averrhoa bilimbi Oxalidaceae
Billy Goat Plum Terminalia ferdinandiana Combretaceae
Biriba Rollinia mucosa Annonaceae
Black Apricot Prunus armeniaca dasycarpa Rosaceae
Black Cherry Prunus serotina Rosaceae
Black Choke Prunus serotina Rosaceae
Black Current Ribes nigrum Saxifragaceae
Black Elderberry Sambucus nigra Caprifoliaceae
Black Haw Viburnum prunifolium Caprifoliaceae
Black Huckleberry Gaylussacia baccata Ericaceae
Black Mulberry Morus nigra Moraceae
Black Persimmon Diospyros digyna Ebenaceae
Black Persimmon Diospyros texana Ebenaceae
Black Sapote Diospyros digyna Ebenaceae
Black Tamarind Dialium indum Leguminosae
Black Walnut Juglans nigra Juglandaceae
Black/White Pepper Piper nigrum Piperaceae
Blackberry Rubus Rosaceae
Blackberry Jam-Fruit Randia formosa Rubiaceae
Blackcap Rubus occidentalis Rosaceae
Blood Banana Musa sumatrana Musaceae
Blue Bean Shrub Decaisnea fargesii Lardizabalaceae
Blue Lilly Pilly Syzygium coolminianum Myrtaceae
Blue Passion Flower Passiflora caerulea Passifloraceae
Blue Taro Xanthosoma violaceum Araceae
Blueberry Vaccinium Ericaceae
Bokhara Plum Prunus bokhara Rosaceae
Bower Vine Actinidia arguta Actinidiaceae
Box Blueberry Vaccinium ovatum Ericaceae
Boysenberry Rubus ursinus Rosaceae
Bramble Rubus Rosaceae
Brazil Nut Bertholletia excelsa Lecythidaceae
Brazilian Guava Psidium guineense Myrtaceae
Breadfruit (seedless) Artocarpus altilis (communis) Moraceae
Breadfruit Pandanus odoratissimus Pandanaceae
Breadnut (seeded Breadfruit) Artocarpus altilis (camansi) Moraceae
Breadnut (seeded Breadfruit) Brosimum alicastrum Moraceae
Breadroot Psoralea esculenta Leguminosae
Brier Rose Rosa canina Rosaceae
Brush Cherry Syzygium paniculatum Myrtaceae
Bu annona Annona squamosa Annonaceae
Buah Susu Passiflora Passifloraceae
Buddha’s Hand Citron Citrus medica var. sacrodactylus Rutaceae
Buffalo Berry Shepherdia argentea Elaeagnaceae
Buffalo Berry Shepherdia canadensis Elaeagnaceae
Buffalo Current Ribes aureum Saxifragaceae
Buffalo Currant Ribes odoratum Saxifragaceae
Buffalo Thorn Zizyphus mucronata Rhamnaceae
Bullock’s heart Annona reticulata Annonaceae
Bunchosia Bunchosia argentea Malpighiaceae
Buni Antidesma bunius Euphorbiaceae
Bunya-Bunya Araucaria bidwilli Araucariaceae
Burdekin Plum Pleiogynium timorensis Anacardiaceae
Bush Butter Dacryodes edulis Burseraceae
Butternut Juglans cinerea Juglandaceae
Button Mangosteen Garcinia prainiana Guttiferae
Cabinet Cherry Prunus serotina Rosaceae
Cacao Theobroma cacao Sterculiaceae
Cactus Cereus peruvianus Cactaceae
Cactus Cereus triangularis Cactaceae
Caimito Chrysophyllum cainito Sapotaceae
Caimo Pouteria caimito Sapotaceae
Calamondin Citrofortunella mitis Rutaceae
California Bay Ubellalaria californica Lauraceae
California Wild Grape Vitis californica Vitaceae
Calubura Muntingia calabura Elaeocarpaceae
Camocamo Myrciaria dubia Myrtaceae
Camu Camu Myrciaria dubia Myrtaceae
Canadian Blackberry Rubus canadensis Rosaceae
Canadian Elderberry Sambucus canadensis Caprifoliaceae
Canary Island Date Palm Phoenix canariensis Palmae
Candlenut Aleurites moluccana Euphorbiaceae
Canistel Pouteria campechiana Sapotaceae
Cannon-ball Tree Couroupita guianensis Lecythidaceae
Cape Gooseberry Physalis peruviana Solanaceae
Caper Capparis spinosa Capparidaceae
Capulin Cherry Prunus salicifolia Rosaceae
Carambola Averrhoa carambola Oxalidaceae
Carob Ceratonia siliqua Leguminosae
Carpathian Walnut Juglans regia, carpathian strain Juglandaceae
Cas Psidium friedrichsthalianum Myrtaceae
Casana Cyphomandra casana Solanaceae
Cascara Rhamnus purshiana Rhamnaceae
Cashew Anacardium occidentale Anacardiaceae
Cassabanana Sicana oderifera Cucurbitaceae
Cat’s Eye Euphoria malaiense Sapindaceae
Catalina Cherry Prunus lyonii Rosaceae
Cattley Guava Psidium cattleianum Myrtaceae
Ceriman Monstera deliciosa Araceae
Ceylon Date Palm Phoenix zeylanica Palmae
Ceylon Gooseberry Dovyalis hebecarpa Flacourtiaceae
Champedek Artocarpus integer Moraceae
Changshou Kumquat Fortunella obovata Rutaceae
Charicuela Rheedia macrophylla Guttiferae
Chaste Tree Vitex agnus-castus Verbenaceae
Chayote Sechium edule Cucurbitaceae
Che Cudrania tricuspidata Moraceae
Chempedale Artocarpus integer Moraceae
Cherapu Garcinia prainiana Guttiferae
Cheremai Phyllanthus acidus Euphorbiaceae
Cherimoya Annona cherimola Annonaceae
Cherry of the Rio Grande Eugenia aggregata Myrtaceae
Chess Apple Sorbus aria Rosaceae
Chia Ye Ficus awkeotsang Moracedea
Chicle Tree Manilkara zapota Sapotaceae
Chico Sapote Manilkara zapota Sapotaceae
Chico Mamey Bunchosia armeniaca Malpighiaceae
Chilean Guava Ugni molinae Myrtaceae
Chilean Hazel Gevuina avellana Proteaceae
Chilean Wine Palm Jubaea chilensis Palmae
China Chestnut Sterculia monosperma Sterculiaceae
Chincopin Castanea pumila var. ashei Fagaceae
Chinese Asian Pear Pyrus usseriensis Rosaceae
Chinese Chestnut Castanea mollissima Fagaceae
Chinese Date Ziziphus jujuba Rhamnaceae
Chinese Date Palm Zizyphus vulgaris Rhamnaceae
Chinese Egg Gooseberry Actinidia rubricallus Actinidiaceae
Chinese Gooseberry Actinidia deliciosa Actinidiaceae
Chinese Hackberry Celtis sinensis Ulmaceae
Chinese Jello Ficus awkeotsang Moraceae
Chinese Mulberry Cudrania tricuspidata Moraceae
Chinese Olive Canarium album Burseraceae
Chinese Pear Pyrus pyrifolia Rosaceae
Chinese Raisin Tree Hovenia dulcis Rhamnaceae
Chinese Taro Alocasia cucullata Araceae
Chinese White Pear Pyrus bretschneideri Rosaceae
Chinese White Pear Pyrus usseriensis Rosaceae
Chinquapin Castanea pumila Fagaceae
Chitra Berberis aristata Berberidaceae
Chocolate Pudding Fruit Diospyros digyna Ebenaceae
Chokecherry Prunus virginiana Rosaceae
Chupa-Chupa Quararibea cordata Bombacaceae
Ciku Manilkara zapota Sapotaceae
Cimarrona Annona montana Annonaceae
Cinnamon Cinnamomum loureirii Lauraceae
Cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylanicum Lauraceae
Ciruela Spondias purperea Anacardiaceae
Ciruela Verde Bunchosia argentea Malpighiaceae
Ciruelo Bunchosia argentea Malpighiaceae
Ciruelo Crytocarpa edulis Anacardiaceae
Citron Citrus medica Rutaceae
Clove Syzygium aromaticum Myrtaceae
Clove Currant Ribes aureum Saxifragaceae
Clove Currant Ribes odoratum Saxifragaceae
Cochin-goraka Garcina xanthochymus Guttiferae
Cocoa Theobroma cacao Sterculiaceae
Cocona Solanum sessiliflorum Solanaceae
Coconut Palm Cocos nucifera Palmae
Cocoplum Chrysobalanus icaco Chrysobalanaceae
Coffee Berry Rhamnus californica Rhamnaceae
Columbian Walnut Juglans colombensis Juglandaceae
Cometure Mouriris guianesis Mouririaceae
Commercial Banana Musa acuminata Musaceae
Commercial Banana Musa X paradisiaca Musaceae
Common Currant Ribes sativum Saxifragaceae
Common Guava Psidium guajava Myrtaceae
Common Juniper Juniperus communis Cupressacae
Conch Apple Passiflora maliformis Passifloraceae
Coontie Zamia integrifolia Cycadaceae
Cornelian Cherry Cornus mas Cornaceae
Corosol Rollinia emarginata Annonaceae
Corozo Aiphanes acanthophylla Palmae
Costa Rica Guava Psidium friedrichsthalianum Myrtaceae
Cotopriz Talisia oliviformis Sapindaceae
Country Walnut Aleurites moluccana Euphorbiaceae
Coyo Persea scheideana Lauraceae
Crabapple Malus Rosaceae
Cranberry Vaccinium Ericaceae
Cranberry Bush Viburnum triloba Caprifoliaceae
Crato Passion Fruit Passiflora cincinnata Passifloraceae
Creeping Blueberry Vaccinium crassifolium Ericaceae
Cuachilote Parmentiera edulis Bignoniaceae
Cuban Mangosteen Rheedia aristata Guttiferae
Cuban Spinach Montia perfoliata Portulacaceae
Cupu-Assu Theobroma grandiflorum Sterculiaceae
Currant Ribes Saxifragaceae
Currant Tomato Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium Solanaceae
Curry Leaf Tree Murraya koenigii Rutaceae
Curuba Passiflora mollissima Passifloraceae
Custard Apple Annona reticulata Annonaceae
Custard Apple Annona squamosa Annonaceae

 

A – C D – L M – R S – Z

 


© Copyright 1995,1997, California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.
Questions or comments? Contact us. [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Rose apple

ROSE APPLE

B/W sketch

Syzygium jambos Alston

Myrtaceae

Common Names: Rose apple, Plum rose, Malabar plum.

Related Species: Water Apple (Syzygium aqueum), Blue Lilly Pilly (S. coolminianum), Water berry (S. cordatum), Jambolan, Java Plum (S. cumini), Water Pear (S. guineense), Malay Apple (S. malaccense), Java Apple (S. samarangense).

Distant affinity: Eugenias (Eugenia spp.), Guavas (Psidium spp.), Jaboticaba (Myrciaria spp.).

Origin: The rose apple is native to the East Indies and Malaya and is cultivated and naturalized in many parts of India, southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. It was introduced into Jamaica in 1762 and became well distributed in the West Indies, and at low elevations, from southern Mexico to Peru. The tree was planted in Florida before 1877, and later in California.

Adaptation: Rose apples flourish in tropical or near-tropical climates, but the tree is proving to be hardy enough (to about 25° F) to be grown as an ornamental as far north in California as San Francisco. A beautiful specimen is thriving in the rather cold, windy rare fruit section of Quail Gardens in Encinitas. The rose apple is too large to make a suitable container plant

DESCRIPTION

Growth Habit: The rose apple is a highly decorative evergreen large shrub or small tree growing to about 20 feet with low spreading branches and pale-brown bark. It is wide spreading and often will be wider than its height.

Foliage: The lanceolate leaves are 4 to 9 inches in length by 2 inches wide, shiny and pink when they first emerge, fading to pale green. When mature they are slightly leathery and dark green. They are narrow and elliptic in shape and gradually taper to a point. The foliage is produced in a dense, luxuriant mass that hides all branches from view.

Flowers: Rose apple flowers are large and showy, white to pale cream and sweetly scented. They are 2 – 4 inches wide and consist mostly of about 300 conspicuous stamens to 1-1/3 inches long. There are usually 4 or 5 flowers together in terminal clusters. The flowers are a rich source of nectar for honeybees.

Fruit: The fruits are 1 – 2 inches wide, almost round or a little longer than wide. When ripe they may be greenish or dull-yellow flushed with pink. The skin is smooth and thin, and the firm flesh yellowish, sweet and rose scente. The texture is crisp, almost crunchy when the fruit is ripe and freshly picked. They contains one to four medium hard, round seeds, which rattle around inside the fruit. The seed as well as the roots are regarded as poisonous. Seedless, thick-fleshed fruits have been experimentally produced by treating opened flowers with growth regulators such as naphthoxy acetic acid.

CULTURE

Location: The rose apple needs a warm, sunny location that is not subject to significant frosts. It should also be kept in mind that the tree will occupy considerable space. The tree is moderately resistant to winds and tolerates cool, coastal conditions.

Soils: A deep, loamy, well-drained soil is best for the rose apple, but it also flourishes on sand and limestone with very little organic matter. In India it grows along streams. It is a favorite dooryard tree in the Peruvian part of the Amazon, where the trees are planted high enough to avoid the frequent floods.

Irrigation: The tree will tolerate semi-arid conditions, but prolonged dry spell are detrimental. It should have frequent irrigation when the weather is warm, and kept on the dry side when it’s cold.

Fertilization: The rose apple’s needs are unknown. If planted in a deep loamy soil it will thrive with very little other requirements. In less fertile soils a light semi-annual feeding of a balanced fertilizer, such as 6-6-6 NPK may be in order.

Pruning: Pruning of rose apples is not usually necessary. In some countries it is pruned drastically to promote dense growth and used as hedgerows around coffee plantations.

Frost Protection: The rose apple will take several degrees of frost but does best when planted in a protected spot on the south side of a wall or building. Young plants can be given overhead protection and covered when significant frosts are expected.

Propagation: Most rose apple trees are grown from seed. The seeds are polyembryonic and produce one to three sprouts, but seedlings are not uniform and there is considerable variation in fruit quality. The poorer fruits are dry and tasteless. Various vegetative propagation methods have been satisfactory. Treated semi-hardwood cuttings were moderately successful, while air-layering and veneer grafting of spring-flush scions have been successful to a greater degree. Fruiting takes about four years.

Pests and diseases: The rose apple has very few serious diseases and insect problems, although in humid climates the leaves are subject to a sooty mold from aphid excretions. Root rot caused by Fusarium spp., and mushroom root rot (Armillariella tabescens) can attack the tree.

Harvest: Rose apples bruise quite easily and are highly perishable. They must be freshly picked to be crisp. The fruit is only moderately interesting eaten out-of-hand, and is more often used in jellies and jams or preserved in combination with other fruits of more pronounced flavor. It is also cooked with sugar to make a dessert. When cooked with custards or puddings, they impart a rose flavor. The flowers can also be candied.

CULTIVARS

Insufficient tests have been made with strains from the West Indies, Mexico, and Guiana to tell if there are any significant differences. There are no known varieties.

FURTHER READING

  • Morton, Julia F. Fruits of Warm Climates. Creative Resources Systems, Inc. 1987. pp. 383-836.
  • Popenoe, Wilson. Manual of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits. Hafner Press. 1974. Facsimile of the 1920 edition. pp. 305-306

See Index of CRFG Publications, 1969 – 1989 and annual indexes of Fruit Gardener for additional articles on the rose apple.


Here is the list of additional CRFG Fruit Facts.


© Copyright 1996, California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.
Questions or comments? Contact us.