Fruits & Vegetables


Botanical Name : Pouteria campechiana
Family: Sapotaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales
Genus: Pouteria
Species: P. campechiana

*Lucuma campechiana Knuth
*Lucuma nervosa A. DC.
*Lucuma salicifolia Knuth

Common Names: Canistel, Egg fruit, Yellow Sapote
Its specific name is derived from the Mexican town of Campeche, where it is native.

In the numerous countries where it is cultivated or sold, it is known by many vernacular names; canistel is common, as are variations on egg fruit and names referring to its yellow color. In the Philippines, it is called chesa, tiessa, or tiesa. In Sri Lanka, this fruit is known as laulu, lavulu, or lawalu. In Thailand, it is known by different traditional popular names such as lamut Khamen (“Khmer sapodilla”) or tho Khamen, folk imagination attributing a hypothetical Cambodian origin to this fruit (the name of the fruit is see da in Cambodia). Currently, those names are discouraged by linguistic authorities and names making no reference to Cambodia, such as mon khai —Khai meaning “egg”, or tiesa , are officially favored.

The plant’s name in the Vietnamese language is cây tr?ng gà (“chicken egg” plant) because of the fruit’s appearance.

In Indonesian language, it is called alkesah, or sawo mentega (butter sapodilla, for its color and texture).

Though relatively rare in East Africa, they can be found, and in the Swahili language, the fruit is confusingly named zaituni, which is the same word used to refer to olives.

In Taiwan, it is called danhuang guo, “egg yolk fruit” or xiantao “peach of the immortals”.

Canistel is native to, and cultivated in, southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and El Salvador. It is cultivated in other countries, such as Costa Rica, Brazil, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Australia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

The plant is found growing in moist or wet mixed forest, sometimes in pine forests, often on limestone. The plant is tolerant of a diversity of soils–calcareous, lateritic, acid-sandy, heavy clay.

Canistel is a medium sized, erect, evergreen, lactiferous tree that grows about 8–20 m high with a 25–60 cm wide. The plant is found growing in moist or wet mixed forest, sometimes in pine forests, often on limestone. The plant is tolerant of a diversity of soils–calcareous, lateritic, acid-sandy, heavy clay. It makes best vegetative growth in deep, fertile, well-drained soil but is said to be more fruitful on shallow soil. It can be cultivated on soil considered too thin and poor for most other fruit trees. The canistel flourishes in a frost free tropical or subtropical climate with hot or warm summers and cool winters. In Florida, it survives winter cold as far north as Palm Beach and Punta Gorda and in protected areas of St. Petersburg. It requires no more than moderate precipitation and does well in regions with a long dry season. The plant has finely-ribbed, dark gray trunk and horizontal branches. It is rich in white gummy latex in every part of the tree. Young branches are velvety brown.


Leaves are alternate, but mostly grouped as whorls at the tips of the branches, obovate-elliptic, 6-28 cm long and 2.5-8 cm wide, glossy, bright green and bluntly pointed at the apex, more sharply tapered at the base. The petioles are 5-25 cm long.

Flowers are bisexual, fragrant, and solitary or in small clusters, borne in the leaf axils or at leafless nodes on slender pedicles which are 5-12 cm long. They are 5 or 6 lobed, cream colored, silky hairy about 8-11 mm long. Sepals are ovate to sub orbiculate, 5–11 mm long; petals are creamy- white, 8–12 mm long, petaloid staminodes, 2–4 mm. The sexual system is hermaphrodite. Flowering normally takes place from January to June.

The shape and size of the fruit is highly variable, depending on the cultivar. The better selections consistently produce large, ovate fruit with glossy skin weighing upwards of 400 g (14 oz). The flesh is somewhat pasty, although the best varieties have a creamy, mousse-like texture. The flavor is rich and is reminiscent of an egg custard. The fruit may contain one to six large, brown seeds.

The canistel displays climacteric fruit ripening. A fully mature fruit shows an intense yellow skin color. It eventually softens and drops from the tree. Insects and birds avoid the fruit flesh, perhaps because of its astringent properties, that are much reduced in senescent fruits, but still perceptible to the human palate. Apparently mature fruits severed from the tree while still hard often fail to develop the desired climacteric changes in terms of reduced astringency and a texture reminiscent of egg yolk. This, and the fact that climacteric fruits quickly start to decay at ambient temperatures, may have contributed to the low economic importance of the canistel.

Edible Uses: The edible part of the tree is its fruit. Like the related lucuma, the canistel can be eaten fresh, and has the texture of a hard-boiled egg yolk. The ripe fruit can be made into jam, marmalade, pancakes, and flour. The ripe flesh is blended with milk and other ingredients to make a shake, and pureed, it is sometimes added to custards or used in making ice cream. It is also used in a milkshake known as “eggfruit nog”.

Health benefits: Healthy for Heart, Lowers the risk of diabetes, Lower the Risk of Cataract, Treats osteoarthritis, Prevents Cancer, Immunity Booster, Good for the eyes, Prevents Cough and Flu, Great for Digestion, Prevent Anemia,Treats Arthritis, Promotes Healthy Bone, Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s

Other Uses: The wood of the tree is occasionally used in construction where it is available, especially as planks or rafters. In its native range, it has been a source of latex used to adulterate chicle.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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