Fruits & Vegetables

Mammee Apple

Botanical Name: Mammea americana
Family: Calophyllaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Mammea
Species: M. americana

Common Names: Mammee apple, Mammee, Mamey, mamey apple, Santo Domingo apricot, Tropical apricot, or South American apricot

Habitat:Mammee apple is native to Northern S. America to the Caribbean. Within its natural range, mammee is most frequently found in semi-cultivation or in areas that have been disturbed.

Tree:……….CLICK & SEE
The mammee tree is 18 m (59 ft) – 21 m (69 ft) high and is similar in appearance to the southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). Its trunk is short and reaches 1.9 m (6 ft 3 in) – 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) in diameter. The tree’s upright branches form an oval head. Its dark-green foliage is quite dense, with opposite, leathery, elliptic leaves. The leaves can reach 10 cm (3.9 in) wide and twice as long.

The mammee flower is fragrant, has 4 or 6 white petals, and reaches 2.5 cm (0.98 in) – 4 cm (1.6 in) wide when fully blossomed. The flowers are borne either singly or in clusters of two or three, on short stalks. There can be, in a single flower, pistils, stamens or both, so there can be male, female or hermaphrodite flowers on one tree.

Fruit:……..CLICK & SEE
The mammee apple is a berry, though it is often misinterpreted to be a drupe. It is round or slightly irregular, with a brown or grey-brown 3 mm (0.12 in) thick rind. In fact, the rind consists of the exocarp and mesocarp of the fruit, while the pulp is formed from the endocarp. The stem is thick and short. The mammee apple has more or less visible floral remnant at the apex.

Mammee apples’ diameter ranges from 10 cm (3.9 in) to 20 cm (7.9 in). When unripe, the fruit is hard and heavy, but its flesh slightly softens when fully ripe. Beneath the skin, there is a white, dry membrane, whose taste is astringent, that adheres to the flesh. The flesh is orange or yellow, not fibrous, and can have various textures (crispy or juicy, firm or tender). Generally, the flesh smell is pleasant and appetizing.

Small fruits contain a single seed, while larger ones might have up to four. The seeds are brown, rough, oval and around 6 cm (2.4 in) long. The juice of the seed leaves an indelible stain.

Mammee apple is limited to tropical or near tropical moist to wet climates. It grows best in the lowlands, but can succeed at elevations up to 1,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 24 – 30°c, but can tolerate 12 – 35°c. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -2°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at 0°c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 – 1,800mm, but tolerates 800 – 2,600mm. Prefers a position in full sun or light shade. Prefers a deep, rich, well-drained sandy loam. Prefers a pH in the range 6 – 6.5, tolerating 5.5 – 8.

Edible Uses:
Though edible, this fruit has received little attention worldwide.

The raw flesh can be served in fruit salads, or with wine, sugar or cream, especially in Jamaica. In the Bahamas, the flesh is first put in salted water to remove its bitterness, before cooking it with much sugar to make a sort of jam. The flesh can also be consumed stewed.

In the French West Indies, an aromatic liqueur, eau créole, or crème créole, is distilled from the mammee flowers. This liqueur is believed to be tonic or digestive.

Medicinal Uses:
Traditional medicine:
Uses of mamey in folk medicine include treatment of scalp infections, diarrhoea, digestive and eye problems. The powdered seeds are employed in the treatment of parasitic skin diseases. An infusion of the ground seeds, minus the embryo which is considered convulsant, is employed as an anthelmintic for adults only. The gummy latex from the bark has been used as an insecticide, to extract chiggers and insects from the skin, and to kill ticks and other parasites of dogs and other domestic animals. An aromatic liqueur called Eau de Creole or Crème de Creole, is distilled from the flowers and said to act as a tonic or digestive. An infusion of the fresh or dry leaves is given in cases of intermittent fever. The plant contains coumarins, especially mammeine

In Trinidad & Tobago, the grated seeds are mixed with rum or coconut oil to treat head lice and chiggers. Underripe fruits are rich in pectin, and the tree bark is high in tannin.

Other Uses:
Various parts of the tree contain insecticidal substances, especially the seed kernel. In Puerto Rico, mammee leaves are wrapped around young tomato plants to keep mole crickets and cutworms away. In a similar way, the bark gum is melted with fat in Jamaica and Mexico, then applied to feet to repel chiggers or fleas on animals. The same effect is also obtained from infusions of half-ripe fruits.

In the Virgin Islands, the tannin from the bark is used to tan leather. The mammee timber is heavy and hard, yet easy to work; it has received, however, only limited commercial interest.

Known Hazards: The bitter tasting seeds in the fruit are poisonous to fish, chicks and some insects.(Seed is poisonous if ingested)

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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