Herbs & Plants

Casimiroa edulis

Botanical Name: Casimiroa edulis
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: Toddalioideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Genus: Casimiroa

Synonyms: Fagara bobacifolia (A.Rich.) Krug. & Urb. Zanthoxylum araliaceum Turcz. Zanthoxylum bombacifolium A.
Species: C. edulis

Common Names: White Sapote, Mexican Apple, White sapote, Casimiroa, Otomi Indian, Casimiro Gómez

Habitat: Casimiroa edulis is native to Central America north to Mexico. It is a subtropical deciduous woodlands and low forests. Dryish highland forests at elevations of 600 – 1,000 metres.

Casimiroa edulis is an evergreen tree growing to 16 m (52ft) by 16 m (52ft) at a medium rate. . The leaves are alternate, palmately compound with three to five leaflets, the leaflets 6–13 cm long and 2.5–5 cm broad with an entire margin, and the leaf petiole 10–15 cm long. The flowers are pollinated by Bees. The fruit is an ovoid drupe, 5–10 cm in diameter, with a thin, inedible skin turning from green to yellow when ripe, and an edible pulp, which can range in flavor from bland to banana-like to peach to pear to vanilla 1photo 2photo 3 The pulp can be creamy-white in green-skin varieties or a beige-yellow in yellow-skin varieties and has a smooth texture similar to ripe avocado. It contains from one to five seeds that are said to have narcotic properties. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Plants are about as hardy as a lemon (Citrus limon), which means that they can tolerate occasional frosts. In tropical latitudes the plant can be found at elevations between 700 – 3,000 metres, but it is best grown between 1,000 – 2,000 metres. In subtropical climate it can be grown at sea level. It is distinctly subtropical in its climatic requirements, surviving light frosts. On the other hand, flowering during the coldest months tends to result in poor fruit set. Plants are unlikely to do well in lowland tropical areas, especially in the wetter regions. Temperature range for growth is reported to be 14 – 31c with the optimum between 18 – 26c. Temperatures around -1 to -2c may injure young growing shoots and cause fruit drop, whereas temperatures about -3 to -4?c may kill the tree to the ground. Annual rainfall range for growth is reported to be 500 – 4,000mm with the optimum between 1,500 – 3,000mm. Prefers an open, well-drained site on a loamy soil. Prefers a pH in the range 7 – 7.5, tolerating 6.5 – 8. Established plants are drought resistant, though they need adequate moisture if they are to fruit well. Seedling trees usually begin to bear in 7 – 8 years. Grafted trees start bearing in 3 – 4 years. Trees can flower and produce fruit at more than one time of the year. A mature tree can produce more than 100 kilos of fruit a year. There are many named varieties. Frequent light pruning is possible to increase the number of fruiting arms but pruning should not be too heavy. Fruit are picked when colour changes occur and ripened off the tree. They can be stored at 5C for 3-6 weeks. Adding potash prior to fruiting and nitrogen prior to vegetative regrowth is suggested for increased yield. Fruit yields are high. Fruit are easily damaged.

Edible Uses:
Edible portion: Fruit, Seeds, Nut. Fruit – raw or cooked. A sweet flavour, though the butter-textured flesh can be resinous. The flavour is peach-like. The fruit has a remarkably high food value, almost as rich in protein, carbohydrate and vitamins as a banana. The yellow-green fruit is up to 10cm long. Eating the fruit has long been known to produce drowsiness. Some reports say that the seed is toxic if eaten raw, whilst others say that it can be roasted and eaten like nuts.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves, bark, and especially the seeds contain a glucoside called casimirosine that has sedative activity. They have been employed as sedatives, soporifics and tranquilizers. In Costa Rica, the leaf decoction is taken as a treatment for diabetes. Eating the fruit produces drowsiness and it is widely claimed in Mexico and Central America that consumption of the fruit relieves the pains of arthritis and rheumatism. The fruit is also reportedly vermifugal. The seeds contain a number of alkaloids which are narcotic with soporific activity. Crushed and roasted seeds are effective in healing putrid sores. Vasodepressive activity of the white sapote is attributed to Na-dimethy-1-histamine, formerly found in nature only in the sponge, Geodia gigas. Several recent in vitro studies have shown that zapotin – found in the seeds – has potential anti-carcinogenic effects against isolated colon cancer cells.

Other Uses:
Other uses rating: Low (2/5). Small shade tree, Small fruit tree, Agricultural shade, Screening, Backyard tree. Other Uses The seed is said to be fatally toxic if eaten raw by humans or animals. Extractions from the kernels are an attractive and lethal bait for American cockroaches, having the advantage of killing on the spot rather than at some distance after ingestion of the poison. The wood is yellow, fine-grained, compact, moderately dense and heavy, medium strong and resistant, but not durable for long. It is occasionally employed in carpentry and for domestic furniture.

Known Hazards: The seed is said to be fatally toxic if eaten raw by humans or animals. (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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