ABSTRACT: The camu camu (Myrciaria paraensis Berg), the 'Wan' variety of maprang (Bouea macrophylla Griff) and the 'Manila' variety of santol (Sandoricum koetjape Merr) have been introduced and grown by the writer and recently fruited in Bal Harbour. This is believed to be the first instance of these bearing in South Florida.
The camu camu, indigenous to the Amazon Basin, is commercially bottled in Peru to make a popular beverage. Exported to the U.S.A., it is processed and used in Vitamin C tablets. Analysis of the Florida-grown berry ran 1950 mg. ascorbic acid/100 g. juice.
The 'Wan' maprang closely resembles in miniature, a mango (Mangifera indica) tree, to which it is related. The orange egg-like fruit, borne in mid-spring, have a pleasant, sweet flavor, a brittle skin and little fiber.
The 'Manila' santol produces heavy crops of large, high-quality fruit in late summer. This superior Philippine variety could awaken a new interest in this Asiatic fruit.
THE CAMU CAMU (Myrciaria paraensis Berg) Myrtaceae family
Seed of this jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora) relative was introduced into Florida in 1964 by the writer. The bush is indigenous to the Amazon Basin where it grows along damp river banks to a height of 20 feet. During the rainy season, the lower branches and up to half the plant are under water for extended periods as the rivers rise 8 to 12 feet. In rate of growth and appearance, the plant resembles the jaboticaba except for its larger, up to 4-inch-long leaves, more upright foliage and light bronze-brown colored trunks.
At first there was some doubt as to whether the camu camu would grow on dry land. Plants were set out in an acid hammock sand soil, watered three times weekly by one sprinkler head per seedling. No particular problems were experienced other than severe leaf tip burn during the dry winter months. The first fruit appeared on one bush in early September, 1972, in sufficient quantities to bend many of the branches to the ground. The 1-inch-diameter, round, dark-red fruit is extremely sour like a Key Lime (Citrus aurantifolia), with three seeds embedded in the pulp. Fruiting takes place mostly on the sides of terminal branches, with the main crop in late summer followed by occasional berries in winter. Observed seedling variation suggests vegetative propagation of selected strains to obtain both plant vigor and good fruit production. The harvest specimen is presently 12 feet high with an equal spread.
The very acid camu camu makes an excellent pink-colored fresh drink comparable to limeade. In Peru it is commercially processed to make a popular bottled beverage. In the U. S. A., it is imported from South America and used in organic Vitamin C tablets sold in health food stores under the brand name "Camu Plus".
The writer engaged the services of Chemical Consultants, a Miami firm, to ascertain the Vitamin C content of Florida-grown camu camu. In his October 3, 1973 report, Dr. Carl T. Tebeau wrote of using the photocolorimetric method and averaging two analyses of half-ripened and half barely-ripening fruit to obtain 1950 mg. ascorbic acid/100g. juice. This value obtained for Vitamin C approximately equals the amount to be found in ripened acerola cherries(Malpighia glabra).
THE 'WAN' MAPRANG (Bouea macrophylia Griff) Anacardiaceae family
Grafted plants of this maprang variety were obtained by the writer in April, 1967 from Thailand. Purnariksha (3), thru whom this introduction was made stated, "The graftwood of maprang was taken from an orchard neighboring our Bangkok Noi Fruit Station, Bangkok. This is called 'Maprang Wan' ('Wan' means sweet). The tree is noted for its large fruit and sweet taste, being the best kind of maprang from this vicinity".
In May 1973, the first yellow-orange egg-shaped fruit appeared. These mango-like (Mangifera indica) 2¼-inch-long fruit contained a bright orange, sweet-tasting, juicy flesh and very little fibre. The single seed, when broken open, exposed a contrasting purple violet interior. The thin, brittle skin makes peeling difficult. It is therefore easier to eat by putting a part of the unpeeled fruit in one's mouth and after consuming the pulp remove the seed. The rind can be either eaten or discarded at the same time.
Bouea macrophylla is indigenous to the Asiatic Tropics where it makes a medium-sized tree with normally acid-tasting fruit. Common names are "Maprang" in Thai, "Kundangan" in Malay and "Gandareea" in Indonesia. This member of the Anacardiaceae family closely resembles the mango tree in minature.
To distinguish immature seedlings from those of the mango, the leaf positions should be observed. If they are in opposite pairs it is a Bouea, but if alternate, a mango. The 'Wan' maprang, upon which this report is based, is presently 10 feet in height with a 7-foot spread. This non-astringent variety of the usually sour fruit bears in April and May, earlier in the season than most mangoes. The flavour is pleasant and sweet, the crop heavy with numerous volunteer seedlings appearing. The tree, on an acid hammock sand soil, has 6-inch leaves that are occasionally subject to anthracnose (Colletrotrichum gloeosporioidies) attack and the crotches of the side branches appear weak.
Campbell (1) reporting from the Agricultural Research and Education Center, Homestead, stated, "Introductions made in 1935, 1936 and 1938 died in the nursery or in the field. The cause of death is listed as cold injury, but from the performance of plants I have seen, probably part of the problem was an adverse reaction to soils of high pH".
Vegetative propagation is by graft and marcot. Attempts by the writer to graft the maprang onto the closely related mango have been unsuccessful.
THE 'MANILA' SANTOL (Sandoricum koetjape Merr) Meliaceae family
This variety was received by the writer in September, 1967 from the Philippines. Planted in an acid hammock sand soil, the inarched tree proved a vigorous grower, bearing its first crop in August, 1972. The yellow-orange 3½-inch-diameter fruit are nearly round with a downy, thick, resilient rind and usually contain five seeds. Around each seed and adhering to it is the soft whitish translucent pulp which, in the 'Manila', variety possesses a very pleasing and delicate blend of sweetness and acidity. The juicy fruit is thirst-quenching and cannot be hurriedly eaten, for the flesh of each segment clings tenaciously to its seed. Cut across the equator, the fruit resembles in appearance the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana).
The santol is indigenous to the Asiatic Tropics where it grows into a large tree, slightly smaller than the mango. The specimen 'Manila' variety now has a height of 21 feet with a 30 foot spread. Its foliage compared with most santols is unusually rank, The trifoliate leaves have leaflets that are up to 10 inches long, not including the petiole. These are dark green and smooth above, pale, dull-green and velvety to the touch on the underside. Just prior to being shed, aged mature leaves frequently turn a beautiful autumn-like red. The light-yellow flowers appear in spring, borne on axillary panicles and resemble those of the mango except for the few interspersed leaves among the bloom.
The abundant fruit of the 'Manila' variety matures in August and early September and is thought to be of a larger size and superior quality to those observed and sampled by the writer in tropical areas. The Florida grown santol appears free of most insects and diseases except for the Caribbean Fruit Fly (Anastrepha suspensa). This pest oviposits on the ripening fruit, causing an unsightly flyspecked appearance. Fortunately the thick rind prevents the larvae from developing and damaging the interior of the fruit. Propagation is by budding and marcot.
The santol is not new to Florida. In December, 1958, Gaskins was reported by Whitman and Churney (4) observing a bearing seedling santol tree on the Alvin R. Jennings Estate, just south of Fairchild Tropical Garden. Campbell (2) stated "Introductions of seed were made in 1931, 1933, 1950, 1951, 1956, 1958 and 1961. In nearly every case the plants have grown well in potting soil in containers, but have suffered from severe iron deficiency when planted out in the limestone soil. Plants have been lost on several occasions from frost injury. One tree, a seedling, is growing well here now in Block 2. I believe that with applications of Geigy 138 to prevent iron deficiency and sprinkler irrigation for frost protection, the santol will grow all right at Homestead".
1. Campbell, Carl W., Professor (Horticulturist), 1974. Personal Communications, Oct. 11th.
2. ------ 1974. Personal Communication, Oct. 11th.
3. Purnariksha, Roem, Thai Dept. of Agr. Official, 1967. Personal Communication.
4. Whitman and Churney, 1959. "Rare Fruit Council Activities 1958-59". Proc. Fla. State Hort.- Soc. 72:330.
DATE: May 1989
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