The olosapo (Couepia polyandra) a member of the Rosaceae or rose family, is indigenous to Central America and Mexico. In Florida it makes an attractive small gray-trunked tree with 5- to 7-inch-long leaves, shiny dark green on top with a contrasting dull whitish-tomentose green under side. Several crops of fruit are borne annually, usually appearing from early fall through spring. During bloom, panicles containing minute white flowers appear in profusion on the terminal branches. These are soon followed by clusters of 3½-inch-long by 1½-inch-diameter orange-yellow 'pickle-shaped' fruit.
The fruit of the olosapo is thin-skinned, slightly fibrous and resembles the canistel (Pouteria campechiana) in taste. It is astringent unless fully mature, at which stage it should be quite soft, possibly appearing overripe. Such fruit are usually found on the ground, having fallen off the tree. Each crop can consist of hundreds of fruit, and the moderate-size seeds germinate readily under the tree. Seedlings take about six years to bear. The olosapo is reported to be drought resistant, likes full sun and appears free of disease and insect problems in Florida. In its native habitat it is subject to attack by seed weevils.
DATE: November 1993
* * * * * * * * * * * * *