Origin: Northern South America, Central America and the West Indies
Common Names and Distribution: Mamoncillo, in Northern South America, Central America and Spanish islands in the West Indies; Mamon, in parts of South America; Spanish Lime, in Florida Keys; Genip, in British West Indies; Knepe, in French West Indies and Haiti.
Importance: Sold on the streets and in the markets.
Uses: The outer covering of the Spanish Lime is opened and the flesh surrounding the seed is eaten fresh. The pulp can also be used in making drinks and the seeds may be eaten roasted.
Description: The tree can grow as high as 60 feet but is usually 30 to 40 feet. The leaves are light-green to blue-green in color and are alternate-compound with 4 leaflets. The flowers are male or hermaphrodite, inconspicuous, small and are produced in short panicles. They are generally hermaphrodite, but both bisexual flowers and those of one sex only are produced on a single tree; however, the anthers of many of the bisexual flowers are non-functional so that fruits do not develop unless there is cross pollination.
Fruit: The smooth, round or oblong, fruits are up to 1" in diameter with an outer covering that is thin, leathery and green on the surface; it encloses a single large seed surrounded by soft, orange or cream-colored, translucent, juicy pulp.
Production: Male trees do not bear at all, so hermaphrodite trees are necessary for fruit. Bearing is moderate to heavy, appearing in summer.
Varieties: The 'Queen' variety from Key West has been propagated and countless others have been noted, but not much clonal selection has taken place.
Climate: The mamoncillo needs a lowland tropical climate, but will tolerate several degrees of frost without damage.
Propagation: Propagation has been principally by seed, but the possibility of male seedlings makes seed chancy. Large limbs, but not small ones, will marcot. Approach grafts are successful.
Soils: The mamoncillo will tolerate the worst of soils and is a good fruit tree for the poor, calcareous soils of South Florida and the Keys.
DATE: March 1981
* * * * * * * * * * * * *