A new species of Chrysophyllum has recently been called to the attention of the Editors by Robert Pulvirenti of Southport in South Queensland. Most growers know well the Caimito or Star Apple (Chrysophyllum cainito), which is a Winter and Spring fruit. There are also many "Greenleaf" Star apples planted around the North Coast area; this is a related species which has leaves light green below, and the fruit of which is similar, but perhaps a little superior, to the caimito.
The newly revealed fruit is Chrysophyllum imperialis (synonym Martiusella imperialis). The parent Australian tree is growing in the Sydney Botanic Gardens. The seed of this tree was sent from Rio de Janeiro state in southeastern Brazil.
The round, brown-skinned fruit is softly pubescent or downy to the touch, and about 7.5 cm in length, including a small point at the base. The flesh inside is custardy, has a sticky texture, and is good to eat. The seeds are much like those of the Australian native Planchonella, a sapotaceous "cherry" common to Queensland rainforests. They have only a short viability.
The tree is of slow growth, at least in South Queensland. The leaves are large and thick, oval to elliptic in shape, with a serrated edge. The new leaf flush is pubescent.
DATE: March 1992
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