Over the years I've experienced the frustration of conducting a conversation about a fruit in which new and exciting information comes to light, only to discover that we were not talking about the same fruit at all. Sometimes we are not even talking about the same family of plants. Noel Hunt of Australia gives us some of his views on this subject.

Fruit that are marketed as misnomers lead to problems for purchasers, consumers and market-reporting staff; confusion could also arise if two or more different fruits were selling with similar names, i. e. black sapote, green sapote, mamey sapote and (synonym) South American sapote.

The plant families listed below show that the true sapotes are the last:

Matisia cordata
(syn.) Quararibea cordata
S.American Sapote
Diospyros digynaBlack Sapote
 Chocolate Pudding
 Chocolate Persimmon
Casimiroa edulisWhite Sapote (now renamed Casimiroa)
Pouteria sapotaMamey Sapote
Pouteria viride Green Sapote

It is hard to comprehend why EBENACEAE fruit is being marketed as a sapote. I shall tell you about my experiences with 'Black Sapote' fruit trees, when I operated the Rare Fruit Nursery.

When I first commenced the business the seedling trees were for sale as 'Black Sapotes'. However, due to lack of interest in them, after four months I started selling them by another common name, 'Chocolate Pudding Fruit'. The usual comment I overheard clients saying was, "Chocolate Pudding Fruit! That sounds good...we must have one of those!" It would be fair to say that eight out of ten couples included one among their purchases.

At that time, the name 'Chocolate Persimmon' had not come to my attention. As the result of my nursery experience I came to three conclusions:

1. 'Black' is an unexciting name to describe a tasty fruit.

2. Most people like chocolate, so why not give the people what they want? The name 'Chocolate Pudding Fruit' intrigued customers into a purchase (I could see some licking their lips in anticipation).

3. The sapote portion of its name is a misnomer.

I saw the common name 'Chocolate Persimmon' mentioned in an article in "Tropical Fruit News" late last year. Consequently I like it firstly and 'Chocolate Pudding' secondly. As the more temperate fruit, the persimmon, belongs to the same family, the 'Chocolate Persimmon' seems an apt choice.

Members may recall a push by the Exotic Fruit Growers Association about two years ago to rename the 'Custard Apple' to 'Cherimoya'. Their efforts were unsuccessful. 'Cherimoya' would have led to just as much confusion as the word 'Apple' in 'Custard Apple'. That is because the cherimoya is one variety of this species (and probably not the best).

After giving the consumers what they like with the previous fruit - more chocolate - why not, therefore, drop the word 'Apple' from the common name for the following alternatives:

Annona speciesCustard Fruit
 Creamy Custard

As previously mentioned, the misnomer of 'White Sapote' was renamed 'Casimiroa' the same as its genus name; possibly it would make good sense to rename the 'Custard Apple' to its genus name, 'Annona'. The Annona-specific cultivar name would be stencilled on the ends of the cardboard containers.

An increasing volume of these aforementioned fruits is reaching the market each year. Members and government agricultural bodies should turn their attention to correcting this misnomer situation.

Noel Hunt
Extract from RFCI Tropical Fruit News Vol.25 No.7 July 1991

DATE: January 1992

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