Home | Garden Plants | Herbs_and_Spices | Medical plants | Aromatic Plants | Tropical Coast Shores | Site Map | Links


Casimiroa edulis White sapote Kasmir Rutaceae

cochitzapotl, Casimiroa edulis, Kasmir

cochitzapotl, Casimiroa edulis, Kasmir

White sapote (Casimiroa edulis), also known as cochitzapotl in Nahuatl (meaning '"sleep-sapote") is a species of tropical fruiting tree in the family Rutaceae, native to eastern Mexico and Central America south to Costa Rica. Mature trees range from 516 m tall and are evergreen. The leaves are alternate, palmately compound with 3-5 leaflets, the leaflets 613 cm long and 2.55 cm broad with an entire margin, and the leaf petiole 1015 cm long. The fruit is an ovoid drupe, 510 cm in diameter, with a thin, inedible skin turning from green to yellow when ripe, and an edible pulp, which can range in flavor from bland to banana-like to peach to pear to vanilla .The pulp can be creamy-white in green skin varieties or a beige-yellow in yellow skin varieties and has a smooth texture similar to ripe avocado. It contains from one to five seeds that are said to have narcotic properties.

In the past 40 years, extensive experiments have been carried out on the white sapote's seeds which have yielded the identity of many pharmacologically active compounds, including: n-methylhistamine, n-dimethylhistamine, zapotin and histamine.

Eating the fruit has long been known to produce drowsiness, as noted by Francisco Hernandez de Toledo in the 16th century. Although Europeans were not the first to note this quality, they destroyed the 99% of the pre-extant literature of Mesoamerica. The Nahuatl name itself is a record of the fact that people knew the plant induced drowsiness.

Unlike the mamey sapote, white sapote is a member of the family Rutaceae, to which citrus belongs. The black sapote is also unrelated and is actually a species of persimmon. This confusion may be because "sapote" comes from the Nahuatl (Aztec) word tzapotl, used to describe all soft, sweet fruit. Commonly grown in Northern NSW, Australia and often mistaken for a Persimon, of which there is no scientific connection between these two fruits.
Pharmacological effects

Several recent studies have shown Zapotin to have an anti-carcinogenic effect against colon cancer.
Apple sized fruit with white or yellow creamy, custardy pulp that has an excellent sweet banana flavor. White sapote's are well known throughout much of Central America and Mexico.

Description: A medium to large tree which can grow up to 50+ feet high. The small flowers are formed in large groups and may occur off and on a few times per year, with fruit ripening 6-8 months later. There are green skinned varieties, yellow skinned varieties, and many in between. Pick fruits as they begin to soften, but do not wait too long as fallen fruits tend to smash when they drop due to their soft flesh. Mature trees can produce hundreds of pounds of fruit every year.

Hardiness: The white sapote is subtropical to tropical, surviving temperatures to 22F for short periods of time.
cochitzapotl, Casimiroa edulis, KasmirGrowing Environment: White Sapote's prefer a climate with moderate humidity, though trees have performed well in high-humidity area such as Hawaii. It colder areas, white sapotes do well in sunny locations, it warmer areas shade may be provided. Water often, although trees can withstand short periods of drought. White sapote's have large tap root systems that require deep soil. Only trees with trimmed roots (or cuttings) can be container grown.

Propagation: Better varieties are usually propagated by grafting or budding, which produce fruit in 3-4 years. Seedling trees produce in 6-8 years.

Uses: Fruits are excellent when eaten ripe. Unripe fruits have a bitter taste, and flesh very near the skin can sometimes have a bitter taste. Usually the flesh is scooped out with a spoon and eaten raw.

Native Range: Native to the highlands of Central Mexico. Grown commercially in Mexico, parts of Central America, and occasionally California.