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White sapotes, photo courtesy of Doreen L. Wynja
White sapotes, photo courtesy of Doreen L. Wynja

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Zone
Zones 8, 9, 14-16, 18-24, H1, H2
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

White Sapote

Rutaceae
Deciduous, Evergreen, Edible fruit, Trees

Beautiful tropical tree, botanicallyknown as Casimiroa edulis.This native to Mexico withstandsmore cold than mostavocados and does well whereveroranges are grown. Maybecome partially deciduous infrosty or very hot weather. To25–50 ft. tall and 25–30 ft.wide, with luxuriant glossy greenleaves divided fanwise intothree to seven oval, 3–5-in.-longleaflets. Heavy crop of round,3–4-in. fruit with pale green toyellow skin and white or creamyyellow flesh with custardlikeconsistency and tropical flavor.California varieties include‘Lemon Gold’, ‘Louise’, ‘McDill’,‘Suebelle’, and ‘Vernon’. ‘Denzler’is grown in Hawaii.

Roots are invasive; chooseplanting location carefully. Tokeep tree lower and create awide, umbrellalike crown, pinchout terminal bud. Needs consistentfeeding. Fruit tastes bestwhen allowed to ripen on tree,but it usually drops beforereaching ripeness. Pick it whenfirm-ripe, at which point the flavoris mellow and sweet. (Somevarieties become sweeter if leftto stand at room temperature;others turn bitter.) To harvest,cut from tree, leaving a smallpiece of stem attached; pickcarefully to avoid bruising. Eatwith a spoon. Mature tree mayproduce several hundred pounds of fruit, far more than anyone family can use. Cleanupbecomes a chore, so plantwhere dropping fruit can beraked up or disappear intoa groundcover.

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