Plant of the Week – White Sapote

The White Sapote (Casimiroa edulus) fruits grow on trees that can reach 5-15 meters in height. Native to Mexico and Central America, it is sometimes referred to as Mexican Apple. Introduced to Malawi, it was named ‘msuku wa chizungu’ (or msuku of the English). The fruits can grow to about the size of apples, and a single healthy tree can yield up to 1,000 fruits each year.

The fruits contain a creamy yellowish pulp with large white seeds. This pulp has a sweet apple-banana flavor and is highly nutritious. They are a high source carbohydrates and rich in vitamins A and C. They also provide minerals like sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorous etc.

The leaves, bark, and especially the seeds all contain medicinal properties. The fruit has a slight sedative effect and can be eaten to help promote sleep. In Mexico and Central America it is also claimed that the fruit relieves the pains of arthritis and rheumatism. The seeds, when crushed and roasted, have been used to help heal infected sores.

The trees can be propagated very easily from seed, and seedlings may often be found sprouting underneath trees where fruits have fallen (and not swept away or burned).

The young leaves have a very distinct shape and color, which help in easy identification.

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