Characteristics of Cainito Tree (Chrysophyllum cainito) in the Wild

Chrysophyllum cainito
Cainito or Caimito (Chrysophyllum cainito) is the name of a type of fruit from the Sapotaceae tribe. This tree bears fruit which is also known by the same name. Some of the common names used to refer to it include Tar apple, Star apple, Purple star apple, Golden leaf tree, Abiaba, Pomme de lait, Estrella, Milk fruit, and Aguay. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, the tree and its fruit are known as Sawo apel, Sawo duren, Kenitu, and Sawo manila.

Cainito is native to the lowlands of Central America and the West Indies. Because of its benefits, now the cainito tree has spread throughout the tropical world. In Southeast Asia, this tree is widely planted in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Cainito fruit can be consumed fresh, can also be used as a raw material for ice cream.

Cainito trees begin to produce fruit after 5-6 years of age, and usually, the fruiting season in Java occurs during the dry season, from May to August.

CAINITO TREE BENEFITS

Many parts of the cainito tree have medicinal properties, such as bark, sap, fruit, and seeds.

Decoction of the leaves is also used to treat diabetes and rheumatism. Processed bark can be made with stamina-enhancing drugs and cough medicine.

The wood is quite good and can be used for building materials.

The large and old branches are used to grow orchids.

In addition to its benefits, the cainito tree is often planted as an ornamental tree and shade in the garden in front of the house.

 

Characteristics of Cainito Leaf

Chrysophyllum cainito Leaf
Source: inaturalist.org/ziabc

Single leaf, golden-brown, downy hairs on the underside and the twigs, the upper surface of the leaves glabrous and bright green. The leaves sit alternately, oval to round inverted eggs, measuring 3-6 x 5-16 cm, petiole 0.6-1.7 cm long.

 

Characteristics of Cainito Flower

Chrysophyllum cainito Flower
Source: inaturalist.org/leaf0605

The inflorescences are located in the axils of the leaves, in the form of groups of 5-35 small long-stemmed flowers, yellowish to purple-white, sweet-smelling. Petals 5 strands, round to ovate, tubular crown with 5 lobes, ovate, and up to 4 mm long.

 

Characteristics of Cainito Fruit

Chrysophyllum cainito Fruit
Source: inaturalist.org/skpui

The fruit is round to breech ovoid, 5-8 cm in diameter, with glossy smooth skin, purplish-brown when ripe, and yellowish-green when young.

The skin of the fruit is rather thick, contains a lot of latex, and is not edible. The flesh is white or purplish, soft, and contains lots of juice, sweet, enveloping a white endocarp consisting of 4-11 spaces that look like stars when cut crosswise. Each fruit has 3-10 seeds, flat, slightly oval, light brown to purplish-black, hard, and shiny.

 

Characteristics of Cainito Tree

Chrysophyllum cainito Tree
Source: inaturalist.org/sogellizer

The cainito tree is evergreen and fast-growing, it can reach a height of up to 20 meters in optimal locations, with a woody stem, cylindrical, erect, rough-surfaced bark brown, dark gray to whitish.

 

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