White Sapote–Mislabeled?

See UPDATES below.
Yes mislabeled fruit trees happen. My  “Ice Cream” banana (Blue Java) is tall and tasty but the wrong color. The “Viente Cohol” banana was really a “Thousand Fingers”. My “Thai Giant” jujube has small fruit.  A friend’s “Monroe” avocado is actually a Brogden (not a bad substitute IMHO)

white sapote 2011←Photo of a White Sapote in 2011. Planted 2009 from a 3g pot. It was labeled White Sapote–”Redland”. My guess is something happened to the graft and it is the rootstock. The fruit is too small, has 100% undeveloped seeds inside, took 5 years to flower and 1 more before it held a little fruit (2015). Lots of fruit in 2016, none ripened or got soft on the tree. All fell off while still rock hard; it took several days for them to get soft, and they were not worth eating 😦

white-sapote-tree.p30
The base of the trunk just below branching is just over 9″ diameter. Height is about 16′, and has been pruned down and grown back to that height twice.

white-sapote-ruler.p50
The fruit in the egg carton is the typical size 2.25 x 1.75 or less, probably 90%. A few are the size on right 3+ x 2+”, and the rest are the size on left 2.5″ x 2″.

white-sapote-fruit.p50
There are 5 seeds per fruit, and they are always flat (undeveloped) no matter the fruit size. The fruit is quite bitter near the peel and seeds, and since they are so small there is little in between. Just a small spoonful that is a little less bitter.

A small % of people always experience White Sapote as bitter. At our ’19 Taste of the Tropics one person, of well over a hundred, found them unacceptably bitter. Sort of like some people think Cilantro tastes like soap. Most thought they were very sweet with no bitterness at all and maybe their new favorite fruit. I am somewhere between–they generally taste good, but parts are slightly bitter.*

UPDATE Aug ’16: Tried to graft on named varieties (Suebelle, Super Sweet, Homestead, Bonita Springs, McDill) but that failed. Will try again later, and will remove the tree if that fails. (Bark graft onto 2″ branch stubs)

Update June ’17:  Turns out, one of the fall grafts took, McDill. I just didn’t notice before. Got more budwood at the Fruit & Spice Park when we collected fruit for our Taste of the Tropics event at PSL Botanical Garden.
Successfully grafted RedlandSuebelle, Smathers and Vernon. My favorite is Smathers at the F&S park. It had a wonderful flavor: about softball size, no bitterness, seeds relatively small (the whole seed mass was about the size of maybe 2 seeds in my fruit)
Suebelle grafted the best.
Most of the Redland grafts also took.
This time it was cleft on smaller branches that sprouted around the previous cuts.
So now I have a cocktail tree with 5 varieties.

Update ’18. This is the first year (9 years!) the tree made full-size fruit (tennis ball size). At least half the fruit is the small size as in previous years. The number of fruit in a cluster vs singles doesn’t seem to affect size. Fruit seldom ripens on the tree. Most drops off fairly hard, and ripens off the tree. If picked full size and rock hard, it ripens in about a week. The bigger they are the more developed seeds, up to five seeds per fruit and the seeds are huge (2″x1″x1 1/4″); so still not much edible fruit.

Update ’19. More fruit, more of it is big enough to get something to eat. The bitterness (to me*) is much less on the larger fruit. Still has huge seeds. Grafts: Redland did the best; about two dozen fruit, 8 Suebelle, 3 McDill, 6 Vernon; the Smathers died. V & SB were quite small, hardly worth eating. McD was the largest; didn’t like the taste. R was almost identical to the main tree fruit (seeds a little smaller), so the tree is probably a seedling of Redland. The grafts on an older tree do not seem like they will hold up over time: they are not filling out like a mango or avocado graft. Most branches that fruit heavily (grafts or not) seem to die back and get replaced with new growth.

More stories from my garden.

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