Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Guava, Psidium guajava

The Guava, Psidium guajava is best recognized by the combination of stiff opposite leaves with very prominant venation, scaly bark and distinctive fruit.  It is an evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches heights of only 15 feet.   It grows in an upright fashion with a spreading crown.  The bark is smooth and red-green in color with bark that shreds in thin plates.
Cesar Calderon, USDA APHIS PPQ,

The leaves are opposite and simple in shape, thick, leathery, wedged at the base and with an abruptly shaped point on the tip.  The flowers have 5 petals and are white in color.  The fruit is green, yellow or pink in the form of a berry that is rounded or pear shaped.   

The fruit of a Guava is different by species and can range from roughly skinned with a bitter flavor or soft skinned and sweet.  In Mexico the guava is made into beverages, sauces, candies, fruit bars, desserts and dried snacks.  In many countries the fruit is eaten raw like an Apple of quartered and eaten with salt and pepper or served in salads.  In Pakistan the Guava is the national winter fruit.  In the Phillipines Guava is used in cooking sinigang.  In Asia & Taiwan it is eaten with sweet and sour plum powder mixtures.  

Cesar Calderon, USDA APHIS PPQ,

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Meet A Tree: Meet the Mango - Mangifera indica

Meet A Tree: Meet the Mango - Mangifera indica: The Mango - Mangifera indica is a medium sized evergreen fruit bearing tree. The Mango grows in an erect form, mainly upright with and very ...

Meet the Tangerine - Citrus reticulata

The Tangerine - Citrus reticulata is also referred to as the Satsuma or Mandarin Orange.  It is a small evergreen tree that grows in a single erect form with single short trunks or low branched multi-trunks.  It has a dense crown and for the most part the branches remain spineless, though on some varieties they do bare large thorns.  They are classified in to Citrus genus,  and the Rutaceae family.

Image Citation: Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental,

The leaves occur in an alternate unifoliate, lanceolate or elliptic fashion.  The margins are blunt with rounded teeth and a lustrous dark green upper surface.   The flowers are white, developing in the Spring with 5 petals that are produced in terminal clusters.  The Tangerines is native to China and has been highly cultivated in Florida but has not yet naturalized.  Many varieties and hybrid are currently cultivated and marketed in the United States.  Most of the tangerines sold in your local grocery store or farmers market are hybrid varieties and have been better developed over time for greater performance and crop production.

The citrus fruit is a vertically compressed hesperidium that is 5 - 10 cm in diameter, orange in color and a very close relative or member of the Mandarin family. They are much smaller in size then the common Orange and have a sweeter flavor.  The rind is generally thin and loose, removing easily to reveal 8-15 easily separated sections.  The fruit matures in late Fall to early Winter.  The fruit is most commonly peeled and eaten right from your hand.  It is also used as a garnish in salads, main courses, and desserts.  The juice of the Tangerines is sold in both the raw form and concentrated in the United States.  The rind can be used as a zest, flavoring or garnish either fresh or dried.  Tangerines are a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene and folate. They also contain small amounts of magnesium, Vitamin B (B1, B2 & B3), Lutein, Potassium and Zeaxanthin.  

Image Citation: Chazz Hesselein, Alabama Cooperative Extension System,

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Sugar Apple - Annona squamosa

The Sugar Apple - Annona squamosa, is a evergreen or semi-deciduous shrub or small tree with contorted branches an irregularly shaped crown, and limbs that often droop near the tips.  The fruits pulp is sometimes eaten raw or used in the production of beverages or sherberts.  It was introduced from the American tropics and is now found in the southern half of Florida and is completely naturalized in the Florida Keys.  

Image Citation: Cesar Calderon, USDA APHIS PPQ,

The leaves are 10-16 cm long and about 6 cm wide.  The leaves are more narrow then the that of the Pond Apple.  The fruit is an aggregate of fused berries that are generally round in shape.  The fruits surface is knobby and easy to distunguish from the Pond Apple a close relative.  

Image Citation: William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International,

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Meet A Tree: Meet the Mango - Mangifera indica

Meet A Tree: Meet the Mango - Mangifera indica: The Mango - Mangifera indica is a medium sized evergreen fruit bearing tree. The Mango grows in an erect form, mainly upright with and very ...

Meet A Tree: Meet the Sugarberry - Celtis laevigata (Southern S...

Meet A Tree: Meet the Sugarberry - Celtis laevigata (Southern S...: The Sugarberry - Celtis laevigata is a small deciduous tree that grows upwards of 95 feet, they often flower and fruit when young. The Sug...

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Mango - Mangifera indica

The Mango - Mangifera indica is a medium sized evergreen fruit bearing tree. The Mango grows in an erect form, mainly upright with and very dense spreading crown. At full maturity the tree can reach upwards of 50 feet tall. The Mango is native to South Asia and cultivated for it's edible fruit.By the 10th century AD cultivation had spread into portions of East Africa. Now it is also cultivated in Brazil, Bermuda, Mexico, and the West Indies, where the climate is ideal and very similar to it's native range. Mango are the national fruit of Indian, Pakistan and the Philippines.

The leaves of the Mango are alternate, unifoliate, lanceolate to narrowly long and elliptic. The upper surface is lustrous, dark green, hairless with conspicuous veins that are straight and parallel. The flowers are bisexual or unisexual, green-white in color with 5 petals and 5 sepals. Flowers appear in late winter and spring. The fruit is large, fleshy, ovoid, pear-shaped, and irregularly shaped drupe, generally red to pink in color with a large flattened seed. The seed contains fruit embryos which can not survive freezing.

Image Citation: Whitney Cranshaw,

The fruit does not grow in a uniform shape or size and fruit from the same plant can vary in size. When Mangoes were first imported they had to be pickled because of lack of refrigeration. Generally the Mango is sweet in flavor but the flavor and texture can vary greatly between different cultivars. Mangoes are widely used in cuisine, even in unripe condition when they are used for jams, chutney, fish sauces or pickling. Fruit drinks containing Mango are very poplar in India, though they contain high amounts of sugar or other flavoring so they are not marketed as fruit juice.

Image Citation:  Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University,

Recommended for only zones 10b to 11, Mangoes can not be grown in most of the United States. They are a tropical fruit and require tropical conditions to grow and survive, one single mild frost can kill a tree. Young trees are even more susceptible to frost damage then more mature, though once mature they are a bit more tolerant.

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