Pouteria campechiana (Kunth) Baehni, Candollea 9: 398 (1942)

Species name meaning 'from Campeche', a place along the Gulf of Mexico.

Lucuma campechiana Kunth
Lucuma elongata (C.F.Gaertn.) Steud.
Lucuma glabrifolia Pittier
Lucuma heyderi Standl.
Lucuma inseparabilis Dubard
Lucuma laeteviridis Pittier
Lucuma nervosa A.DC.
Lucuma palmeri Fernald
Lucuma rivicoa var. angustifolia Miq.
Lucuma salicifolia Kunth
Lucuma salicifolia (Spreng.) Mart.
Lucuma sphaerocarpa A.DC.
Pouteria campechiana var. nervosa (A.DC.) Baehni
Pouteria campechiana var. palmeri (Fernald) Baehni
Pouteria campechiana var. salicifolia (Kunth) Baehni
Pouteria elongata (C.F.Gaertn.) Baehni
Pouteria glabrifolia (Pittier) Cronquist
Pouteria laeteviridis (Pittier) Lundell
Pouteria mante Lundell
Radlkoferella glabrifolia (Pittier) Aubr¨¦v.
Radlkoferella inseparabilis Pierre [Invalid]
Radlkoferella sphaerocarpa (A.DC.) Pierre
Richardella campechiana (Kunth) Pierre
Richardella nervosa (A.DC.) Pierre
Richardella salicifolia (Kunth) Pierre
Sapota elongata C.F.Gaertn.
Sideroxylon campestre Brandegee
Vitellaria campechiana (Kunth) Engl.
Vitellaria nervosa (A.DC.) Radlk.
Vitellaria salicifolia (Kunth) Engl.
Vitellaria sphaerocarpa (A.DC.) Radlk.
Vitellaria tenuifolia Engl.
Xantolis palmeri (Fernald) Baehni

Erect tree of generally not more than 8 m tall, but it may, in favourable situations, reach heights of 27-30 m and the trunk may attain a diameter of 1 m. Slender in habit or with a spreading crown, it has brown, furrowed bark and abundant white, gummy latex. Young branches are velvety brown. The evergreen leaves, alternate but mostly grouped at the branch tips, are relatively thin, glossy, short to long-stemmed, oblanceolate, lanceolate-oblong, or obovate, bluntly pointed at the apex, more sharply tapered at the base; 11.3-28 cm long, 4-7.5 cm wide. Fragrant, bisexual flowers, solitary or in small clusters, are borne in the leaf axils or at leafless nodes on slender pedicels. They are 5- or 6-lobed, cream-colored, silky-hairy, about 8-11 mm long. The fruit, extremely variable in form and size, may be nearly round, with or without a pointed apex or curved beak, or may be somewhat oval, ovoid, or spindle-shaped. It is often bulged on one side and there is a 5-pointed calyx at the base, which may be rounded, or with a distinct depression. Length varies from 7.5-12.5 cm and width from 5-7.5 cm, except in the shrubby form, which has nearly round fruits only 2.5 cm long. When unripe the fruit is green-skinned, hard and gummy internally. On ripening, the skin turns lemon yellow, golden-yellow or pale orange-yellow, is very smooth and glossy except where occasionally coated with light-brown or reddish-brown russetting. There may be 1 to 4 hard, freestone seeds, 2-5.3 cm long and 1.3-3.2 cm wide, near-oval or oblong-oval, glossy and chestnut-brown except for the straight or curved ventral side which is dull light-brown, tan or greyish-white. Both ends are sharp-tipped. [from www.worldagroforestry.org]

The canistel needs a tropical or subtropical climate. In Guatemala, it is found at or below 1400 m elevation. In Florida, it survives winter cold as far north as Palm Beach and Punta Gorda and in protected areas of St. Petersburg. It has never reached fruiting age in California. It requires no more than moderate precipitation; does well in regions with a long dry season. The canister is tolerant of a diversity of soils¨Ccalcareous, lateritic, acid-sandy and heavy clays. It makes best vegetative growth in deep, fertile, well-drained soils but is said to be more fruitful on shallow soils. It can be cultivated on soil considered too thin and poor for most other fruit trees.

Originally from Central America, but currently cultivated across the (sub-)tropics.

The fruit is edible, but not highly regarded; as it is not crispy and juicy like so many other fruits. Eaten with salt, pepper and lime or lemon juice or mayonnaise, either fresh or after light baking. It has been often likened in texture to the yolk of a hard-boiled egg. The pureed flesh may be used in custards or added to ice cream mix just before freezing. A rich milkshake, or "eggfruit nog", is made by combining ripe canistel pulp, milk, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg or other seasoning in an electric blender. Others prepare canistel pancakes, cupcakes, jam, and marmalade, pie "butter" by beating the ripe pulp in an electric blender, adding sugar, and cooking to a paste, with or without lemon juice. The fruit could also be dehydrated and reduced to a nutritious powder and this might well have commercial use in pudding mixes. Canistels are rich in niacin and carotene (provitamin A) and have a fair level of ascorbic acid. Chemical analyses show that the canistel excels the glamorized carambola (Averrhoa carambola L.) in every respect except in moisture and fiber content, and riboflavin. The fine-grained, compact, strong, moderate to very heavy and hard timber is valued especially for planks and rafters in construction. The heartwood is greyish-brown to reddish-brown and blends into the sapwood, which is somewhat lighter in color. The darker the color, the more resistant to decay. Latex or rubber: Extracted from the tree in Central America has been used to adulterate chicle. A decoction of the astringent bark is taken as a febrifuge in Mexico and applied on skin eruptions in Cuba. A preparation of the seeds has been employed as a remedy for ulcers. Also used as shelter tree, provides considerable shade when mature.

Local names
English: yellow sapote, egg-fruit, canistel.
Philippines: toesa, boracho.
Spanish: zapote mante, zapote amarillo, mammee sapota, mamey de campechi, fruta de huevo, custiczapotl, cucuma.
Thailand: to maa,lamut khamen, khe maa.