Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the October 13, 2008 Newsletter written in Yokdzonot about half an hour by bus west of Pisté, Yucatán, México

I spent last Monday and Monday night in Mérida at a friend's house. Behind the house grew a handsome tree producing a very tasty fruit, which you can see below:

Canistel, genus Pouteria.

The fruit and tree are called Canistel, Pouteria campechiana. Canistel belongs to the Sapodilla Family, the Sapotaceae, famous for its delicious tropical fruits, foremost among them being Mamey, Sapodilla or Chicozapote, and Star-Apple or Caimito. Canistel is native to southern Mexico and Central America, but is planted in the tropics worldwide.

The same tree was producing fruit when I passed through there two months ago, and it's still loaded. The fruits, which contain two or three large, shining seeds, produce soft orange flesh with a texture and taste like that of well baked sweet potato.

As shown in the picture, leaves in this family tend to be fairly large, without lobes or teeth, leathery, evergreen, and somewhat clustered at the tips of branches.