Fruit Trees

The species covered emphasise less common species (eg litchis and pitayas) together with those that are more rare (eg lucuma and pitangatuba). Generally more information is given for them, with much less for common species like apples and pears as everyone knows what these look like, they’re cheap to buy, readily available throughout most of the year, and information on growing them is widely available elsewhere. Information on exotic species is not as easy to assemble as it’s spread through the published literature (such as it exists), sometimes in foreign languages. Nursery and web site material on these uncommon species is frequently heavily plagiarised from sources that are in themselves unreliable and quite often erroneous. Exotics are commonly native to the major regions of diversity in the world, viz Sth East Asia and the Amazon, hampering development and widespread commercial development in many cases. Usually they remain close to their wild form but show promise as commercial crops if geographic, economic and horticultural knowledge limitations of indigenous peoples could be overcome.

Species binomial names used throughout the site are those accepted by the International Plant Names Index, an organisation managed by professional taxonomists from Kew Gardens, Harvard and the Australian Herbarium. For those who may only know a fruit by its common name but wishing to find the entry, this can be done by using the Search facility. Binomial names are far more reliable and less confusing as they’re conferred according to international rules based on the latest morphological and molecular evidence. They highlight the relatedness of different species in the hierarchy of the plant kingdom. In contrast, common names are given for all sorts of non-botanical reasons eg perceived commercial marketing advantage, national pride with the name including their country when its native elsewhere, and not the least, society and language differences. Some may be given the name ‘apple’ when they’re not an apple at all, and lists of common names for a given species can run to 50 or more. Becoming familiar with binomials is not easy, but it’s essential to know what species you’re dealing with eg regarding flowering behaviour whether say hermaphrodite, monoecious or dioecious, and which plants you might be able to successfully graft. As a fruit club, we should aspire to go beyond the less interested public.

You’ll notice material in the Flowering and Pollination section of entries is often more extensive than in others.  Evolution has taken species down an almost infinitely variable pathway over eons, and this is strongly reflected in how their reproductive cycle unfolds. Growing trees simply to afford greenery on a property is far easier than having to produce fruit, and the more you can understand and address these features the better will be your return.

If legends for picture entries are provided, they can be viewed by hovering your cursor/mouse pointer over the image. These images can be enlarged by clicking on them, with their size determined by original resolution. Botanical terms that readers may not be familiar with are often defined with a popup facility (indicated by a dotted underline) which can be brought up by hovering over them with your cursor.

In addition to horticultural entries in this Section, sometimes extra information for species is appended as ‘More Information’. These appended articles, and others in the Horticultural and Nutrition Sections, can be more technical than their horticultural entries as often it is necessary to consider underlying biology of species and their fruit to understand properties and behaviour.