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Abstract

Three newly-introduced tropical fruit species have shown excellent potential in a minor fruit field evaluation project conducted on a calcareous soil (pH 8-9) at the University of the Virgin Islands Agricultural Experiment Station. Black Sapote (BS), Diospyros dignya, also called Black Persimmon and Chocolate Pudding Fruit is native to Mexico and represents the only member of the Persimmon family to grow in the tropics. Twenty-year old trees have been fruiting for the last 10 years without pest/disease or nutrient deficiency problems on a calcareous soil. Normally growing to over 30 m tall these trees have been naturally dwarfed by the marl subsoil and yet show no deficiency symptoms. Yields of 100 fruits /tree with an average of 685 g/fruit, 54 % pulp and Brix of 24% have been obtained with each fruit having 2 seeds. Demonstrations at local agricultural fairs and field days have generated great interest in the several ways in which the BS can be utilized. The Egg Fruit (EF), Pouteria campechiana, also from Mexico is known alternatively as Canistel, Yellow Sapote and Penny piece. In its native habitat, the EF can grow well over 15.2 m but on a calcareous soil rarely gets over 3-5 m with some trees bearing in 3 years at 1.5-2.0 m. Yields average 70 fruits/tree with a fruit wt of 630 g, width 10.3 cm, length 10.9 cm, 92 % pulp, and a Brix of 24.6 %. The vigorous, pest- and nutrient deficiencyfree growth of EF coupled with its multitude of food uses has made it quite popular in the VI. Finally, the Wax Jambu (WJ) or Wax Apple, Syzygium samarangense from Malaysia and East Indies has also adapted well with its short compact growth habit, pest- and nutrient deficiency-free nature and yields of 1000 fruits/tree. Fruits of the WJ average 62 g and are 55 cm wide and 52 cm long with almost 100% pulp and 11.9 % Brix. The WJ makes an ideal substitute for its close relative the Malay Apple, which does not tolerate high pH and dry local conditions.

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