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An attractive tree from South America, slow growing and reaching 6 metres over a number of years. A member of the Sapotaceae family, it is grown for its unusual but delicious fruit, which are highly nutritious and contain good amounts of beta-carotene, niacin, iron and B vitamins.
The fruit are normally about the size of a golf ball, but can grow as large as an orange. The skin is green and the flesh inside is a rich, golden yellow, with a rather dry, crumbly texture. The flavour is like butterscotch-caramel or maple syrup, and is very tasty and sweet. It is used as a flavouring for ice cream and other desserts, and can be dried to make a nutritious flour for baking. We normally eat them fresh, in breakfast cereal or added to smoothies.
It is a productive tree which enjoys the cool, subtropical temperatures of Northland and fruits well here, and is said to do well anywhere in the country where avocadoes can be grown. It produces over Winter so is a great treat when not much else is fruiting in the garden. It can handle light frosts once established but needs protection when small. It wants full sun once fruiting begins. Lucuma can handle low soil fertility but needs good drainage. Will fruit best with two or more trees for pollination.
A great tree which deserves to be grown far more widely in Aotearoa.