Notice

Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Achras sapota L.

Large, spreading tree with elliptic leaves clustered near the end of shoots, and inconspicuous flowers in clusters in the leaf axils, followed by brownish fruit, to 8cm across, sweet and perfumed when very ripe.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The timber yielded by this tree is considered of great service in the making of shingles to corn-houses.  The bark is astringent, and commonly known by the name of Cortex jamaicensis, according to Brown, being frequently administered to the Negroes in lieu of Jesuit’s bark, and found to answer all the purposes of that medicine.  The seeds are aperient and diuretic.  It is a native of the West Indies and abundantly cultivated throughout all the hot parts of South America for the sake of its fruit.  In our stoves it was cultivated so long ago as 1731, but it does not appear ever to have flowered with us.  The figure here given are taken from beautiful drawings made by Mr. Guilding in St. Vincent.’  [BM t.3111-3112/1831].

‘The Sapodilla Plum of West India and Central Continental America. A fine evergreen tree, producing delicious fruit. Achras Australis [Planchonella australis (R.Br. Pierre)], a tree yielding also tolerably good fruit, occurs in New South Wales. Other sapotaceous trees, producing table-fruit, such as the Lucuma mammosa (the Marmalade-Tree), Lucuma Bonplandi, Chrysophyllum Cainito (the Star Apple), all from West India, and Lucuma Cainito of Peru, might also be subjected to trial culture in our forest-valleys; so furthermore many of the trees of this order, from which gutta-percha is obtained (species of Dichopsis, Isonandra, Sideroxylon, Cacosmanthus, Bassia, Mimusops, Imbricaria and Payenia), would prove hardy in sheltered woodlands, as they seem to need rather an equable, humid, mild clime than the heat of the torrid zone.’ [Von Mueller - Select Extra-Tropical Plants suitable for Industrial Culture or Naturalisation, NSW Edition p.12/1881].

History at Camden Park

Achras sapota was included in a consignment of plants sent from Kew by John Bidwill in November 1843 [AJCP].  Although it is very likely that these plants were sent to Camden to the care of William Macarthur there is no other evidence of its being grown there.  The climate of Camden is unlikely to have been suitable for such a tropical tree.

Notes

Published Apr 01, 2010 - 01:28 PM | Last updated Apr 01, 2010 - 01:36 PM

Figured are round, brownish speckled fruit and detail of seeds.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.3112, 1831.

Achras sapota L. | BM t.3112/1831 | BHL

Family Sapotaceae
Category
Region of origin

Caribbean and Central America

Synonyms
  • Sapota achras Mill.
  • Sapota zapotilla Coville
Common Name

Common sapota, Bully tree, Marmalade plum, Sapadilla

Name in the Camden Park Record

Achras sapota

Confidence level

high