Apocynaceae (Dogbane family)
The orange, juicy pulp of ripe fruits has a very sweet taste.
Description. Small evergreen shrub or tree, 5-8 m (16-26 ft) tall. All plant parts contain a white, sweet-tasting latex. Opposite, entire, elliptic to lanceolate leaves with wavy margins 8-14 cm (3-5.5 in) long by 2-3 cm (0.8-1.2 in) wide. White, tubular flowers with
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5-pointed corolla. Spherical yellow fruits with a pointed tip measure 2-4 cm (0.8-1.6 in) in diameter. The orange, juicy pulp of ripe fruits has a very sweet taste.
Origin and Distribution. Native to tropical America, where the plant grows in tropical lowland rainforests. The tree is occasionally cultivated for its fruit or as an ornamental. extensively used as food by indigenous people of Colombia and Venezuela.
Comments. The name of the genus, Lacmellea, from the Latin lac for milk and mel for honey, refers to the sweet latex of the plant. Many other species in the Apocynaceae family contain inedible or even toxic latex.
Food uses. The sweet fruits are eaten out of hand, often collected from wild trees. The milky sap of the plant, which tastes sweet, is also eaten and was
Description. Evergreen, single-stemmed, mediumsized tree, growing 15-25 m (50-80 ft), with brown, furrowed bark. Compound leaves pinnate, 20-50 cm (8-20 in) long with 5-7 alternate leaflets, 10-20 cm (4-8 in) long, elliptic to obovate with pointed apices and prominent midribs. Pale yellow hermaphrodite flowers are borne in simple or branched racemes with up to 30 blossoms, on the trunk and on thicker branches. Ovoid fruits in clusters of 2-30 fruits with pale brown to pale yellow, thick, leathery skin with milky latex. Pulp divided into 5 or 6 segments, translucent, juicy, subacid to sweet in taste, reminiscent of grapes and grapefruits. Fruits contain several green seeds that have a very bitter taste.
Origin and Distribution. The langsat is native to Malaysia, where it often grows wild along riverbanks. The tree, which is popular throughout Southeast Asia, is commonly cultivated in gardens and plantations. Langsat trees require a humid tropical climate and grow from sea level to 800 m (2,600 ft).
Food uses. Varieties with a high latex content must be dipped in boiling water to remove the latex. Peeled and seeded fruits are served as dessert or cooked in various dishes. Langsat fruits are canned in syrup.
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