Jocote, Red (Spondias purpurea)

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Jocote fruit (pronounced ho-CO-tay) grow on deciduous trees in warm tropical climates. They begin to develop following tiny red flowers, before any leaves appear on the tree. Jocote fruit grows along thick, knobby branches in clusters or alone.

Young Jocote fruit are green or yellowish-green and ripen to a purple or red color; some variants of the species will ripen to a yellow color. The thin skin has a waxy appearance and is edible. The pulp is yellow when ripe and sweet. In the center of the fruit is a large pit, or stone, which is inedible. The flavor of a Jocote fruit is said to be similar to a plum, sweet with a bit of an acidic aftertaste.

Jocote fruit is also known as Purple Mombin, Jamaica Plum, Ciruela (Spanish for “plum”), Siniguelas, or Hog Plum. They're related to mangoes and to cashew apples, from which we get cashew nuts.

Jocote fruit are rich in vitamin C and carbohydrates. They are a source of calcium, phosphorus, iron and a small amount of fiber. They contain carotene, B-complex vitamins, and several important amino acids. Jocotes are high in antioxidants, which help rid the body of free radicals.

Jocote trees are native to the area that stretches from southern Mexico to northern Peru and parts of north-coastal Brazil. They are most commonly in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Panama. Though, they can be found growing throughout the West Indies and in the Bahamas as well. Spanish explorers brought Jocote fruit to the Philippines, where it is popular. 

Plant Type: 
Tropical Subtropical Deciduous Fruit Tree 

At the beginning of the dry, cool season, the leaves turn bright-yellow and fall, but the tree with its nearly smooth, light gray-brown bark and graceful, rounded branches is highly attractive during the 2-3 months that it remains bare. 

Harvest Season: 
Spring, Summer, Fall

In Hawaii, the fruit ripens from November to April; in Tahiti, from May to July. In Florida, a single tree provides a steady supply for a family from fall to midwinter, at a time when Mangoes and many other popular fruits are out of season.

Mature Size: 
Up to 30-40 ft outdoors in the home landscape.  Up to 10 ft in containers.  makes a beautiful potted fruit tree and is easy to overwinter indoors. 

Soil & Moisture: 
Grows in all types of soil as long as it is well-draining. The tree flourishes in humid tropical and subtropical areas, being only a trifle tenderer than its relative, the mango.  

Light Requirements:
Full Sun, Part Shade

Young trees will benefit from light shade. Plant in an area where even mature trees will have some protection from harsh winds.


Growth Rate:

Zone Hardiness:
Outdoors 9-11 with frost protection; Patio/Greenhouse 4+

Medium Pot Size: Grown from seed and capable to produce within 2 years.
X-Large Pot Size: Grown from seed and capable to produce now.
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