Jocote, Yellow (Spondias Mombin)

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The fast-growing Yellow Hog Plum, also known as Jocote or Caja Fruit, is a tropical/subtropical deciduous fruit tree native to tropical America. A member of the Anacardiaceae family, it is related to Mangoes and Cashews. The humidity-loving fruit tree grows a spreading, dense canopy of compound leaves which drop all their folliage in winter before making small white flowers and eventual edible fruits.

Petite yellow fruits bear single-seeded interiors covered in a leathery skin and sweet, acidic pulp. When unripe, the green fruits can be pickled and eaten like olives. When mixed with sugar, the Jocote is often drunk in Guatemala as a sort of cider. In Amozonas, "Vinho de Taperiba" or wine of Jocote is produced. 

Jocote bears many uses aside from eating the fruit out of hand or using the pulp to flavor desserts. The wood is useful for carpentry and the young leaves can be added to salads or sautees. In folk medicine, Jocote has long been used as anything from a laxative and digestive helper to a sore throat remedy. The tree itself makes for a great living fence post, and its hardy, dense, yet lightweight  wood can be made into wood pulp for paper. Jocote has a long list of uses, and there’s no better way to find out than to plant one for yourself!

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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