Monkey Apple, Ausubo (Mimusops balata)
(Mimusops balata, syn. Manilkara bidentata)
Ausubo, also known as Balata or Massaranduba, is a long-living evergreen fruit tree native to the Tropical Americas. A slow-growing member of the Sapotaceae family, the Ausubo is related to Miracle Fruit and Mamey, said to taste similar to the Canistel.
Ausubo’s smooth shelled, edible yellow fruit is often eaten out of hand for its sweet, pulpy flesh surrounded by its seedy center. The fruit has been used as an antiulcer in Indian tradition medicine. Highly ornamental, the Ausubo is commonly exploited for its close-grained, durable wood, making Ausubo the preferred timber of choice for construction where it grows. In Puerto Rico, it is one of the most popular commercial woods- widely used for boat frames, violin bows, and billiard cues. Its leaves can be made into an astringent decoction for alleviating hemorrhaging. Its milky latex can be tapped for balata gum which can be molded like gutta-percha when heated. The tree can withstand brief frosts and has been known to live as long as 400 years!