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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 8 | Sapotaceae

5. Chrysophyllum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 192. 1753; Gen. Pl. 5, 88. 1754.

Cainito [Greek chrysos, gold, and phyllon, leaf]

Richard P. Wunderlin, R. David Whetstone

Trees. Stems unarmed, densely hairy to glabrate. Leaves persistent, alternate; stipules absent; petiole present; blade: base cuneate to rounded, apex acute to acuminate [rounded or emarginate], surfaces densely hairy [glabrous] abaxially, usually glabrous adaxially. Inflorescences fascicles or solitary flowers. Flowers: sepals 4-5[-6] in 1 whorl, imbricate, abaxially densely hairy; petals (4-)5(-6)[-8], greenish white or greenish yellow, sericeous adaxially, lobes undivided, equaling or shorter than [exceeding] corolla tube; stamens 4-5[-8], distinct; staminodes absent [present]; pistil 3-5(-6)[-12]-carpellate; ovary 3-6[-12]-locular, densely hairy; placentation axile. Berries purple to black [yellow, orange, red, brown, green], ellipsoid to ovoid, glabrous [hairy]. Seeds 1[-5], brown, laterally compressed; hilum narrowly ovate to obovate; embryo vertical; endosperm present. x = [12, 13, 14,] 26.

Species ca. 70 (1 in the flora): Florida, Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, Asia, Africa, Indian Ocean Islands (Madagascar), Australia; nearly worldwide in tropics and subtropics.

Most species of Chrysophyllum are located in the Neotropics. Species with edible fruits are numerous; C. africanum A. de Candolle, the "odara pear" or "African star apple," is sold commercially. Chrysophyllumcainito Linnaeus, the star-apple, is cultivated for its foliage and fruit in south Florida. The star-apple is distinguished by having larger (3 cm in diameter), several-seeded fruits. Other species have valuable woods that are used in various ways.

Lower Taxa


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