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Small Fruit Trees

Abiu (Pouteria caimito)
The abiu is a small evergreen fruit tree native to South America. The round bright yellow skinned fruits, which are borne directly on the tree branches several times a year, are considered one of the best fruits of the Amazon Basin. The white, translucent flesh is sweet with a flavor of caramel and the texture of a well ripened persimmon. The Gray and Z-2 abius are selections from Australia with good quality fruits that weigh about a pound.

Abiu tree with mature
and immature fruits.

Z-2 fruit

Sliced abiu can be eaten
fresh as is

The gelatinous interior normally
contains one or two
medium-sized seeds

Atemoya (Annona cherimola x Annona squamosa)
The atemoya is a hybrid between the cherimoya and sugar apple. The hybridizing was done to develop a fruit, much like the deliciously acclaimed cherimoya, that could be grown at low elevations where the cherimoya does not succeed. The Pinks Mammoth is an Australian variety with large fruits and remarkably few seeds. The Gefner is a commercial variety grown locally on Kauai and in Florida with a good flavor and firm texture.

Canistel (Pouteria campechiana)
The canistel is a very prolific bearing fruit tree from Central America. The orange yellow fruit has a rich, mealy, sweet flavored pulp tasting somewhat like a chestnut or candied yam. The highly nutritious fruits are eaten fresh or used in ice creams and breads. Saludo is a variety that has large round fruits with moist flesh. The trees seem to have good wind tolerance.

Carambola (Averrhoa carambola)
The carambola is a productive bearing fruit tree from Malaysia, where the fruits are eaten fresh or processed into juice. Grafted trees of good varieties usually start bearing in two years. The ornamental trees bear clusters of small lilac colored flowers which are followed by exotic, waxy looking, star shaped fruits. Superior quality clones have been developed and are available to home growers. Kary is a carambola developed at the U.H. Poamoho Experiment Station as a selected seedling of the Kembangan carambola. Fruits are orange yellow when ripe, sweet, and pleasantly flavored with a crisp texture. Fwang Tung is a variety that originated as a seedling from a Thai variety in Florida. The greenish yellow fruits are large and sweet with a crisp and refreshing taste. The Leng Bak is also a sweet, crisp fruit that is also great for making juice. The Honey, B-17, is a new, superior variety from Malaysia, but needs cross pollination.

Wampi (Clausena lansium)
Relative of the citrus family,highly aromatic and can be sweet and tangy to almost sour depending on the variety and ripeness. Form in clusters from a few up to eighty in one bunch. The fruits turn yellow when ripe and have a thin, sometimes brittle skin, somewhat like paper. They generally have only 1-2 seeds in each fruit and are best left to ripen on the tree for as long as possible. They are a very attractive looking tree that can grow up to 8 metres with, beautiful dark green ruffled compound leaves. They have a dense growth habit making them an ideal shade tree. Wampi should be treated like any other citrus tree in regard to cultivation. A sunny, well drained site with plenty of water and organic matter should see these trees thrive. The crop is borne solely on the tips of branches, so the less pruning the better. Mature trees can produce up to 50kg of fruit each year.

Citrus trees have been proven to be very popular with home gardeners. Under Hawaii's tropical climate, they have shown their ability to produce two or more crops per year. Home growers should select a plant grafted onto a rootstock suitable to their soil type and resistant to diseases in their locality. The choice of rootstocks also plays a role in deter- mining fruit quality and size, drought tolerance, and tree size. The following are descriptions of new citrus varieties available to home gardeners:
  • Cara Cara Orange is a red fleshed navel orange which originated as a sport mutation in Venezuela. Fruits borne on trees topworked with this variety here in Waimanalo have shown a dark red pulp color. Fruits are similar in quality to the Washington Navel orange.
  • Rico #2 Orange is a nucellar seedling of the Washington Navel orange. Originating in Puerto Rico, this budline appears to do very well in tropical areas and is recommended by the University of Hawaii. The trees are heavy producers with fruits similar to the Washington Navel. Under Hawaii's tropical climate, the fruits develop a good flavor with a high sugar content.
  • Halawa Pummelo is a giant size (up to 16 pounds) red fleshed pummelo. It is very juicy, sweet, and pleasantly flavored with no bitter after taste.
  • Kishu is a low-acid tangerine variety from Japan. It is sweet tasting, with an easy to peel skin.

    Guava (Psidium Guava)
    The guava is a tropical American tree that is grown locally for its acidic pulp, which is processed into fruit juices, purees, jellies, jams, and syrups. Acid varieties with an abundance of pink pulp, such as Waikea, are valued for processing. Holmberg, Hong Kong Pink, Indonesian Seedless, and Crystal Seedless are sweet dessert types with low acid content that are valued for eating as a fresh fruit. Guavas are very hardy plants that are adaptable to various soils and climates in Hawaii. Plants seem to fruit well even with much neglect.

    Crystal Seedless
    Hong Kong Pink
    Indonesian Seedless
    Waiakea Sour
    Thai Pearl

    Mountain or Malay Apple (Syzygium malaccense)
    The mountain apple is a very refreshing fruit with an aromatic, pleasant taste. Known as Ohia apples by the Hawaiians, the handsome trees originally came from Malaysia and traveled throughout the Pacific in early polynesian times. Cultivars propagated vegetatively include Kingston, a very large, dark red, juicy fruit weighing up to one pound and Rookman, a long medium sized fruit with a sweetish flavor.

    Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa)
    The sugar apple is a small semi-deciduous tree from tropical America. The fruits, which are green, purple, or yellow skinned, look somewhat like a globe artichoke with many carpels which may separate when ripe. The white, soft flesh surrounding many seeds within the fruit has a sweet pleasant flavor and is aromatic. A seedless, green skinned variety from the Philippines is being propagated by grafting.

    Soursop (Annona muricata)
    The soursop is a fruit tree from the American tropics that is popularly grown for its juicy, aromatic fruits. The large 3 to 5 pound fruits are grown for its acid-sweet juice, which are processed into drinks and sherbets. Varieties include Whitman Fiberless, a more productive cultivar with delicious melting pulp, Dulce, a sweet variety with low acid content, and Miles 28, a Costa Rican variety with fruits as large as watermelons.

    Wampi (Clausena lansium)
    The wampi is a very ornamental fruit tree with shiny compound leaves. It is a citrus relative from southern China. Small white flowers are borne in clusters at the branch tips prior to fruiting. The sweet, tart berries, which hang down in clusters, are highly esteemed in China. The fruit taste somewhat like kumquats and grapes.

    Small fruit trees for hedgerows or container plants

    Acerola (Malpighia punicifolia)
    This small, bushy tree from the West Indies is well known for its high vitamin C yielding fruits. The round, red fruits were once grown commercially on the Big Island and shipped to the mainland before the manufacture of cheaper synthetic ascorbic acid. The sweet varieties, such as Manoa Sweet, are preferred for eating fresh.

    Ara-Boi (Eugenia stipitata)
    A highly flavored acidic and aromatic fruit that makes a most delicious drink. Eaten out of hand, the fresh fruit itself is extremely sour; just the pulp from a single fruit about the size of a guava is needed to make a whole pitcher of juice by blending it together with water, sugar, and ice. This western Amazonia fruit grows from a 6 to 7 feet high bush.

    The ara tree bark is smooth with some scales; leaves are reddish when young, and the flowers are white with a greenish tint. The pulp is yellowish-white, moist, soft and sticky, aromatic, containing many seeds.

    Also called the Brazilian guava; although sharing the same family of Myrtaceae, ara-boi is of a different species and therefore not classified as a guava.

    Cabeluda (Myrciaria glomerata)
    This small.Brazilian shrub is a jaboticaba relative with pleasant tasting sweet yellow fruits. It usually starts bearing at about 3' in height.

    Jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora)
    This small Brazilian tree produce round purplish-black fruit directly from its trunk and main branches. The fruits taste very much like rich grapes with thicker skins, and are used in every way in place of grapes in Brazil. The slow growing plants can be used as hedges or sculptured trees. This ornamental tree produces many crops throughout the year.

    Kaffir Lime (Citrus hystrix)
    The Kaffir lime is a small citrus tree popularly grown in Southeast Asia for its pleasantly fragrant leaves, used as a food flavoring. The aromatic, bumpy skinned fruits are mainly used for washing hair and is said to kill hair lice. The small trees are well adapted to growing in containers and is useful to people who cook Thai foods. Other citrus varieties such as lemons, limes, and calamondin make good container plants. Varieties of tangerines and oranges grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock and potted into 15 to 25 gallon containers fruit satisfactorily.

    Kumquat (Fortunella species)
    The kumquat is an ornamental shrub or small tree related to citrus from China. The trees, bushy and symmetrical with orange yellow fruits, are highly prized as ornamental tubbed plants for open lanais or pool decks. Two major varieties are grown in Hawaii. The Nagami kumquat. is known for its oval, brightly colored orange fruits. The pulp is tart, but the rind is sweet flavored and spicey. The Nagami fruits are valued for marmalades, preserves, dried fruits, and for decorative purposes. The Meiwa kumquat is known for its large round fruits. Its thick, sweet rind and comparatively sweet flesh make this variety the best kumquat for eating fresh.

    Limau Limo (Citrus limo)
    This lime like fruit from Indonesia has an excellent acid flavor and high aroma. Popularly used for flavoring satay (skewered barbecued meat) in Indonesia.

    Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum)
    The miracle fruit is a small compact bush in the Sapotaceae family from the tropical jungles of west Africa. The small, bright red fruit act on the sour taste receptors of the taste buds by turning all sour foods sweet for about a two hour period. Sour, acidic fruits, such as lemons, tamarinds, and pineapples, will be transformed into sweet treats after eating just one miracle fruit. The slow growing plants make excellent container plants. They prefer partial shade and fruit intermittently throughout the year.

    Pak Wan (Sauropus androgynous)
    The edible young leaves and shoots from this tropical shrub is one of the most nutritious and tastiest of all green leaf vegetables. Eaten either cooked or raw, the delicious pea like flavored leaves are said to have the highest protein and mineral content of any green vegetable. The disease and pest resistant shrubs are easy to grow and can be used for hedges. Very popular in Malaysia and Thailand where the succulent young tips are eaten like tropical asparagus.

    Peanut Butter Fruit (Bunchosia argentia)
    A fast growing small tree or shrub. Attractive clusters of yellow flowers are borne on the tree followed by an abundance of one inch fruits which turn red upon maturity from summer to winter. The rich, sweet flesh has a texture somewhat like peanut butter which can be eaten fresh or made into milk shakes.

    Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
    The fruiting pomegranate is an attractive spiny shrub grown for its refreshing, pleasant tasting fruits. The drought tolerant nature of this shrub and the ornamental effect of the decorative flowers and fruits make this plant an ideal fruit candidate for arid, coral soil areas. Plants are very attractive when growing as a hedgerow cascading over a retaining wall.

    Rheedia edulis
    Small, self fertile tree that bears clusters of 3/4 to 1 inch diameter yellow fruits with a pleasant subacid, sweet flavor. Trees are adaptable in dry or wet climates and will bear fruits in large containers.

    Suriname Cherry (Eugenia uniflora)
    The Suriname cherry is an attractive shrub or small tree suitable for growing as a hedge or as a potted plant for open lanais. The plant is very ornamental, producing small white flowers and round, ribbed fruits which turn scarlet or purplish-black when ripe. Fruits can be eaten fresh or used in making jelly. A few selected varieties have been introduced to Hawaii and are being propagated by grafting. Among these varieties are Lolita, with very sweet, rich flavored black fruits, and Vermillion, a Florida variety with large, red, sweet fruits.

    Blue Grape(Myrciaria vexator)
    Native to South America, this jaboticaba relative has round dark purple fruits that taste somewhat like sweet grapes. Most commonly eaten fresh out of hand or to make juices. It is a slow growing small tree or bush. Propogated by seed.

    Yuzu (Citrus ichangensis x C. reticulata)
    A citrus from Japan valued for its fragrant, aromatic fruit. Thin slices of the fruits are used to enhance certain foods, such as pickles and soups.

    Large Fruit Trees
    Medium Fruit Trees
    Flowering Ornamentals
    Other Plants