Fruit trees

What are tropical fruits?

Who has not dreamed of being in a jungle tasting the best tropical fruits that nature gives them? Although it is true that it is becoming easier to find them in supermarkets around the world, it is no less true that it is interesting to know what plants produce them and what their real rusticity is, so you know, grow them in the garden .

That will be precisely what I am going to tell you in this article; not in vain, it is a gardening blog and, as such, we want you to be well informed about everything related to plants.

What is called a tropical fruit?

Tropical fruits, called exotic fruits in the countries where they are imported, are those that come from plants originating in areas with a tropical or subtropical climate. All of them have in common the null resistance to cold, so that they are easily damaged when the temperature falls below 4ºC.

The exporting countries are those that make up the Far East (East Asia), Latin America, the Caribbean, and to a lesser extent Africa and the subtropical coast of Granada (in Spain).

Types of tropical fruits

Avocado

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Persea americana (avocado tree)

The avocado, known as avocado or avocado, is the fruit of the evergreen Persea americana tree, native to Latin America, especially Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Uruguay. It is a berry 7 to 33cm long and up to 15cm wide, with greenish to dark purple skin and edible pulp. More than as fruit (for dessert) it is used in salads or rice.

The tree reaches a height of up to 20 meters, the most common being 8-12m, with a wide crown up to 6-7m in diameter. Due to its origin, anyone might think that it does not like the cold at all, but the truth is that it is one of the few tropical plants that can be grown in areas such as the warm Mediterranean climate, with mild and occasional frosts of up to -2ºC.

Coconut

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Cocos nucifera (coconut palm)

The coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm tree ( Cocos nucifera ), which is not well known where it originates from, but it is agreed that it could be from both the tropical beaches of Asia (India above all), and the Caribbean. It measures from 20 to 30cm and weighs 2.6kg, depending on the variety. It is harvested from February to July, and once at home it can be consumed fresh or made milk.

The plant that produces it reaches a height of more than 10 meters, with pinnate leaves with a length of 4-5 meters. It does not resist frost; in fact, the minimum temperature that it supports is 10ºC (and even so it should not drop below 18ºC), so that its cultivation is only allowed in warm areas; and indoors it is very difficult to keep it alive when autumn arrives.

Durian

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Durio zibethinus (durian tree)

The durian, or durian, is one of the most unusual tropical fruits. They are produced by the Durio zibethinus tree, which is native to Southeast Asia. It can be round or square in shape, up to 40cm in diameter and weigh 2-3kg. The shell is armed with green or brown spines, and a pulp with a creamy texture and a very strong smell that not everyone likes.

The tree can reach a height of up to 50 meters, the usual being 25m. The leaves are evergreen, opposite, and 10-18cm long. Like the coconut tree, it is very, very sensitive to cold and only resists up to 16ºC.

Mango

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Mangifera indica (mango or peach from the tropics)

The handle is one of the most tropical fruits imported into countries where their cultivation is difficult or impossible. It is produced by the Mangifera indica tree, which is native to India and Indochina. It is a drupe that may or may not be fibrous, orange, yellow or red-garnet in color when mature. 

The tree is evergreen, being able to reach up to 45 meters in height and a crown diameter of up to 10 meters. It does not resist frosts, but there is some variety, such as ‘Keitt’, which could be had in areas with very weak and occasional frosts of up to -1ºC; yes, it would behave as expired.

Papaya

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Carica papaya (papaya tree)

The papaya is the fruit of Carica papaya, a shrub native to Mesoamerica. It is also known as papayón, papayo, lechoza, papaya melon, tree melon, or bomb fruit. It is an ovoid-oblong berry, with orange pulp and a weight of up to 9kg, although it does not usually exceed 600 grams. Inside are black and rounded seeds.

The shrub that produces it reaches a maximum height of 2.5 meters, with a thin trunk about 35cm thick. In cultivation it is not demanding, as long as the temperature does not drop below 0ºC and there is always water within reach.

Pineapple

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Ananas comosus (pineapple plant)

The pineapple is produced by a bromeliad whose scientific name is Ananas comosus, which is native to South America (it is not known exactly where). It is known as pineapple, pineapple or matzatli, apart from as clear pineapple , and it is a berry with yellow pulp that reaches about 30cm high (including the bracts -modified leaves-) by 15cm in diameter, and weighs up to two kilos, except baby pineapple which weighs between 300 and 700 grams.

The plant that produces it is lively and terrestrial, apparently without stem/ trunk. Its leaves form a rigid rosette 30 to 100cm long. Its cultivation outside its origin is simple, since the cold does not harm it too much, being able to withstand occasional frosts of up to -2ºC (losing the aerial part, that is, the leaves, and sprouting in spring). It can also be kept in a bright room until spring returns.

Rambutan

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Nephelium lappaceum (rambutan tree)

The rambutan is the fruit of the rambutan, a tree native to Southeast Asia, probably in Malaysia. It is known as Chinese mamón, lichas, achotillo or, of course, rambutan. It is an oval drupe about 3 to 6cm long by 3-4cm wide, with reddish or yellow skin and covered by soft spines (it could be confused with a sea urchin ).

The plant that produces it is evergreen, and reaches a height of 3 to 7 meters. Its leaves are alternate and pinnate, 10 to 30 cm long. It does not resist frost and it does not like cold either, so its cultivation outdoors is only recommended in hot tropical climates.

And these are the most popular tropical fruits. Do you know of others?

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