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Caricaceae, Jacarantia mexicana, Bonete – Jalisco, Mexico

April 19, 2012

Bonete is a wild papaya relative native to Mexico, called Coahuayote in Naualt, K’uun che’ in Mayan. I photographed this tree last week in the dry tropical coastal forests in Jalisco. The tree is tall with a straight trunk, reminiscent to some members of the Bombacaceae (Malvaceae) family in that the girth of the trunk seems disproportionately thick compared to the branches. The first time I saw Bonete I mistook it for a Ceiba. The bark is soft, wood pithy, the leaves elliptic.

Male and female flowers are born on separate trees (dioecious). the ripe fruit has high nutritious value and can be eaten when mature or immature. The pulp and aroma of the fruit is similar to that of papaya. As you can see in one of the photos, the sap exuded from the stem of the freshly picked fruit is also similar to that of papaya.There is not much information out there on this species, the locals I spoke with were all aware of its edible properties. It seems to be a much sought after wild fruit.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2012 10:08:06 pm

    Curious…..I know several solitary trees that produce fruit , no other trees even far away….

  2. April 19, 2012 10:08:52 pm

    Very interesting tree. Love the shape of the trunk. Not able to grow it down here in Tasmania but we are in the process of isolating things that we can. We are going to have a go at growing some Moringa oleifera. Cheers for making my inbox a horticultural event 🙂

  3. Chuck Beaty permalink
    April 27, 2012 10:08:35 pm

    I’ve been watching bonete fruit ripen on a large tree in a nearby Mayan village. I’m buying some fruit tomorrow and I’m hoping the seed will be viable for planting. Does anyone have experience in germinating the seeds? Good luck with the Moringa, narf77. I just transplanted a few seedlings last week.

    • May 10, 2012 10:08:24 am

      I would use the same technique as with Papaya. Extract the seeds from a ripe fruit and let them sit in water for a few days until you can smell slight fermentation. Then wash and plant in well drained, fertile soil. As a side note: something intriguing I was told years ago by a very reputable source is that, when propagating papaya, after cutting the fruit in half longways, the seeds on the top half are male, the seeds on the bottom are female and the ones in the middle are hermaphroditic, so the middle (hermaphroditic) seeds should be used for propagation. I’m not sure if this is true, or if it makes sense from an agronomic standpoint, but I’ve always followed the rule.

      • Chuck Beaty permalink
        May 27, 2012 10:08:22 am

        Thank you Anthropogen. I did as you suggested with the slight fermentation. I then washed the seeds and removed as much of the seed coating as would come off easily. After a week, I’m looking at about 75 sprouts with more to come. Now, what to do with all the bonete seedlings? I will distribute as many as possible in a nearby village and then plant the rest in woodland areas…with any luck, the animals will love their new food supply.
        Your side note also intrigues me. I will give that a shot later this year.
        Thanks again for the advice.

        • May 31, 2012 10:08:08 am

          Fantastic. It makes me very happy to know that I could have contributed information (at least to some minor extent) that led to the germination of seeds that will be grown into trees somewhere else in the world. Thanks for the update…

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