In the Fullerton Arboretum

by: Alfredo Chiri

TROPICAL APRICOT - Dovyalis abyssinica x hebecarpa - Flacourtiaceae
Donated by: CRFG/Haluza/SBA and planted in 1984 (r.f.-09)

Common names: Tropical apricot, Kitambilla, Ceylon gooseberry, Koshim, Ankakute, Ongolatz, Aihada.

The bush is a natural hybrid from Florida. The tropical apricot differs from the two parents' varieties in that the parents the Kashun (D, Abysssinica) and the Kitembilla (D. Hebercarpa ), require male and female for fruiting.
The tropical apricot requires one plant for fruiting.

The Tropical apricot is a spiny shrub or tree that grows up to 20 feet high with a rounded crown. The bark is gray with spines up to 5 or 6 inches long. The short-stalked leaves are shiny dark green and ovate to two inches long.
The flowers are green sepals. The plant has male, female and perfect flowers. 

The fruits are round berries of 1.5 inches. At first the skins are green and hairy, then changing to smooth pale yellow with green stems. The flesh is an orange yellow color surrounding the three or four dark brown seeds.

Fruits are edible. The fruits are collected and eaten raw. The fruit produces a sweet-sour taste with a tingling sensation on the teeth, and when fully ripe, tastes like an apricot.

In their natural habitat the plants are found along rivers in humid lower forests. The plants are not particular as to the soils, doing well in sandy soils. The plant is suitable for subtropical climates. The plant is propagated by seeds or by shield budding.

Occasionally growers mistake the Tropical apricot for the Kei apple (D. Caffra). The Kei apple, or Umbolo, requires at least two plants for pollination, since each plant has only male or female flowers. The fruit varies from light yellow to light brown. At maturity the fruit is acid and generally is cooked for consumption. 

In many villages in Africa, the Dovyalis plants are planted around the village as a protection against lions and tigers. Now gardeners are utilizing these plants to protect those areas that are subject to intruders or those areas where fences can not easily be built.