The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Mammee Apple

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MAMMEE APPLE (mammea Americana), a handsome tree of 60 ft. in height, native of the Caribbean islands and the neighboring continent. It has large, oval or obovate, shining, leathery, opposite leaves, white, sweet-scented flowers, and large, round, obsoletely three- or four-cornered fruit, which sometimes grows to the size of a child's head. The fruit is covered with a double rind; the outer is leathery, tough, and brownish yellow; the inner, thin, yellow, closely adhering to the flesh, which is firm, bright yellow, and of a singular pleasant taste and a sweet aromatic smell; but the skin and seeds are very bitter and resinous. The pulp is eaten alone, or cut up into slices with wine and sugar, prepared as a jam or marmalade, or with sirup. From the yellowness of the pulp, like that of an apricot, it is called by the French abricot sauvage. This fruit is occasionally brought to our seaport cities, but rarely in an eatable condition. The seeds, which are sometimes as large as hen's eggs, are used as anthelmintics, and an aromatic liquor called eau de créole is distilled from the flowers.

AmCyc Mammee Apple.jpg

Mammee Apple.

The tree belongs to the natural order of guttiferæ. Browne (“Natural History of Jamaica,” London, 1756) speaks of the species as among the largest trees of Jamaica, and esteemed among the best timber trees. It has been observed that no one can behold this tree towering above a cluster of fruit trees without a sentiment of respect for it. The mammee tree has become naturalized in some parts of Africa, where it produces excellent fruit. Two or three other species, natives of tropical Asia, are known to botanists.