Scientific: Casimiroa edulis
Common: White sapote, zapote blanco, Mexican apple
Family: Rutaceae
Origin: Tropical and subtropical highlands from Mexico into South America.

Pronounciation: Caz-i-mi-ROO-a ED-ul-is

Hardiness zones
Sunset
8-9, 13 (with protection), 14-16, 18-24
USDA 9 - 11

Landscape Use: Seasonal edible fruit tree for sheltered garden locations, screen and/or background tree.

Form & Character: Partially evergreen tropical tree, irregularly rounded and spreading.

Growth Habit: Moderate growth to 40 feet tall with equal of slightly greater spread, brittle wood.

Foliage/texture: Leaves, medium green, palmately compound, leaflets without serrations; medium coarse texture.

Flowers & fruits: Flowers are very small and yellow borne in terminal clusters on panicles during late winter; fruit are round and large (3 to 4 inches in diameter), pale green to yellow when on the tree.

Special note: The fleshy fruit mesoderm is edible, but the seeds are toxic. DO NOT eat the seeds!

Seasonal color: Fruit ripen during early autumn.

Temperature: In Phoenix, heat tolerant, but cold sensitive below 35oF.

Light: Full sun to partial shade in Phoenix, but avoid highly reflective, western exposures.

Soil: Tolerant of most soil types, but will need regular fertilization in order to keep canopy luster and good fruit production.

Watering: Regular frequent, deep irrigations especially in summer and fall when fruit are developing are essential in Phoenix.

Pruning: Prune very rarely as the trunk and stems are prone to sunscald. Fruit litter may become a problem if the tree is neglexted and/or is poorly situated in the landscape.

Propagation: Stem cuttings (easiest), budding, grafting, seed (though frustratingly difficult because a high percentage of the seeds are sterile).

Disease and pests: Fungal root rot, scale and aphids, gnats simply love ripened fruit.

Additional comments: White sapote is a beautiful tropical tree that produces an exquisite, soft, mushy, and unusual tasting fruit. Though the fruit skin may be bitter, the ripe fruit flesh (mesoderm) has a vanilla custard flavor. Fruit are best picked before they are fully ripe and then allowed to fully ripen on a window sill with indirect light. When picking the fruit, leave a small portion of the peduncle (stem) attached and handle carefully as they are prone to easily bruise. White sapote when ripe has a high sugar content (27% sugars) and is rich in vitamins, particularly vitamin A and C. The fruit mesoderm is smooth and has no noticeable fiber. It makes unusually great ice cream, shakes, and/or pies! An individual tree can produce several hundred pounds of fruit each year many of which fall to the ground and quickly rot.

White sapote is commonly grown in southern California and Hawaii. It is less common to find this tree in the lower deserts of Arizona and many are surprised to learn that it will actually grow well in Phoenix in the proper location, especially if protected and regularly cared for. There are many named cultivars of this species.