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Pouteria campechiana - (Kunth) Baehni

Common Name Canistel, Eggfruit
Family Sapotaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist or wet mixed forest, sometimes in pine forests, often on limestone, at elevations that are mostly below 1,400 metres[331 ].
Range Central America - Panama, north to Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Wet Soil Full sun
Pouteria campechiana Canistel, Eggfruit

Pouteria campechiana Canistel, Eggfruit
Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146) wikimedia.org


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Growing up to 10 m high, Pouteria campechiana or Canistel, is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree native to Central and South America. It is characterized by an open crown with mostly horizontal branches, oval and shiny bright green leaves, small scented flowers that occur in clusters of two to five, and round, orange yellow fruits with thin, tough, and waxy skin. The fruits are climacteric. It can be eaten raw or used in desserts or drinks. Medicinally, bark decoction is applied on skin eruptions while the seeds are used in the treatment of ulcers. The tree is a source of latex which is used to adulterate Sapodilla latex. The wood is used in construction particularly for planks and rafters. The plant is not tolerant to frost and can tolerate dry periods. It can be grown from seeds. Germination takes place 2-3 weeks after sowing and can be transplanted after a year. Plant can also be propagated by grafting and air layering.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Pouteria campechiana is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Lucuma campechiana HBK. Lucuma heyderi Standl. Lucuma nervosa A.DC. Lucuma rivicola Gaertn. Lucuma s

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

The fruit is excellent when eaten raw, it can also be used in cakes, pies, ice creams, puddings etc[301 ]. It has a yellow to orange pulp that is soft and mealy in texture with a very rich, sweet flavour that is somewhat reminiscent of a baked sweet potato[301 ]. The fruit somewhat resembles the yolk of a hard-boiled egg[301 ]. It is not highly regarded by many people because it is not crispy and juicy like so many other fruits[303 ]. The fruit is extremely variable in form and size, ranging from almost round to oval or spindle shaped[303 ]. It ranges in size from 7 - 12cm long and 5 - 7.5cm wide, though there is a shrubby form (var palmeri) where the fruits are only 2.5cm long[303 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Febrifuge  Skin

A decoction of the astringent bark is taken as a febrifuge and is applied on skin eruptions[303 ]. A preparation of the seeds has been employed as a remedy for ulcers[303 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Latex  Wood

Other Uses: The tree produces an abundant latex[331 ]. It is extracted from the tree and has been used to adulterate chicle[303 , 331 ]. The fine-grained, compact, strong, moderate to very heavy and hard timber is valued especially for planks and rafters in construction. The heartwood is greyish-brown to reddish-brown and blends into the sapwood, which is somewhat lighter in colour. The darker the colour, the more resistant to decay[303 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant that can succeed in the lowland moist tropics or subtropics, growing at elevations up to 1,400 metres[303 ]. In its native range it experiences an average annual temperature of 26°c, with a maximum 36.7°c and a minimum of 14.9°c[303 ]. Plants can tolerate occasional, short-lived frosts[335 ]. Average annual precipitation is approximately 1,288mm, ranging between 900 - 1,800mm[303 ]. It requires no more than moderate precipitation and does well in regions with a long dry season[303 ]. It is very susceptible to drought according to another report[200 ]. It grows well in maritime areas, where it shows good wind resistance[200 ]. Tolerant of a wide range of soil types, including sandy and heavy clay soils[200 , 303 ]. Requires a very well-drained soil[200 ]. It makes the best vegetative growth in deep, fertile, well-drained soils, but is said to be more fruitful on shallow soils[303 ]. It can be cultivated on soil considered too thin and poor for most other fruit trees[303 ]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5 - 7[200 ]. This species has become invasive in Florida[307 ]. Seedling trees can commence fruiting when 5 - 7 years old, grafted trees can fruit when 3 - 4 years old[335 ]. The mature but still firm fruits should be clipped to avoid tearing the skin. When left to ripen on the tree, the fruits split at the stem end and fall[303 ]. Some trees can produce fruit more or less continuously throughout the year[303 ]. There are some named varieties[301 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - remove it from its husk before sowing[200 ]. The seeds lose viability quickly and should be germinated within a few days after removal from the fruit[306 ]. Seedlings grow rapidly and may produce fruit in 3-4 years[306 ]. Side-grafting. Air-layering may be possible[200 ]. Canistel seeds lose viability quickly and should be planted within a few days after removal from the fruit. If decorticated, seeds germinate within 2 weeks; otherwise there may be a delay of 3 - 5 months before they sprout. The seedlings grow rapidly and begin to bear in 3 - 6 years. There is considerable variation in yield and in size and quality of fruits. Vegetative propagation is preferred in order to hasten bearing and to reproduce the best selections. Side-veneer grafting, cleft grafting, patch budding and air-layering are usually successful. Cuttings take a long time to root

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Amarillo, Boracho, Caca de nino, Cahixo, Caniste, Canizte, Costiczapotl, Cucumu, Fruta huevo, Gema-de-ovo, Guaicume, Guicume, Huicon, Huicumo, Kanis, Kaniste, Kanixte, Khema, Limoncillo, Mamee ciruela, Mamey cerera, Mamey cerilla, Mzeituni, Sapota-amarelo, Sapote amarillo, Sapote borracho, Siguapa, Ti-essa, Tiesa, Tiyesa, Toesa, Yellow sapote, Zapote mante, Zapotillo, Zubul, egg fruit tree, canistel|kaha laulu / rata lawulu.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Belize; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama, Africa, Amazon, Asia, Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Brazil*, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central America*, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, East Africa, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hawaii, Honduras, Indochina, Jamaica, Japan, Maldives, Mexico*, Nicaragua, North America, Pacific, Panama, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, Puerto Rico, SE Asia, Seychelles, South America, Sri Lanka, St Lucia, Tanzania, USA, Venezuela, West Indies,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This species has become invasive in Florida[307 ].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Pouteria altissimaAbam, Apotro, GomuTree35.0 10-12 MLMHNDM004
Pouteria caimitoAbiu, Yellow Star AppleTree15.0 10-12 MLMHSNMWe402
Pouteria guianensisAsepoko.Tree25.0 10-12 MLMHNM202
Pouteria pierreiAningeriaTree30.0 10-12 MLMHNM204
Pouteria sapotaSapote, Mamey SapoteTree25.0 10-12 MMHNM422

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Kunth) Baehni

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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