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Spondias dulcis - Sol. ex Parkinson

Common Name Golden Apple, Ambarella,
Family Anacardiaceae
USDA hardiness 9-12
Known Hazards Care should be taken when eating the fruit since the seeds have very sharp spines[307 ].
Habitats Dry or secondary forests from sea-level to 500 metres[311 ].
Range Probably arose in tropical Asia, but only known in cultivation.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Spondias dulcis Golden Apple, Ambarella,


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Spondias dulcis Golden Apple, Ambarella,
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Summary

Spondias dulcis or also known as Golden Apple, Ambarella, Jew Plum is a vigorous deciduous tree growing up to 25 m in height and 45 cm in trunk diameter. It is tolerant to drought and fruiting commence four years after seed sowing or two to years from cuttings. The leaves are pinnate, comprised of 9 to 25 glossy, elliptic leaflets. The flowers are white and small in terminal panicles. Fruits are oval, containing a fibrous pit which is edible. S. dulcis is primarily cultivated as food source. The fruits may be eaten raw, or made into juice, preserves, jams or flavorings. Young leaves are used as seasoning or cooked as a vegetable while mature leaves are used in salads. Medicinally, the plant is used in the treatment of wounds, sore, burns, diarrhea, eye inflammations, hemorrhage, sore throats, mouth infection, cataracts, dysentery, coughs, fever, and stomach pain among others. The wood is light in weight, moderately soft, and not durable.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Spondias dulcis is a deciduous Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Synonyms

Spondias cytherea Sonn.

Habitats

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[301 ]. When green, the fruit is crisp and subacid[306 ]. As the fruit ripens to a yellow colour, the flesh softens; the flavour changes and the fibres become more noticeable[306 ]. The ripe amber-coloured, plum-shaped fruits have a sweet to acid, slightly turpentine flavour[200 ]. They can be made into jams, marmalade etc[301 ]. Unripe fruits are often used as a sour flavouring in sauces, soups etc[301 ]. The unripe fruit contains about 10% pectin[306 ]. The oblong fruit is up to 10cm long x 8cm wide[200 ]. Young leaves - raw or cooked[301 ]. Pleasantly acid[301 ]. Steamed and eaten as a vegetable[306 ].

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.



There are diverse traditional medicinal uses of the fruits, leaves and bark in different parts of the world. The treatment of wounds, sores and burns is reported from several countries[306 ]. Parts of the plant are made into a fermented drink which is used as a remedy for diarrhoea[311 ]. The juice of the plant is used as eye drops to reduce eye inflammations[311 ]. The shoots of the plant are used to treat haemorrhaging after childbirth[311 ]. The pressed liquid obtained from the stem is given after a false pregnancy, and for weakness following childbirth[311 ]. An infusion of the leaves is used to treat sore throats and mouth infections[311 ]. The pressed liquid obtained from the bark is taken to cleanse the bowels[311 ]. The bark filtrate is also employed as an abortifacient, to promote sterility and to treat fish poisoning[311 ]. A few drops of the pressed bark fluid are applied to the eyes as a remedy for cataracts[311 ]. Fluid pressed from the bark is used in treating diarrhoea, whilst the bark is also used to treat dysentery[311 ]. The inner bark is used to treat coughs, fever and stomach aches[311 ]. It is also used to treat mouth and body sores[311 ]. The fruit is mildly diuretic[348 ]. The grated fruit, mixed with water, is used to treat high blood pressure[348 ]. The young fruit is used to treat stomach trouble and to aid a woman in labour[311 ].

Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: The plant is said to be grown as a living fence[306 ]. Other Uses The heartwood is light brown; the sapwood whitish to light yellow. The wood is light in weight; moderately soft; not durable[447 ].

Cultivation details

The plant grows best in the subhumid and frost-free tropics, where it is found from sea level up to 700 metres[200 , 306 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 27?c, but can tolerate 12 - 35?c[418 ]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -3?c, but young growth can be severely damaged at 0?c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 900 - 1,800mm, but tolerates 600 - 2,200mm[418 ]. Trees need to be grown in a sunny position, very little fruit is produced when they are in the shade[306 ]. Plants are not too fussy over soil, not needing very fertile conditions. However, very poor soil, or shallow land, is unsuitable[200 ]. It succeeds on limestone derived soils as well as on acid sands, but the soil should be well drained[306 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 8[418 ]. The branches are quite brittle, so a sheltered position is best[306 ]. Established plants are drought tolerant, though they may briefly lose their leaves when under stress[306 ]. Plants can bear fruit in only 4 years from seed, or 2 - 3 years from cuttings[306 , 335 ]. In areas where there is no prolonged dry season, the plant can flower and fruit all year round, though in pronounced monsoonal areas it will usually flower only in the dry season[306 ]. Flowering Time: Blooms repeatedly. Bloom Color: White/Near White Inconspicuous/none.

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Propagation

Seed - germinates within one month[306 ]. Quite large cuttings[200 ]. It is reported that large stumps are stuck in the ground to obtain live fence posts[306 ]. Air layers root easily[306 ]. Grafting or shield budding on Spondias rootstocks is also possible, however seedling trees are more vigorous than budded or grafted trees[306 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Wi-Tree, Jewish Plum, Wi-Apple, Golden Apple, Ambarella, Otaheite Apple, Wi-Tree, Jewish Plum, Wi-Apple, Ainakori, Aio, Aioo kwai, Ambarella, Amra, Auri, Bi, Gnoe, Hevi, Hog plum, Jew plum, Kedongdong jawa, Kedongdong, Makaw farang, Malai, Mkak, Ngongoe, Noli, Nyia tevi, Opiti, Otaheite apple, Piraka, Polynesian vi apple, Tevi, Trai coc, Uli, Uuli auki, Vi, Vi-apple, Wi-tree, Wi, ambarella, golden apple, jew plum|ambarella, otaheite-apple, polynesian-plum, yellow-plum.

Found In

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

Africa, Antigua and Barbuda, Asia, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central America, Cook Is., Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, East Africa, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia*, Ivory Coast, Laos, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nauru, Nepal, North America, Pacific*, Papua New Guinea*, PNG, Peru, Philippines, Polynesia, Reunion, Samoa, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South America, Sri Lanka, Tahiti, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, USA, Vanuatu, Vietnam, West Africa, 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.

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Spondias mombinYellow Mombin, Hog Plum, Caja Fruit, Taperebá42
Spondias purpureaPurple Mombin Red Mombin, Spanish Plum, Ciruela42
Spondias tuberosaImbu, Umbú, Brazil Plum40

 

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Author

Sol. ex Parkinson

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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