Star apple (Chrysophyllum cainito) is a tropical tree of the family Sapotaceae. It is a relative of the mamey sapote and the green sapote. This fruit is native to the Greater Antilles and the West Indies. It has spread to the lowlands of Central America and is now grown throughout the tropics, including Southeast Asia. Star apple has varieties of different names such as a golden-leaf tree, caimito maduraverde in Spain, caimite, and caimitier in France, and cainito and Ajara in Portugal.
They come in two different varieties, one with purple skin and one with green skin. Both varieties are tree-ripened and unlike many trees, fruits will not fall off the tree when mature so must be picked by hand when ripe. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple oval, entire, 5–15 cm long. The tiny flowers are purplish white and have a sweet fragrant smell. The plant is self-fertile and produces a strong odor.
The fruit is globose and typically measures from 2 to 3 inches in diameter. it usually has purple skin with a faint green area appearing around the calyx when it is ripe. When the fruit is cut in half the gelatinous cells form a star shape, hence the name of the fruit. The pulp of the Star Apple is aromatic and has a tropical sweet flavor with nuances of apple, lychee, and persimmon. The fruits are used as a fresh dessert fruit; it is sweet and often served chilled.
Star Apple Benefits:
- Leaves are used against diabetes and articular rheumatism.
- The fruit has antioxidant properties
- The bark is considered a tonic and stimulant
- The pulp of the Star Apple provides a fair amount of vitamin C, calcium, and phosphorous.
- Rich in phytochemicals aka antioxidants, help to prevent certain cancers and support a healthy immune system.
- Treat sore throats and reduce the inflammation associated with pneumonia and laryngitis
- When ground the seeds can be used as a tonic and diuretic.
- In some areas, both a beverage made of the bark of the Star Apple tree and the pulp of the fruit is used to treat diarrhea and dysentery.
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