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Author Topic: Manilkara balata AKA Mimusops balata AKA Manilkara bidentata - Balata or Ausupo  (Read 337 times)

elouicious

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Hello All,

First of all, new to the site and a big fan so far so thank you for a great place to discuss and source tropical fruits, on to the meat of the subject-

TL;DR - Does anyone know how to grow these things?

I had the good fortune to visit Trinidad and Tobago (really just Tobago) for a very short period before all of this craziness for a celebration near the end of February-

When traveling I usually like to try the local foods (especially fruits and veggies) and as such while there I bought a bag of fruit on the street from a guy calling it Balata. I found the fruit to be quite delicious- given its many names and confusing taxonomy I would have to put it somewhere between longan and a sapote of some kind, there must have been around 40 fruit in the bag and I was able to get all the seeds sent back to the states in a cleaned fashion-

Fortunately they all arrived well and I have had enough failures in the past with seeds to have the foresight to send seeds to two of my friends. One of them saw 0 germination in about 10 seeds with no special treatment and I haven't had an update from the other.

I planted ~30 seeds (if I recall correctly) in a raised bed I had constructed after I soaked them in hot water for 72h and sanded the seed shell. Since then I have watered them once a day in the morning (quarantine means more time for plants) and patiently watched.

Since I haven't seen much re: germination I began looking around online to find one of these plants and haven't been able to track one down. (other than the potentially different plant currently available on ebay for $125 with shipping) Furthermore I haven't even been able to track down seeds.

I since learned that direct sowing in the ground of many species is not recommended (via tradewindsfruit) and had a bit of a panic. Not being confident whether or not the raised bed was "in the ground" or not I dug as many seeds as I was able to find (9) and noticed that I may have 2 sprouts in seedlings that I was too scared to dig out and try to find the seed.

So the question- Does any one have experience with growing these things from seed? I have heard that they are often grafted on sapodilla trees when I was in Tobago which leads me to believe they should be treated like other Manilkara seeds and don't require special treatment, but have a long erratic germination period.

I have GA3, IAA, IBA, and hormodin as well as a willow tree to generate some natural auxins that I will try as a last resort but for now they are back in a glass of warm water to hydrate.

Thanks in advance for the read and help,


TL;DR - Does anyone know how to grow these things?

murahilin

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Ive grafted it successfully onto sapodilla.

Iíll edit this post with more info later.

elouicious

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awesome! thanks so much, you are one of the few people I've heard of actually growing one

do you have a tree currently?

I spoke with my friend and he also has had 0 germination so far, by my count the seeds have been in the ground for about 3 months

murahilin

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I don't think Mimusops balata is the same as Manilkara bidentata.

The tree growing in Trinidad is Manilkara bidentata.

I can't remember where I got the budwood from but I think it was either from Trinidad or Puerto Rico. I gave the grafted tree away so I don't know how it's doing or if it's even alive.

I am not sure if this is still the case, but balata trees from Trinidad used to not require post entry quarantine (PEQ) so two people I know brought grafted balata trees back from Trinidad when they visited. Their trees are growing well in South Florida and one has already fruited. I followed up today and I found out one of the trees is covered in flowers right now so they may get more fruit this year.

If you will be visiting Trinidad again anytime soon, you can look into bringing a grafted balata tree back with you. A basic run down of what you need to do if the tree does not require PEQ is to get a phyto in Trinidad, wash off the roots, trim the tree to a certain height, and make sure to delcare the tree with customs when you arrive to the US. You'd need to fly into an airport with a USDA station and make sure to fly in on a weekday because if they're not in, they take your trees until the USDA is open again on during the week. The process requires planning ahead of time.

If I wasn't afraid of interacting with people right now, I would offer to get you some budwood if you knew how to graft. If you still haven't gotten a tree by next year summer, let me know. I might not be afraid of people anymore and I could mail you some budwood to graft. You could start collecting sapodilla seedlings right now to try and graft the balata onto.


« Last Edit: June 27, 2020, 03:58:18 PM by murahilin »

 

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