A tree of mamey
Other names: Abricot des Antilles, Santo-Domingo apricot
Mamey is originated in the New World. Its distribution area includes tropical America and the Caribbean.
A significant phenotypical diversity in this fruit is observed on the Caribbean islands, with fruits of very uneven quality as well as various agronomic, pomological and biochemical characteristics.
An evergreen tree, 18-21 m tall, with a short trunk that may attain 0.9-1.2 m in diameter, and ascending, densely foliaged branches forming an erect, oval head.
Leaves glossy, opposite, leathery, dark-green, broadly elliptic leaves, up to 20 cm long and 10 cm wide.
Flower of mamey
Flowers fragrant, white, 2.5-4 cm wide when fully open, may be staminate, pistilate or polygamous; borne singly or in clusters of 2 or 3 on axils of young branches; male, female and hermaphrodite together or on separate trees.
Fruit nearly round or somewhat irregular, with a short, thick stem and a more or less distinct tip or merely a bristle-like floral remnant at the apex, ranges from 10-20 cm in diameter, is heavy (0.5-2 kg) and hard until fully ripe when it softens slightly; skin is light brown or greyish-brown with small, scattered, warty or scurfy areas, leathery, about 3 mm thick and bitter. Beneath it, a thin, dry, whitish membrane, astringent and often bitter, adhering to the pulp; flesh light or golden-yellow to orange, non-fibrous, varies from firm and crisp and sometimes dry to tender, melting and juicy; more or less free from the seed though bits of the seed covering, which may be bitter, usually adhere to the immediately surrounding wall of flesh; ripe flesh is appetizingly fragrant and, in the best varieties, pleasantly sub acid, resembling the apricot or red raspberry in flavor. Fruits of poor quality may be too sour or mawkishly sweet. Small fruits are usually single-seeded; larger fruits may have 2, 3 or 4 seeds.
Developing fruits of mamey
Seeds 1-4, russet-brown, rough, ovoid or ellipsoid and about 6.25 cm long.
Mamey fruits are consumed fresh or transformed into juice and jam. The flowers were formerly distilled for making of an aromatized liquor called “Creole water.
Mamey fruit showing inside
Mamey also has many medicinal virtues: pest-destroying treatment of the skin (Venezuela), use against fevers (Brazil) or to complement quinine (Brazil), assistance with the extraction of foreign bodies accidentally entered into the flesh, washing and cicatrization of wounds and insect-repellant properties
The species is commonly planted in Creole gardens and near the roads. It is very appreciated by the local populations for its fruit or its wood; it is also used as an alignment tree.
The propagation of mamey is primarily carried out by sowing, which allows the maintenance of a great genetic variability. The main crop period extends from April to September, but certain trees produce fruits at other periods of the year. Few bibliographical references deal with fruit composition and storage: fruits are climacteric, their storage is the best at (15 ± 2) °C, and their provitamin A content is high.