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Sapotaceae:

This pan-tropical family of around 800 species in 70ish genera is most famous for its milky latex sap. Gutta-percha, a Malaysian plant, was found early on to have a latex that dried into a rubbery compound. The only problem was that it was a bit more brittle than modern rubbers. The family contains many edible fruits, although most are uncommon in American and European markets. These include Star Apple, Egg Fruit, Chicle and Sapota.

Systematics: The undersides of leaves have brown fuzzy hair. Sap is Milky.

Specimens List

Star Apple (Chrysophyllum cainito)

Do not bite through the skin to get to this delicious fruit. The skin is full of latex and dangerous.


Egg fruit (Pouteria campechiana)

This fruit has a pulp with the consistency of a hard boiled egg yolk.


Chicle (Manilkara chicle)

"Chicle" is a natural gum that was traditionally used to make chewing gum.


Sapota (Manilkara zapota)

While the fruit is delicious, the seeds are black with a hook at the end that can get cought in the back of the throught if accidentally swallowed.


Gutta-percha (Palaquium)

Latex served as the insulating material for some of the earliest undersea telegraph cables. When it was used for golf balls in 1848 it revolutionized the game!


 

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