Black Sapote

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

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The Black Sapote (Diospyros digyna) is an evergreen fruiting tree, related to the persimmon and native to Central America. Known as the chocolate pudding fruit, this tree produces masses of large green fruit which when ripe are soft and taste like chocolate pudding. The fruit are delicious eaten fresh or mixed with ice cream. The tree, which has glossy green leaves, will require a warm sunny position with protection from frosts in order to grow in Melbourne. Avoid exposure to westerly sun as it can burn the leaves and keep well watered in summer. The Black Sapote can tolerate a wide range of soil but will prefer a well drained, nutrient rich soil to thrive.

There is a large range in size of trees, shape, seediness, flesh colour and sweetness of fruit; and time of fruiting between different cultivars.

Some varieties available in Australia are:

‘Bernicker’ (also ‘Bernecker’) is a prolific producer of nearly spherical, medium to large fruit with few seeds and of superior quality.

‘Mossman’ has very large, round fruit of medium flavour with high pulp content and few seeds, and is capable of producing up to 450 kg per tree. ‘Maher’ has very large, flattened fruit of good to very good quality with few seeds. It is uniquely known among cultivars for being a small, yet prolific tree (up to 4 metres).

‘Ricks Late’ originated in NSW Australia and produces heavy, late crops with excellent quality fruit.

‘Superb’ is a selection from North Queensland that bears large quantities of superb quality, small fruits that may be completely seedless if not cross pollinated.

White v Black?
White and black sapotes are completely unrelated. White sapotes are from the citrus family and are big trees, they will grow wherever you can grow citrus, not really suitable for pots, will fruit easily if you a get self-fertile variety or a pair that are pollinators for each other. Black sapote is a tropical relative of the persimmon and can be grown in a pot and will fruit with a lot of meticulous care, attention, and experimentation. Will it fruit and how much? Customers have brought in fruit they’ve grown, so it can be done in Melbourne, it depends on you and how well you can recreate favorable conditions, like all plants.