IFAS Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service
If you're looking for a medium-sized tree that has a somewhat different
fruit, try growing the madrono Rheedia madruno. This tree has sharply
pointed leathery leaves, four to six inches long, dark green above and somewhat
lighter green on the undersurface. Native to the wet forests of Panama and
southern Mexico, this tree is somewhat slow growing, but will reach a height
of thirty feet or more at maturity.
Fruits are produced during the warm season and are usually one to
two inches in length, and somewhat oval in shape. The fruit skin is yellow,
warty and somewhat brittle. Inside is a white pulp surrounding several large
seeds, and the pulp has a pleasant aromatic sub-acid flavor.
In addition to being eaten as a fresh fruit it makes an excellent
jam. One word of caution, though: do not pick fruits prior to maturity. If
picked prior to maturity, fruits are generally very acid, and once picked
no further ripening occurs in the fruit.
This tree has a fair amount of salt tolerance and makes an excellent
ornamental, even if you're not going to grow it for its fruit. Most trees
can withstand average winter conditions, but hard freezes may damage leaves
and small twigs.
The madrono is tolerant of a wide range of soil types, but sometimes
has micronutrient deficiencies in high-pH soils, requiring the use of nutritional
sprays. Trees have few if any pest problems and once established have very
low needs for maintenance. Seedling trees grow very quickly for the first
two to three years and then growth rates improve.
It makes a nice specimen container plant for a porch, patio, or pool
area when young, and can be kept as a potted plant for many years before
growing large enough to be planted in the ground.
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© 2000 BGCII Page posted March 2004