Plant Catalog

Plant Catalog Index

Catálogo Plantas

Cherimoya (Annona cherimola Mill.) dichogamy system

Annona cherimola (Mill.) represents an extreme case of dependence on a pollination vector, a beetle of genus Carpophilus not present in foreign areas. This and cherimoya dichogamy strongly limit its cultivation out of its place of origin, the interandean valleys in the border between Perú and Ecuador. Nonetheless, certain level of natural fruit set is observed in Southeast Spain and attributed to the activity of autochthonous insects. As in most dichogamous species, the flower cycle of cherimoya has been so far described based on morphological changes; in this case the degree of petal’s aperture. This description demands basic information about the orderly function of the sexual verticils. With this aim, we have characterized cherimoya flower cycle at both, morphological and physiological levels, and established the parallelisms between them. Flower female phase based on petal position lasted 24-26 hours, but 28-32 hours when the functionality of gynoecia was taken into account. Male phase was shorter. It started when the basal stamens of the androecia ring gradually opened shortly after mid-day of the second day of flower cycle. Anther dehiscence occurred well before the petal position markes the beginning of male phase. The strict dichogamous behaviour of cherimoya in our location and the elevated synchrony among flowers of the same tree and among trees of the same genotype (clones) limit pollen transfer and explain the low levels of pollination achieved in absence of human intervention (less than 10 pollen grain per flower at the end of cycle). Wind and autochthonous insects play no role in cherimoya pollination as bagging experiments showed. The time in which fertilization was possible (effective pollination period; EPP) was established in 24 hours and was limited by receptivity of stigma, since the ovules remained apparently fertile during the whole flower cycle (about 42 hours). Stigma receptivity was, however, variable and its duration affected by humidity. During cloudy days, a prolongation of stigma receptivity was detected overlapping with the period of anthers’ dehiscence. This brief and occasional overlap may explain some levels of self-pollination observed in a low percentage of flowers and the documented consecution of certain levels of natural fruit set in selected locations of Spain. Finally, an increase in flower temperature over the ambient (phenomenon called thermogenesis) was measured during the female period. Its importance on aroma liberation to attract insect will be discussed.

M. Gónzález
J. Cuevas
Fundación Cajamar
Plant Catalog

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is a member of the cucurbit family (Cucurbitaceae). The crop is grown commercially in areas with long frost-free warm periods. Plants must be grown at a wide spacing because of their long, trailing vines. The exception is for dwarf cultivars where the plants can be grown at a tighter spacing. The crop may be established in the field by planting seeds or using containerized transplants. Management of plant pests (weeds, insects, and diseases, including nematodes) is essential during the production period. Three-fourths of the world production is grown in Asia, with China the leading country in production. Watermelons are grown in most states of the United States, but the major producers are in the South and West (Florida, Georgia, California, and Texas) where the warm production season lasts longer. The fruit are harvested by hand, with the most experienced workers doing the cutting (removal of the fruit from the vine) and the others loading the bins or trucks. The fruit are shipped to markets throughout the United States, with some exported to Canada. Watermelon fruit will keep for two to three weeks after harvest if they are stored properly at 10 to 15°C and 90% humidity. Besides whole watermelons, it is becoming popular to sell watermelon in pre-cut halves, quarters, slices, and chunks. Whole fruit usually are cut in the store under cold, aseptic conditions since the cut product does not ship or store well. Seedless watermelons are especially popular for pre-cut sales, since that shows their seedless quality. In the 1800s, watermelon was grown mostly for local sales. However, with the development in the last few decades of rapid shipping in refrigerated railroad cars and trucks has led to distribution of watermelon throughout the United States from major production areas. Southern production areas begin shipping early in the year, and the harvest continues throughout the summer by moving to more northern areas. Depending on the cultivar, watermelon fruit are produced in different sizes: ice box, small, medium, large, or giant; different shapes: round, oval, blocky, or elongate; different rind patterns: gray, narrow stripe, medium stripe, wide stripe, light solid, or dark solid; different flesh colors: white, yellow, orange, or red; and different types: seeded or seedless. Commercially, the most popular seeded cultivars are red flesh, blocky shape, and large sized (8–11 kg), like the cultivar Allsweet. For seedless watermelons, the popular cultivars are red flesh, oval shape, and medium sized (5–8 kg), like the cultivar Tri-X-313. Per capita consumption of watermelons in the United States is 7.2 kg. Watermelon is served fresh as slices, as chunks (often in fruit salad), as juice, pickled rind, glacé candy, and as edible seeds (harvested from confectionary type apples, bananas, and oranges. The watermelon fruit is 93% water, with small amounts of protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins. In some arid regions, watermelon is used as a valuable source of water. The major nutritional components of the fruit are carbohydrates (6.4 g/100 g), vitamin A (590 IU), and lycopene (4,100 µg/100g, range 2,300–7,200), an anticarcinogenic compound found in red flesh watermelon. Lycopene may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as prostate, pancreas, and stomach. The lycopene content of the new dark red watermelon cultivars is higher than in tomato, pink grapefruit, or guava. Orange flesh types have only small amounts of lycopene, and the beta carotene content is similar to that of red flesh types. Canary yellow types do not contain lycopene, but do have a small amount of beta carotene. Watermelon seeds are rich in fat and protein. Watermelon flowering and fruit development are promoted by high light intensity and high temperature. Watermelon is the only economically important cucurbit with pinnatifid (lobed) leaves; all of the other species have whole (non-lobed) leaves. The leaves are pinnately divided into three or four pairs of lobes, except for a non-lobed (sinuate) gene mutant controlled by the nl gene. Watermelon growth habit is a trailing vine. The stems are thin, hairy, angular, grooved, and have branched tendrils at each node. The stems are highly branched and up to 30 feet long, although there are dwarf types (dw-1 and dw-2 genes) with shorter, less-branched stems. Roots are extensive but shallow, with a taproot and many lateral roots. Watermelon has small flowers that are less showy than those of other cucurbits. Flowering begins 4 to 8 weeks after seeding. Flowers of watermelon are staminate (male), perfect (hermaphroditic), or pistillate (female), usually borne in that order on the plant as it grows. Monoecious types are most common, but there are andromonoecious (staminate and perfect) types, mainly the older cultivars or accessions collected from the wild.

Todd C. Wehner
North Carolina State University
Plant Catalog
Cacao Diseases in Central America

Diseases are the biotic factor with the greatest impact in cacai production in Latin America and the world. In Central America, bacteria, viruses and nematodes do not cause significant problems; instead, fungi and similar organisms are responsible for most of the losses.
Monilians (caused by the fungus Moniliophthora roreri is the desease that cuases the most damage in this region and it id responsible for up to 80%of losses of cacao fruits or pods and the abandoment of many cacao plantations. Next in importance is black pod desease, caused by organisms of the genus Phytophthora, previously classified as fungi but currently prouped with the Kingdom Protista. Black pod can attack different parts of the plant but, like moniliasis, it mainly damages the fruits that contain the product of commercial interest: the cacao seeds.
After a brief introduction to the factors associated with the incidence of cacao diseases, the first part of this publication focuses on the two main diseases that affect cacao fruits: moniliasis and black pod. The emphasis is on the identification of these diseases, this catalog includes photographs of the most characteristic symptoms of the diseases and signs of the fungi. It also provides information about the reproduction and dispersal of their causal agents, life cycles and the measures recommended for controlling them.
The second part of the catalog focuses on diseases that mainly attack parts of the plant other than the fruit, emphasizing their recognition and control. Finally, this publication contains information about witches’ broom, a serious disease present in South America, the Antilles and areas to the south of the Panama Canal, which threatens to spread into Central America. Technicians and farmers should learn to recognize the different symptoms and signs of this disease.

Wilbert Phillips-Mora
Rolando Cerda
The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE)
Plant Catalog
Ziziphus jujuba - Chinese Date

Chinese Jujube is an interesting deciduous tree with spiny, gnarled branches and an open, irregular form. Growing at a moderate pace, Chinese Jujube reaches anywhere from 15 to 35 feet in height with a spread of 10 to 30 feet and can be trained to a single trunk. Most unpruned plants grow with several trunks. The mottled gray/black bark is rough and shaggy. The one to two-inch-long leaves have a paler underside and sharp spines at the base of each leaf. Fall color is often a showy yellow, but not consistent. In spring, small clusters of yellow or white, fragrant blossoms appear, hidden in foliage between the leaf and stems. The one-inch-long green fruits ripen to dark red and finally black. Eaten either fresh, candied, canned, or dried like dates, these fruits are quite sweet. Even young, two-year-old trees are able to produce these delectable treats but be forewarned that these fruits can create quite a litter problem. Locate the tree so the fruit drops in a mulch bed or on the lawn, not on a sidewalk, patio or driveway.

Edward F. Gilman
Dennis G. Watson
US Forest Service
Plant Catalog
The Pomegranate

Pomegranates can be grown in tropical to warm temperate climates. However, the best quality pomegranate fruits are produced in regions with cool winters and hot, dry sum - mers. Few areas are too hot, and the pomegranate is more cold hardy (receives less damage) than citrus. Pomegranates vary in frost tolerance, but in some cases temperatures down to 10°F may not severely injure the plants. Several hundred hectares are cultivated in California and a small commercial industry existed in Florida during the 1800’s.
Normally a dense, bushy, deciduous shrub, 2-4 m (6-12 ft.) tall, the plant has slender, somewhat thorny branches. It may be trained as a small tree reaching 7 m (20 ft.) in height. Pomegranate is an attractive ornamental.
Pomegranate leaves are glossy, dark green, oblong to oval, 2.5-3 cm (1-1.25 in.) long. Leaves are arranged opposite or nearly so and clustered on short branchlets.
Blooms are a flaming orange-red, 4-6 cm (1.5-2.5 in.) in diameter with crinkled petals and numerous stamens. Flowers are borne solitary or in small clusters angled towards the end of branchlets.
Pomegranates are brownish-yellow to purplish-red berries 5 - 12 cm (2-5 in.) in diameter with a smooth, leathery skin. Fruits are spherical, somewhat flattened, with a persistent calyx. The calyx may be 1-6 cm (1.5-2.5 in.) long. Numerous seeds are each surrounded by a pink to purplish-red, juicy, subacid pulp (arils) which is the edible portion. The pulp is somewhat astringent. Pomegranates in North Florida mature from July to November, but may produce year round in South Florida.

M.D. Sheets
M.L. Du Bois
J.G. Williamson
University of Florida, IFAS Extension
Plant Catalog
Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.)


Bambara groundnut is a popular crop in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. Its cultivation seems to have preceded the introduction of the common groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), of American origin. In many traditional farming systems, it is found intercropped with cereals and root and tuber crops. Bambara groundnut is reported to have been carried as far as India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, New Caledonia and South America, particularly Brazil (Rassel 1960), but it seems that the present degree of cultivation outside Africa is negligible.

Bambara groundnut is a herbaceous, intermediate, annual plant, with creeping stems at ground level. Differences in the length of internodes result in bunched, intermediate (semi-bunched) and spreading types. The general appearance of the plant is bunched leaves arising from branched stems which form a crown on the soil surface. Stem branching begins very early, about 1 week after germination, and as many as 20 branches may be produced. Each branch is made up of internodes, and those near the base are shorter than the more distant ones. The plant has a welldeveloped tap root with profuse geotropic lateral roots. The roots form nodules for nitrogen fixation, in association with appropriate rhizobia. Leaf and flower buds arise alternately at each node. Leaves are pinnately trifoliate, glabrous with erect petiole, thickened at the base. Two stipels subtend the terminal leaflet, while only one is assigned to each of the two lateral leaflets. The oval leaflets are attached to the rachis with marked pulvini. The terminal leaflet is slightly larger than the lateral leaflets, with an average length of 6 cm and an average width of 3 cm.

J. Heller
F. Begemann
J. Mushonga
International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI)
Plant Catalog

Amaranthus spp.
Common Names
Amaranth, Chinese spinach, spiny pigweed, Joseph's-coat (En); amarante, épinard malabar, épinard piquant (Fr); amarantos, moco de pavo, blero (Sp); 莧菜 (Cn)
Related Species
A. tricolor, A. dubius, A. blitum, A. gangeticus, A. spinosus, A. viridis
Plant Distribution
All tropical and subtropical regions
Botanical Features
Annual herb up to 130 cm tall; stems erect, branched, angular, hairless to sparsely hairy, soft, juicy; leaves alternate, elliptic or ovate, 5-10 cm, soft-textured, golden yellow to dark green, some with red markings; inflorescence axillary, cluster up to 2.5 cm wide and 20 cm long; flowers sessile, minute and inconspicuous, unisexual, male and female intermixed; fruit one-seeded utricles; seeds 0.5-1.5 mm diameter, shining black or brown, faintly netted; epigeal germination.

L.J. Lin
Y.Y. Hsiao
C.G. Kuo
AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center
Plant Catalog

The chupa-chupa tree is fast-growing, erect, to 130 or even 145 ft (40-45 m) high in the wild, though often no more than 40 ft (12 m) in cultivation. It is sometimes buttressed; has stiff branches in tiered whorls of 5; and copious gummy yellow latex. The semi-deciduous, alternate, long-petioled leaves, clustered in rosettes near the ends of the branches, are broadly heart-shaped, normally 6 to 12 in (15-30 cm) long and nearly as wide. Short-stalked, yellowish-white or rose-tinted, 5-petalled flowers, about 1 in (2.5 cm) wide, with 5 conspicuous, protruding stamens and pistil, are borne in masses along the lesser branches and on the trunk. The fruit is rounded, ovoid or elliptic with a prominent, rounded knob at the apex and is capped with a 2- to 5-lobed, velvety, leathery, strongly persistent calyx at the base; 4 to 5 3/4 in (10-14.5 cm) long and to 3 3/16 in (8 cm) wide, and may weigh as much as 28 oz (800 g). The rind is thick, leathery, greenish-brown, and downy. The flesh, orange-yellow, soft, juicy, sweet and of agreeable flavor surrounds 2 to 5 seeds, to 1 1/2 in (4 cm) long and 1 in (2.5 cm) wide, from which long fibers extend through the flesh.

Julia F. Morton
Fruits of warm climates
Plant Catalog
Giant Granadilla (Passiflora quadrangularis L.)

The vine is fast-growing, large, coarse, herbaceous but woody at the base, arising from a fleshy root that becomes enlarged with age, and climbing trees to a height of 33 to 50 ft (10-15 m) or even 150 ft (45 m) in Java. It has thick 4-angled stems prominently winged on the angles, and axillary tendrils to 12 in (30 cm) long, flanked by leaflike, ovate or ovate-lanceolate stipules 3/4 to 1 3/8 in(2-3.5 cm) long, sometimes faintly toothed. The alternate leaves are broad-ovate or oblong-ovate, 3 1/4 to 6 in (8.25-15 cm) wide, 4 to 8 in (10-20 cm) long; rounded or cordate at the base, abruptly pointed at the apex, sometimes toothed near the base; thin, with conspicuous veins sunken on the upper surface, prominent beneath. The solitary, fragrant flowers, up to 4 3/4 or 5 in (12-12.5 cm) wide, have a bell-shaped calyx, the 5 sepals greenish or reddish-green on the outside, white, pink or purple inside; the 5 petals, to 1 3/4 in (4.5 cm) long, white-and-pink; the corona filaments 2-ranked, to 2 3/8 in (6 cm) long, purple-and-white below, blue in the middle, and pinkish-blue above, around the typical complex of pistil, style and stigmas.
The pleasantly aromatic, melon-like fruit is oblong-ovoid, 4 3/4 to 6 in (12-15 cm) wide, and 8 to 12 in (10-30 cm) long; may be faintly ribbed or longitudinally 3-lobed; has a thin, delicate skin, greenish-white to pale- or deep-yellow, often blushed with pink. Beneath it is a layer of firm, mealy, white or pink flesh, 1 to 1 1/2 in (2.5-4 cm) thick, of very mild flavor, and coated with a parchment-like material on the inner surface. The central cavity contains some juice and masses of whitish, yellowish, partly yellow or purple-pink, sweet-acid arils (commonly referred to as the pulp), enclosing flattened-oval, purplish-brown seeds to 1/2 in (1.25 cm) long.

Julia F. Morton
Fruits of warm climates
Plant Catalog

Mungbean seeds are sprouted for fresh use or canned for shipment to restaurants. Sprouts are high in protein (21%–28%), calcium, phosphorus and certain vitamins. Because they are easily digested they replace scarce animal protein in human diets in tropical areas of the world. Because of their major use as sprouts, a high quality seed with excellent germination is required. The food industry likes to obtain about 9 or 10 grams of fresh sprouts for each gram of seed. Larger seed with a glassy, green color seems to be preferred.
If the mungbean seed does not meet sprouting standards it can be used as a livestock food with about 1.5 ton of mungbean being equivalent to 1.0 tons of soybean meal for protein content. Feeding trials have been conducted at Oklahoma State University for swine and young calves with good results.

E.S. Oplinger
L.L. Hardman
A.R. Kaminski
S.M. Combs
J.D. Doll
University of Wisconsin & University of Minnesota
Plant Catalog