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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