From the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
by William F Whitman and Don Gray

Opposite Seasons: Summer is during the months of December, January and February. Autumn is March, April, May; winter is June, July, August; Spring is September, October and November.

Gray Abiu

Scientific name: Pouteria caimito
Family: Sapotaceae

Dear Don,


The Abiu, now named the Gray Abiu is quite popular in local markets as the tourists love the fruit, but the tourists have to be given a taste to introduce the fruit.

Enclosed is a photo of my 'Gray' abiu taken from my 8 ft. grafted tree. This fruit had a diameter 4 3/8 inches and weighed one pound eight ounces. This 'Gray' variety outperforms all other abius I am aware of. I'm sure my eight-foot tree must have nearly a bushel of golden-yellow fruit, really incredible! Unfortunately our Caribbean fruit fly has recently discovered this Amazonia fruit so we have to bag them.

Don, what I would really like is for you write a short article on this fruit to be published in Tropical Fruit News. Among the information desired would be:

The Gray Abiu will keep for up to 2 weeks without refrigeration. The fruit has to be handled carefully. Picked from the tree and wrapped in tissue and carefully packed in trays. We are now picking the fruit when the abiu is completely yellow with only a small circle of green on the stem end. The fruit when refrigerated will brown on the skin. But the inside of the fruit is still white and sweet as long as the fruit has not been bruised.

I assume this variety is named after you. How did you make the selection?

Where did it come from?
Is it grown commercially in Australia?
Are there any special horticultural requirement?
How popular is this fruit when sold in produce depts? Any special information on this particular variety.
How long has the Gray abiu been around?
If it is subject to fruit flies in Australia what do you do?


W.F. Whitman, Bal Harbour, Florida 33154, U.S.A.



Don Gray's reply:

Here is an update on the Gray Abiu.

The Gray Abiu tree was bought in 1980 from Avondale Nursery owned by Ian and Dawn Wilson. Ian Wilson kindly sold us this Abiu tree from his personal collection, as an abiu tree previously purchased had died because we had kept the soil too wet from the tree being heavily mulched. (It is with regret that Ian Wilson died in 1995).

The seed was collected by Alan Carle in 1979 on a collection trip to South America. Alan collected the seed from a place 200 m above sea level in Colombia, called Leticia in north west South America.

The Abiu, now named the Gray Abiu, is quite popular in local markets as the tourists love the fruit, but the tourists have to be given a taste to introduce the fruit.

The Gray Abiu will keep for up to 2 weeks without refrigeration. The fruit has to be handled carefully: picked from the tree and wrapped in tissue and carefully packed in trays. We are now picking the fruit when the abiu is completely yellow with only a small circle of green on the stem end. The fruit when refrigerated will brown on the skin. But the inside of the fruit is still white and sweet as long as the fruit has not been bruised.

Resorts here are cutting them up for fruit platters and brushing the cut fruit with a solution of lemon and water to stop the cut from turning brown (much like a cut apple).



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 Abiu Page



Bibliography

Whitman, William F. and Gray, Don. "Gray Abiu." rfcarchives.org.au. Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. Nov. 1996. Web. 8  Apr. 2015.

Published 8 Apr. 2015 LR
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