Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Egg fruit / Lekima - Pouteria

The fruits are yellowish to orange with somewhat meaty pulp resembling a cooked egg yolk .

Egg fruit (Pautaria campechiana), belonging to the family sapotaceae, is a large, symmetrical, bushy, much branched, evergreen tree.

The tree reaches a height of 20-30 feet. The leaves are compound, large, leathery, 10-15 inches long and 3 inches broad. The flowers are medium sized borne on terminal and auxiliary inflorescence.

The fruits are yellowish to orange with somewhat meaty pulp similar in appearance and texture to a cooked egg yolk embedded often with a single large seed. At maturity, the strong odour of the pulp is musky and the skin colour turns from glossy to dull.

The taste of the fruit is unique, rich, sweet and highly nutritive with about 2000 IU/100g of carotene, a precursor of vitamin A.

It is also a good source of protein and vitamin C with 2.5 per cent and 43 mg/100 g respectively. Egg fruit thrives well in tropical and subtropical climates.

Moderate rainfall, frost free and dry climate are ideal for its cultivation. It has a wide adaptability to various soil conditions and grows in soils ranging from loose sandy to heavy clay.
The trees are generally propagated by seeds. Since the seeds have poor visibility they should be sown immediately.

It is also propagated vegetatively by approach grafting. Since no named varieties are available, planting materials should be collected from good bearers.
No serious pest and disease affects this crop. The fruits can be eaten fresh either without removing the skin or after peeling and slicing.


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