The canistel is an evergreen tree native to southern Mexico and Central America. It is cultivated in other countries, such as Brazil, Taiwan, and Vietnam for its fruit.
The canistel grows up to 10 meters high, and produces orange-yellow fruit, also called yellow sapote, up to 7 centimeters long, which are edible raw. Canistel flesh is sweet, with a texture often compared to that of a cooked egg yolk, hence its colloquial name of "eggfruit." It is closely related to the Mamey sapote and abiu.
The shape and size of the fruit is highly variable, depending on the cultivar. The better selections consistently produce large ovate fruit with glossy skin weighing upwards of 14 ounces. The flesh is somewhat pasty, although the best varieties have a creamy mousse-like texture. The flavor is rich and is reminiscent of an egg-custard. The fruit may contain between one and six large brown seeds.
Its binomial name is derived from the Mexican town of Campeche, where it is native. It is sometimes (wrongly) referred to as Lucuma campechiana. In the Philippines it is called chesa. In Sri Lanka this fruit is known as Laulu, Lavulu or Lawalu. In Thailand it is known by different traditional popular names such as Lamut Khamen or Tho Khamen, attributing a hypothetic Cambodian origin to this fruit. Currently those names are officially discouraged and the name Mon Khai, Khai meaning "egg", is favored.The plant's name in the Vietnamese language is cây tr?ng gà (“chicken egg” plant) because of the fruit's appearance. It also has the Vietnamese name lekima. This is very unusual because Vietnamese is a tonal, isolating language whose morphemes all consist of a single syllable. It appears that this name derives from the word lucuma.
Yellow sapote is a good source of potassium, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and dietary fiber. One medium-sized fruit contains about 135 calories. A decoction of the mordant bark is taken as a febrifuge in Mexico and applied on skin eruptions in Cuba. A preparation of the seeds has been employed as a remedy for ulcers.
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