Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion Tour

The Whitman Pavilion is a unique and amazing fruit collection which includes species from Asia, Africa, and America. Our display is unique; we have superior clones or cultivars. Every plant has been propagated by grafted tree or air-layer. Both methods of propagation assure the genetic integrity of the collection, height, quality and precocity. The plants are distributed by plots, grouping by relatives.

Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana)

“The Queen of fruits”. It has about the size of a billiard ball, dark purple in color with soft, juicy and translucent pulp, like tangerine. Their succulent flesh is delicately aromatic; a cooling balance to the heat of the durian. Asian species are often dried and used as spices, while Amazonian species make exquisite juices. David Fairchild held our first ever mangosteen tea party under the palms at the Garden onAugust 18, 1945, with fruit imported fromLancetilla, Honduras. It is time for another party – this time with our own fruit.






Cacao (Theobroma cacao)

Theobroma cacao, the fruit of Gods... origin of this tropical understory tree in the  Sterculiaceae family. Cacao cultivation began in America by Mayan tribes in Central America, ca. 1500 BC. Mayas and Aztec attributed divine origin to the cocoa tree (brought by god Quetzacoatl). The precious cocoa beans were used as a currency. The sacred beverage called "chocolatl" was consumed from golden cups.

Cacao, the food of the gods and legacy of the Maya, is the focal point of a worldwide effort to safeguard chocolate supplies. United States Department of Agriculture scientists, working in concert with researchers and growers from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe are active in the collection, research, and selection of cacao with improved resistance to devastating fungal diseases.

For more information how to grow cacao in South Florida please click here

Come and learn more about cacao and chocolate at the International Chocolate Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic garden.




Durian: Durio sp.

Among the shadows of the Bornean rain forest a wild durian fruit tumbles to the forest floor - the telltale thud announcing the seductive feast. The armored shell is coaxed open to reveal a fiery red flesh. A penetrating, earthy aroma hangs heavy in the air. At first taste there is a hesitation. Gradually one succumbs to the intense sweetness, veiled in provocative, musky overtones. The durian has moved out of the forest shadows and onto the grocery shelves of Asia and increasingly the Americas. We have four species of Durians leaving in the pvilion: Durio graveolens: Fast-growing; wild durian with an edible orange-colored flesh; the Durio Zibethinus: Most commercial durian and the Durio oxleyanus: This is an other wild/jungle durian. It has small and the fruit is armed with long sharp spines; and the  Durian Kura Kura (Durio testudinarum) which is one of the three trees existed in the all planet.



Champedak (Artocarpus integer).                                                                                                  

In an isolated Malaysian market, an elderly woman proudly displays a shabby collection of champedak, breadfruit, marang, kanun pan and pedalai. An elusive, resinous odor  emanates from their general vicinity, but one cannot be sure. Fruits in hand, the spiny, leathery rinds are cut open to reach the starchy or intensely sweet flesh with aromatic combinations of banana, tutti-frutti and citrus. While rather strange to look at, they are among the world's finest flavors.







Langsat (Lansium domesticum)

In Southeast Asia it is said that langsats are planted not for oneself, nor for one's children, but for one's grandchildren. They are that slow to produce fruit when grown from seed. By grafting superior selections, we hope in this lifetime to enjoy the tart citrus flavor of the delectable, crisp flesh.






Chupa Chupa (Quararibea cordata)

In a patio garden along the Amazon River, a child earnestly gnaws at a chupa chupa. Working for what seems an hour, the dedicated youth sucks on the hairy seed until all of the sweet, musky pulp has been eaten. Chupa chupa remains a subsistence crop; commercial development will depend upon the selection of superior, low-fiber varieties.








Araza (Eugenia stipitata)

Is a fragrant, tart fruit which is used to make drinks, popsicles, and ice cream. It is also used to flavor liquor. Some people eat the fruit when green in order to eliminate parasites. This is a small tree whose size and shape allow it to mix well with many tree crops. 






Achacharu (Rheedia sp.) 

A wondrous golden bounty hangs heavy from the emerald limbs of the Amazonian achacharu. Local children frequent the ornamental trees lining the river bank following a cooling swim, while they await the arrival of their family dugout canoe. Jostling for position, they quickly harvest the fruit and hungrily partake of its sweet delicate pulp. Native to the hot, humid forests of the Amazon basin, the small tree (6 to 9 ft) grows easily from seed, producing fruit in less than four years. Fruit shape varies by region, with many different species cultivated by local people. Trees will thrive under a humid, wind-free environment if provided with a low pH soil and ample moisture. In its native land the achacharu remains as a home garden fruit and is consumed fresh out-of-hand or made into delicate and refreshing juices. In tropical America the achacharu has considerable potential as a cross purpose ornamental, home garden and commercial fruit crop. Due to its small stature it is perfect for small spaces or even permanent use in a container.


Vanilla orchids

Vanilla planifolia is one of more than 60 species of vanilla orchids that have been around for almost 500 years. The vines grow up to 30 feet long, and the plant takes seven to eight years to mature. The pale yellow or green flowers, blooming from April to July, are just as unusual as the stems and the form of this orchid. They open in the early morning and usually close by midday. They are fragrant and attract bees, butterflies and birds.

South Florida has a few native vanilla species that make useable pods: Vanilla phaeantha, Vanilla dilloniana, and Vanilla barbellata. Unfortunately, these unusual native orchids are listed as endangered by the state of Florida due to habitat destruction and over-collecting. This plant is an epiphytic orchid native to moist hammocks, swamps, and coastal mangrove swamps like those of southern Florida and the Florida Keys. They are very rare, and collecting them is not allowed.

For more information how to vanilla in South Florida please click here

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