Mamoncillo

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Mamoncillo
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Sapindales
Family:Sapindaceae
Genus:Melicoccus
Species:M. bijugatus

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

The Mamoncillo Melicoccus bijugatus, also known as the Quenepa Chenet or Genip, is a fruit-bearing tree in the soapberry family Sapindaceae, native to a wide area of the American tropics including Central America, Colombia and the Caribbean. It is a large tree growing up to 30 m high. The leaves are alternate, 8-15 cm long, pinnate with 4 or 6 opposite leaflets (no terminal leaflet), each leaflet 5-10 cm long.

It is grown and cultivated for its ovoid, green fruit, which grow in bunches. The fruit ripen during the summer. The fruit, similar to that of the related Lychee, is classified as a drupe. A mamoncillo fruit has a tight and thin but rigid layer of skin, traditionally cracked by the teeth. Below that is the tart, tangy yellow pulp of the fruit. Each mamoncillo fruit has a large seed inside, the same ovoid shape as the fruit itself. Mamoncillo seeds can be roasted and eaten just like sunflower seeds.

The mamoncillo has small, greenish-white, fragrant flowers in panicles. They begin to blossom from the branch tips when the rainy season begins. The mamoncillo is an example of a polygamous plant, producing both bisexual flowers and flowers that are exclusively male or exclusively female. Occasionally, a bisexual flower will have a "dud" anther that is sterile, an evolutionary guard against that will prevent developing too many fruits too often, unless cross-pollination occurs.

Being tropical, the mamoncillo prefers warmer temperatures. Its leaves can be damaged once the temperature hits freezing point, with serious damage occurring below -4C. Gardeners of mamoncillos should occasionally give their plants heavy watering during the summer and propagate via seeds; grafting is also used to propagate cultivars.

The Mamoncillo is also commonly planted along roadsides as an ornamental tree.

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