Equateur Province, Congo D.R. Despite the fact that African star apples are currently unexplored and their value in organized plantings untried, they hold promise. They produce delicious fruits that are popular wherever they are grown. Selecting elite cultivars could create new consumers both locally and in far-away places. (Roy Danforth and Paul Noren)

greater progress is genetic selection. A huge diversity of different types exists. Fruits can be found, for instance, in an array of colors, shapes, sizes, and tastes. The trees also exhibit differing sizes, forms, features, and productivities. Some trees, for example, fruit heavily, others lightly. Little of this genetic wealth has been evaluated or even explored, let alone exploited.

Although named varieties and organized production are now unknown, superior plants are to be found and almost certainly can be propagated vegetatively. This needs doing. Elite clones will likely transform this wild crop by raising quality and reliability as well as by yielding fruits at a much younger age. Budgrafting white star apple, for example, has produced fruiting within 3 years in Nigeria.3

When superior fruits become available they seem likely to find ready outlets in both subsistence and commerce. However, at present not even the basics of production and use are well described. Little is known, for example, about the management of the trees, let alone the nutritional qualities of the fruits. Probably, though, the nutritional composition is not too different from those in American star apple, which is much like that of citrus fruit, except for the vitamin C which is less than half that in oranges.

3

Information from J.C. Okafor. Other vegetative methods likely to succeed are air-layering (marcotting), cuttings, and tongue-inarching.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement