- n Mammea American and Asiatic trees having edible one-seeded fruit
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n mammea A genus of dicotyledonous polypetalous trees of the natural order Guttiferœ and tribe Calophylleœ, characterized by a calyx which is closed before the flower expands, and then becomes valvately 2-parted, and by a 2- to 4-celled ovary containing four ovules, usually with a peltate stigma. They are trees with rigid coriaceous leaves, often covered with pellucid dots; axillary flowers, either solitary or in clusters; and fruits which are indehiscent drupes with from one to four large seeds. There are 5 species, natives of America and tropical Asia and Africa. M. Americana is a tall tree with a thick spreading head, somewhat resembling Magnolia grandiflora, and showy white sweet-scented flowers. The fruit, known as the mammee-apple or South American apricot, is much esteemed in tropical countries, and is eaten alone, or cut in slices with wine or sugar, or preserved in various ways. It is yellow, and as large as a cocoanut or small melon; the rind and the pulp about the seeds are very bitter, but the intermediate portion is sweet and aromatic. From the flowers a spirituous liquor is distilled. (See eau Créole, under eau.) The seeds, which are large, are used as anthelmintics, and a gum distilled from the bark is used to destroy chigoes. The tree is a native of the West. Indies and tropical America, but is often cultivated in the tropics of the Old World.