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D Introduced Photo: Jatin Vaity
Common name: Ambarella, Golden Apple, Polynesian plum, Jew plum
Botanical name: Spondias dulcis    Family: Anacardiaceae (Cashew family)
Synonyms: Evia dulcis, Spondias fragrans, Spondias longifolia

Ambarella is a fast growing and graceful deciduous tree native to Melanesia and Polynesia. Leaves are pinnate, 20-60 cm in length, composed of 8-25 leaflets. Leaflets are glossy, elliptic, oblique at base, 6-10 cm long. Flowers are white, small, not prominent, produced in large panicles at branch-ends. Fruits are oval, green turning golden-yellow as they ripen. When green, the fruit is crisp and somewhat acidic. As the fruit ripens to a yellow color, the flesh softens; the flavor changes and the fibers become more noticeable. The ripe amber-colored, plum-shaped fruits have a sweet to acid, slightly pineapple-like fragrance and flavor. The fruits may be eaten raw or made into juice, preserves, jams, or flavorings. Young leaves are used as a seasoning or cooked as a vegetable while mature leaves are used in salads. Spondias dulcis has been introduced into tropical areas across the world for its edible fruit.

Identification credit: Jatin Vaity Photographed in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

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