Horticultural lessons within the William F. Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion

Richard J. Campbell, Juan Valls, Noris Ledesma


Nearly a century has passed since Dr. David Fairchild first wrote about the potential in the Americas of exotic tropical fruit. He and fellow tropical fruit pioneer Wilson Popenoe were enchanted by the allure of exotic tropical fruit; they foretold of their emergence in the mainstream United States marketplace. Many of David Fairchild's early articles in the proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society told this story. Yet, the durian (Durio zibethinus), mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), duku (Lansium domesticum) and tarap (Artocarpus odoratissimus) remain novelties to the United States consumer, a considerable distance from their predicted importance. The Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion at FTBG has the potential to help realize the century-old aspirations of David Fairchild, and to forge a new horticultural reality for exotic tropical fruit in the Americas. Three years into the Whitman Pavilion project we can report of early success with the mangosteens and their relatives. Five durian species and several selections of langsat show considerable promise. Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), pulasan (Nephelium ramboutan-ake), and tarap have been disappointing. Clonal material of featured species has been the key to early success with precocity and public display. The challenge remains pollination within the enclosed Pavilion structure and successful horticultural management of difficult species.


Durio zibethinus; Garcinia mangostana; Lansium domesticum; Artocarpus odoratissimus; ultra tropical fruit; graftage; cultivars; mangosteen

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283

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