Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert: Book VIII, Chapter XII (Of the Tree Called Azuba and Its Extreme Fruit)

Book VIII, Chapter XII

Of the tree called azuba[1] and its extreme fruit.

Translated by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert

Azuba is a large and attractive tree; its fruit is peculiar and different from all those I have seen; it tastes like Cermeña pears, and you can extract from it a milk so plentiful (and sticky) that in order to eat it one must soak the fruit in water and wring it out between one’s fingers so it does not stick to one’s lips. And that milk, like the one that oozes from green figs through its stalks, is even more irritating; but when soaked in water, and after wringing out the fruit or squeezing it, the milk is released and mixes in with the water, and the fruit has a pleasant taste. These are large trees and one of the best woods in this island of Hispaniola, among the hardiest and strongest.

[1] Manikara bidentata, known in the Dominican Republic as balata, sapotille in Haiti, and ausubo in Puerto Rico.

Image: Illustration by J.T. Descourtilz in Flore pittoresque et médicale des Antilles, Volume 4, published in the 1820s