Diospyros blancoi, or Velvet Apple, is a large tree species native to the Philippines, capable of growing to heights of 50-100 ft. The white waxy flowers of the tree have 4 petals and are 0.5 inches (1 cm) in diameter when fully opened, with male and female flowers being produced on separate trees.
For the tree to fruit, pollination is necessary and occurs during summertime, with the fruits ripening 2-4 months after flowering. This big tree can be grown from seed, and it prefers full sun and regular watering. Must be grown at temperatures above 50F (USDA Zone: 10-11), the Velvet Apple tree produces a dark red to purple colored fruit with velvet-like skin. These fruits are usually the size of an apple and have a mildly sweet and somewhat mealy flesh.
The Velvet Apple is highly esteemed in some areas, yet barely known in most parts of the world. Generally, the fruit is enjoyed either fresh, or used in salads and desserts. They are incredibly healthy, being loaded with dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, as well as other minerals. The trees can produce an abundance of fruits, depending on regional climate and soil conditions.
In cold regions, the Velvet Apple can also be grown in large pots, as long as they are given a warm spot and plenty of rich, well-draining soil. They need to be watered regularly, though not excessively, and be protected from frost and extreme weather conditions. Pruning is necessary to determine the shape and regional size of the tree, as well as to make sure flowering and fruiting are optimal.