USES.—The chico is one of the popular fruits of the Philippines, much appreciated by Europeans as well as the natives. When not entirely ripe it yields a resinous juice that sticks to the lips and affords a disagreeable taste; but when once thoroughly ripe it has a slightly vinous, sweetish taste and is easily digested. Therapeutically its seeds are used as a diuretic, but large doses should be avoided as they contain a small proportion of hydrocyanic acid. The proper dose is 5–6 mashed seeds in sweetened water. They contain, in addition to the above, a fatty substance of the consistency of butter.
The trunk bark is tonic and febrifuge; Mr. Bernon4 has isolated from it a crystalline alkaloid, sapotine, soluble in ether, chloroform or alcohol, but not in water; a large per cent. of sapotanic acid and two resins.
The trunk exudes, when incised, a milky resin, closely resembling guttapercha and possibly susceptible of the same uses.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—Trees, about 11° high, with leaves lanceolate, keeled, entire, glabrous. Flowers pure white, solitary or by twos, terminal, very long peduncles. Calyx, 6 sepals, 3 within the others, inferior persistent. Corolla jugshaped, the border divided into 12 parts, the 6 smaller ones alternating and within the others. Stamens 6, inserted near the border of the inner petals and opposite the outer circle. Filaments very short. Style long. Stigma obtuse, fruit globose, resembling a small pear, russet brown, crowned with the hardened style, more than 10 compartments, each containing a seed. Seed oval, flattened, joined to a central fleshy axis.
HABITAT.—Common all over the Archipelago. Blooms in April.
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