clusia major – pitch apple, autograph tree

the pitch apple (clusia major) is also known as balm apple, fat park tree or, because people are writing messages into its glossy leaves, autograph tree. it is native to the tropical middle america and can get approx. 20 m/65 ft tall in its natural habitat. there is a cultivar with green-yellow variegated leaves available.


the pitch apple is suitable for sunny to light shaded locations. to avoid burned leaves, new bought plants should get some time to adapt full sun. especially if placed outside during summer. for showing its colorful fooliage the variegated cultivar shouldn’t be placed too dark.

a regular potting mix can be used. it should be kept moist but not wet and can dry before adding water next. wet legs can cause rotten roots.

during the spring and summer clusia major can be fed every two to four weeks and if placed at room temperature every four to six weeks in fall and winter. with a half diluted water soluble fertilizer.

it can be cultivated at room temperature throughout the year and needs a winter minimum of 15 °c/59 °c. if wintered at this temperature it needs less watering and must not be fed.

a medium humidity is welcome. spraying it over with water or giving a shower keeps its leaves free from dust.

clusia major pitch apple


clusia major can be propagated with cuttings.