Our recent findings have lead us to develop a protocol which enables the storage of Maya Nut (Brosimum alicastrum) seed for several months. As part of this we asked Wolfgang Stuppy from the Millennium Seed Bank to have a look at the anatomy of the fruit and seed to see whether we could get any insights into why it behaves as it does. As part of this work he came across some very interesting facts about the fruit and seed.
In Maya Nuts the fleshy fruit is actually modified stalks and nothing to do with the flower or ovary as would be the case for the vast majority of fruits. The seed itself is the product of a lone female flower which sits nestled in a cluster of fused stalks (see below) of aborted sister flowers. The cluster itself has had all of its branches shortened to nothing but a small bract which you can see as bright round discs on the surface.
The male flowers takes a similar form to the female flowers. Maya Nut trees are usually male or female. That is they produce only male or female flowers. Intriguingly individual trees will frequently change sex during the course of their development.