This section is from the book "Manual Of Tropical And Subtropical Fruits", by Wilson Popenoe. Also available from Amazon: Manual Of Tropical And Subtropical Fruits.
The manzanilla of Guatemala and the tejocote of Mexico are fruits so similar in character that they may perhaps belong to one species; the former is considered at present to be Cratoegns stipulosa, Steud., and the latter .C mexicana, Moc. &
Sesse. It may be allowable to use the common name manzanilla (the diminutive of the Spanish manzana, hence little apple) for both, since it is better adapted to the English language than the Mexican tejocote (from the Nahuatl texocotl, meaning stone-plum). According to Gabriel Alcocer, Crataegus stipulosa is found in Mexico as well as in Guatemala.
The manzanilla closely resembles some of the northern haws in appearance, but it is a larger fruit than most of the latter. It occurs only in the highlands, at elevations of 3000 to 9000 feet. It withstands heavy frosts unharmed, and should be suitable for cultivation in subtropical regions with rather dry climates. It has done well in southern California, where it was introduced some years ago by F. Franceschi under the name Crataegus guatemalensis.
The plant is variable in habit, in some cases shrubby, in others becoming a small tree, with a short thick trunk. Commonly it is seen as an erect slender tree about 20 feet high. In spring it produces white flowers resembling those of the apple. In early fall, beginning about October, the yellow fruits ripen and remain abundant in the markets of Mexico and Guatemala until Christmas. They resemble small apples in appearance. The largest specimens are nearly 2 inches in diameter, but the average size is not over 1 inch. The flesh is mealy in texture, and not so juicy nor so sprightly in flavor as that of a good apple. The seeds, commonly three in number, are rather large.
The fruits, which are much used for decorative purposes, are eaten in the form of jelly and preserves. For stewing, they are first boiled with wood-ashes, by which means the skin is easily removed; they are then placed in hot sirup and boiled for a short time. The flavor of the cooked fruit suggests that of stewed apples.
The plant is simple of culture. It grows most commonly on heavy soil and does not require a large amount of water. Propagation is usually by seed, but it would be an easy matter to bud or graft superior varieties. Both in Mexico and in Guatemala the European pear is sometimes top-worked on the manzanilla by cleft-grafting.