An encyclopedia of 556 edible fruits of the world.



DWARF BLUEBERRY_Vaccinium caespitosum

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Vaccinium caespitosum)

A plant of dwarf blueberry in full bloom

Family:  Ericaceae

Dwarf blueberry is another of the several blueberries found growing in North America.  It is found across Canada and in the northern half of the United States.

            It is a low-lying plant rarely reaching half a meter in height forming a carpetlike stand in rocky mountainous meadows. The foliage is reddish-green to green and the leaves are shiny on dorsal as well as the ventral sides.  The leaves are also finely serrated.

A fruit of dwarf blueberry

            Flowers are tiny urn-shaped light pink cups less than a centimeter wide.

            The fruits are edible and can be used like those of other blueberries.

ALASKA BLUEBERRY_Vaccinium alaskaense

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Vaccinium alaskaense)

A bush of Alaska blue berry late in the season

Family: Ericaceae

Alaska blueberry is ommon in the Cascades and coastal  mountains from Alaska to northwest Oregon.  It grows all of Alaska except portions of the northern coastal plain and western Aleutians.  It is the most wide spread of wild growing blueberries in Alaska.


Perennial shrub, taller than the rest of blueberry shrubs growing in Alaska. 

Developing fruits of Alaska blueberry

            Leaves relatively larger.

            Flower stalks straight and longer.

            Fruits a berry, blue, edible and sweet.


The fruits are eaten fresh.  These are also made into jams and jellies and added into cakes and pies.  The fruits can also be sundried for use later.


Plants are perennial, producing new growth each spring. Natural regeneration is mostly by adventitious rooting of above-ground stems where they contact the soil. Greenhouse propagation is mainly by seeds which require a cold moist stratification period to germinate. Propagation by stem cuttings has been successful using current year’s growth with bottom heat and 0.3% IBA powder.

SUGAR PLUM_Upaca kirkiana

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Upaca kirkiana)

 Sugar plum tree

Family: Phyllanthaceae

Local names:  Mushuku, umhobohobo.

Sugar plum is a fruit from Africa.  It can be commonly seen growing wild upto an elevation of 1850 m in Tropical Africa from Burundi south to Zimbabwe and Mozambique It is one of those wild growing fruits, which have been selected for domestication.


Small evergreen, much branched tree upto 12 m high.

Leaves alternate, clustered at the end of branches, large 15 cm long, ovate to obovate, dark green, leathery; margin entire, rounded, often distinctly curled from midrib in the shape of a saddle. 

Leaves of a sugar plum tree

Flowers inconspicuous, yellowish, unisexual often but not always, sexes on different trees. 

Sugar plum flowers

Fruits spherical, fleshy, rusty yellow or orange yellow, 2.5 cm in diameter.


The fruits are edible.  These are collected by local people in large quantities during the season.  The fruits are used in various ways.

Sugar plum fruits

            In local medicine, a decoction of sugar plum roots is a remedy for menstrual complaints, syphilis, indigestion, dysentery, infertility and bilharharzia.  It is also said to be a remedy for tuberculosis.


New trees of sugar plum are being planted under various afforestation and tree planting programmes in Zimbabwe.

            New plants are raised from seed only.

AFRICAN BREADFRUIT_Treculia africana

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Treculia africana)

A tree of African breadnut

Family: Moraceae

Other names: Wild jackfruit, African-boxwood

African breadfruit, as indicated by its name is a native of Africa.  It grows all over the tropical Africa in counties like Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia upto an altitude of 1500 m.

It is fruit tree of riverine forests.  This tree is usually found near streams or in swampy areas in forests


An evergreen tree 10-30 (max. 50) with a dense spreading crown and fluted trunk;  bark grey, smooth and thick; when cut, exuding white latex which later turns rusty-red.

Leaves and fruits of African breadnut

Leaves simple, alternate, very large, about 30 (max. 50) x 14 (max. 20) cm, dark green, smooth above, tough, paler below with some hairs on the 10-18 pairs of clear veins; tip pointed; a short stalk to 1.5 cm; young leaves red or yellow.

Flower head brown-yellow, rounded, 2.5-10 cm across, male and female usually separate, growing beside leaves (axillary) or on older wood down the trunk.

Fruit compound, rounded, very large, on the trunk or main branches, containing many orange seeds, about 1 cm, buried in spongy pulp of the fruit; outer surface covered with rough pointed outgrowths, upto 40 cm in diameter, 8-14 kg.


Young fruits are cooked as a vegetable. 

The seeds from mature fruits are extracted after macerating the fruit in water and then ground to a meal, known as breadfruit flour.  This flour is used to produce a variety of baked foods.

A non-alcoholic beverage, almond milk, is prepared from powdered seeds, which is recommended as a breakfast drink in Nigeria.

A man with a fruit of African breadfruit

Dried seeds are fried or roasted and eaten as a snack.  An edible oil can be extracted from them. The grains have an excellent polyvalent dietetic value; the biological value of its proteins exceeds even that of soybeans. The flour can be made into bread, pasta, table oil, margarine and baby food.

The fruit-head pulp and bran, which contain 9.4% and 5.7% protein, respectively, can be used in livestock feed.

Leaves are used for fodder in Tanzania.

The wood is used for timber, for making charcoal and also as fuel.


It is not very light demanding and will grow in a wide variety of soils and climatic conditions. It will thrive in most tropical and subtropical regions.

African breadnut seeds

            Propagation is by seed.  The seeds can even be planted in situ.  It can also be propagated through budding, cuttings and shield grafting. Cuttings of this fruit also root easily.  It is a fairly fast growing tree.

The budded trees come into bearing in 2-4 years.  Seedlings take much longer. Under strict tropical climate, the trees keep bearing through out the year.

MOCAMBO_Theobroma bicolor

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Theobroma bicolor)

 A plant of mocambo

Family: Sterculiaceae

Synonyms: Cacao bicolor

Other names: Peruvian cacao, tigr cocoa, motelo, patashte.

Mocambo is believed to have originated in Central America. It is widely cultivated in Mexico, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Venezuela etc.

A fruit of mocambo


An evergreen tree, 5-8 m tall when under cultivation but growing upto height of even 30 m when growing wild in forests. 

Leaves of a mocambo tree

            Leaves chartaceous, bicoloured, 15-35 cm long.

            Flowers n small dichasium on thin branches.

Mocambo flowers

            Fruits ellipsoid berries, 15-20 cm long and 10-13 cm wide, weight 0.5-3.0 kg, having a woody pericarp, with ten longitudinal segmnents, grey or greenish before maturity, yellow to yellowish brown when fully mature.

            Seeds 30-50 per fruit, wrapped in a succulent fibrous cream to yellow coloured pulp.


The pulp (aril) has a sort of uncommon odour.  It is mildly sweet.  The taste resembles somewhat that of Jackfruit.  Pulp is eaten fresh.  It is also used to prepare juice or ice creams. Pulp is also used in beverages and desserts. 

A ripe fruit of mocambo

            The seeds are used in soups, or fried as a snack. The seeds are consumed roasted, boiled, in pastry, and to prepare a poor quality chocolate. The beans are sometimes used to adulterate true cacao produce.

            The empty pods are used as containers and for starting plants.


Mocambo is a fast growing tree and can be very productive.  It has a small canopy, and can be intercropped with many tree species. It prefers alluvial soils and tolerates minimal flooding. Some seem adapted to deep and prolonged flooding. Mocambo also does well in upland environments.

            It is propagated by seed.

            Mocambo coppices fairly well, and can produce fruit at times when other fruits are scarce.

BHERSERI_Tetrastigma lanceolarium

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Tetrastigma lanceolarium)

Bherseri fruits

Family:  Vitaceae

Synonyms: Vitis lanceolaria

Other names:  Tundror-rik

Bherseri is a plant of Indian origin.  It grows all over India, including northern region right from Kumaon to Sikkim and Bengal.  It is also found growing wild in peninsular India. 


A large evergreen climber ascending upto 18 m.

Flowers of bherseri

            Leaves 3 to 5-foliate, somewhat fleshy leaflets, petioles 2.5 to 6 cm long, leaflets stalked 7-13 by 3-5 cm, oblong lanceolate, irregularly cserrate, glabrous.

             Flowers yellowish or green, 4-merous, dioecious, axillary; male paniculate, longer than the petiole; female cymes denser, corymbose, shorter than the petiole; calyx funnel-shaped, truncate at the apex; petals ovate-ovate, obtuse hooted at the apex, stigma large, four lobed.

            Fruit a berry, 1.5 cm wide, globose, 2-4 seeded, cream coloured at ripening, edible.

            Seeds ellipsoid, obtusely angular on the face, rounded and with a single deep groove on the back.


The fruit is eaten fresh.  It is also cooked with fish.

Bherseri leaves

            The leaves have medicinal value.  A poultice of leaves is applied boils and cures them.  The juice of bherseri plant is used in cough.


Though the fruits are eaten by local people and there are other uses of this plant besides edible fruits, but still it is not cultivated.  However, it should be possible to propagate it by seed as well as from cuttings.

KAKADU PLUM_Terminalia ferdinandiana

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Terminalia ferdinandiana)

A tree of kakadu plum

Family: Combretaceae

Other names: Gubinge, billygoat, billy goat plum, murunga.

Kakadu plum is a small deciduous tree found growing wild extensively through out the subtropical woodlands of the Northern Territory and the Western Australia.  It bears abundant crop of small plum-like fruits but which are not real botanical drupes.

            This fruit shot to prominence when it was discovered to have a very high content of vitamin C (2907 mg per 100 g according to the analysis carried out by the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand).  This is less only to camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) of Brazil. 

Fruits of kakadu plum

            There is great demand for kakadu plum fruits now in Australia from food processing and pharmaceutical companies.


A slender, small to medium sized deciduous tree with creamy-grey flaky bark.

            Leaves light green, very large and oval-shaped, up to 25cm long and 15cm wide, and are spirally arranged and crowded towards the ends of the branches.

            Flowers small, creamy-white, perfumed, and borne along spikes in the leaf axils towards the ends of the branches.

            Fruits oval, 3 cm long and 1 cm wide, shaped like almonds and containing a large seed; yellow when ripe, soft and easy to harvest.


Fruit are eaten raw but they can have a drying-out effect in the mouth.

            The greatest use of kakadu plum fruits at present is for gourmet jams and sauces.  There is a great demand for these products from restaurants, airlines and hotels. There also seem to be demand for other products like juices, ice-cream, cosmetics, flavours and pharmaceuticals. An Australian cosmetics company has already released a line using kakadu plum extract as a major component.

Kakadu plum seeds

Nutrient Value per 100 g edible portion:- Energy 89 KJ, moisture 76.2 g, nitrogen 0.13 g, protein 0.8 g, fat 0.5 G, ash 1.0 g,  available carbohydrate 0.0 g, total dietary fibre 7.1 g, calcium 62 mg, copper 0.900 mg, iron 2.4 mg,  magnesium, 40 mg, phosphorus 24 mg, potassium 261 mg, sodium 13 mg,  zinc 0.7, thiamin 0.05 mg,  riboflavin 0.04 mg,  niacin derived from tryptophan or protein 0.1 mg, niacin equivalents 0.1 mg,  vitamin C 2907 mg.

            The Australian aboriginal people pound the fruit and use it as an antiseptic and a soothing balm for aching limbs.


There seems to be great commercial potential for this wild growing fruit.  So this fruit should be brought under cultivation.  It should also be tried in other parts of the world besides Australia. The potential commercial market is hard to estimate but could be substantial.

ZORRO CASPI_Tapura amazonica

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Tapura amazonica)


A tree of zorro caspo

Family: Dichapetalaceae

Other names: Fox fruit, motecillo, pau de bicho.,

Zorro caspi is a native is wild growing fruit commonly occurring in the Amazonian Brazil, Peru and Bolivia.  It is believed to be a native of this part of the world only.  This fruit is hardly known in the outside world.


Tree to 30 m tall, usually much smaller, the young branches fulvoustomentose, becoming glabrous with age.

Leaves elliptic to obovate-oblong or oblong, thickly coriaceous, 3−25 × 3−9 cm, obtuse to shortly acuminate at apex, the acumen 0−10 mm long, rounded to cuneate and often slightly unequal at base, usually plane rarely slightly bullate above, sparse to dense-hirsutulous beneath; midrib impressed above, prominent and pubescent when young beneath; primary veins 8−22 pairs, arcuate, anastomosing near margins; petioles 6−16 mm long, tomentose, canaliculate. Stipules triangular, 2−4 mm long, pubescent, subpersistent. 

Leaves of zorro caspo

Flowers hermaphrodite, sessile or with short pedicels 0.25−2 mm long; borne in dense glomerules on upper portion of petioles; bracteoles 0.5−1 mm long, peristent,tomentose. Calyx 3.5−5.5 mm long, tomentose on exterior, the lobes unequal; corolla exceeding calyx lobes, with 2 larger bicucullate lobes and 3 smaller simple lobes, united at base into a very short tube, the tube glabrous on exterior, filled by a lanate mass of hair within. Fertile tamens 3, alternating with corolla lobes, and inserted at mouth of short corolla tube, 2 staminodes present. Ovary 3 locular with 2 ovules in each loculus, pilose on exterior. Style with a trifid apex, pubescent throughout.

Zorro caspo flowers

Fruit oblong-ellipsoid, to 3 cm long, unilocular or bilocular; epicarp shortly appressed velutinous pubescent; mesocarp 1−4 mm thick; endocarp thin, hard, bony, glabrous within.

Fruits of zorro caspo 

            Seed tan coloured, 1.8 cm long , 1 cm wide.


The fruits are edible, though they are seedy and does not have much pulp.  These are sweet and tasty and it is generally sucked while eating the fruit.


This fruit can be multiplied by seed which germinates in 3-4 weeks.  The seedlings can be planted in the field after 7-8 months.  These seedlings do not take many years to come into bearing and start bearing fruits after these are 1.5 metres tall.

TAPIRIRA_Tapirira guianensis

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Tapirira guianensis)

A tree of tapirira

Family: Anacardiaceae

Synonyms: Tapirira myriantha

Other names: Cedroí ,  jobo

Tapirira is a fruit from Central and South America.  It grows in forests in Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, the Guyanas, Venezuela; C. America – Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico.  It is found in a wide range of habitats. 

            The fruits are edible and eaten by local people.  Tapirira is planted as an agroforestry plant and not for its fruits.


A dioecious evergreen tree varying in height from 3 to 40 m;

Leaves clustered toward the branch-tips, with (1-)2-5(-7) pairs of leaflets, the rachis 5-35 cm long and minutely ferruginous-puberulent or glab- rous, the leaflets opposite, with petiolules 2-11 mm long (not including the petiolule of the terminal leaflet which is often longer); lamina of leaflets oblong or oblong- lanceolate to somewhat obovate or ovate, slightly oblique, acuminate or subacumi- nate apically (the acumen rounded or emarginate), rarely rounded or emarginate at the apex, basally cuneate to broadly obtuse and often somewhat assymetric, 5-20 cm long, 1.5-8 cm broad, glabrous or sparsely puberulent beneath (rarely above) along the main veins, membranous or slightly coriaceous, entire, paler beneath, often lustrous above, the secondary veins brochidodrome.

Tapirira leaves

Panicles axillary but arising from the distal nodes of a branch, densely-flowered, 8-37 cm long, the branches at least sparsely ferruginous-puberulent (the trichomes ascending or appressed).  

Flowers functionally male, pedicels 1-3 mm long, 0.2-0.5 mm broad (in flower), rather conspicuously hirtellous with ascending to appressed trichomes (rarely glabrate); calyx-segments deltoid to rotund-ovate, apically acute to rounded, sparsely appressed-hirtellous externally, 0.5-0.75 mm long; petals elliptic or oblong- elliptic to ovate-lanceolate or subovate, acute to obtuse or rounded, occasionally slightly erose-dentate apically, 1.5-2.5 mm long, ascending to spreading or reflexed, yellowish-white or greenish-white; stamens 10, 1.5-2.5 mm long, filaments rather slender, the anthers ovate, basally cordate or auriculate, 0.3-0.5 mm long; disc 10-crenulate occasionally tumid and subentire; ovary 1-1.5 mm long and oblong-ovoid to ovoid or slightly obovoid in functionally 9 flowers, rather sparsely puberulent, styles 5, free, stigma slightly enlarged disciform, 

Flowers of tapirira

Fruit a drupe, ovoid to oblong or obovoid, 0.5-1.5 cm long, often showing remnants of styles.

Seed pendulous from the locule apex or virtually so.


The small sized purple fruits are edible and are eaten by local people.

Tapirira fruits

            Besides fruits, tapirira has medicinal uses too.  The finely ground bark is ingested as a treatment for children’s thrush. A decoction of the bark is used as a fever bath, an infusion is used for washing ulcers.

            A tea made from the flowers is used by elderly persons experiencing painful urination.


Tapirira trees prefer a sunny location.  The young trees grow very fast and attain a heoght of 3 metres within 2 years.

A seed of tapirira

            New plants are raised from seed.  The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe and in a partially shaded position in a nursery seedbed. The seeds sprout in just 15-30 days and the germination is usually high.  The seedlings should be transferred into pots when these are 4-6 cl tall.  These can be planted in field after 4-5 months.

TAMARIND_Tamarindus indica

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Tamarindus indica)


A tree of tamarind

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is an import tree of semi-arid tropical conditions. Every part of the plant is used for different purposes. The fruit pulp sweetish/acidic in taste, is used for serving curries, chutneys, sauces and soups. Pulp is a carminative and laxative given as infusion in biliousness and febrile conditions. Because of its anti-scorbatic properties, pulp is used by sailers in place of lime or lemon juice.

Tamarind kernel powder (TKP) is used as a sizing material in textile and leather industry. The polysaccharide, jellose, in TKP forms jells with sugar concentrates and is an excellent substitute for fruit pectin. Seeds are used as a source of carbohydrates for paper and jute products. Seeds yield fatty oil which is used in paints and varnishes. 

 Tamarind fruits

Wood is used for making agricultural implements, tool handles, wheels, mallets and rice pounders. Tender leaves, flowers and young seedlings are eaten as a vegetable. In India, it is grown in Bihar, Orissa, parts of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. It extends northwards to the sub-Himalayan tract.


The tree is well-adapted to semi-arid tropical regions, but it can be grown in heavy rainfall areas too, if drainage is provided. It is grown in areas where the temperatures reach 46 C (maximum) and 0 C (minimum) and the average rainfall being 500-1,500 mm. The optimum elevation of tamarind cultivation is 1,000 m above mean sea-level.

 Tamarind leaves

            It is grown on gravelly to deep alluvial soils. It thrives best on deep loamy or alluvial soils. It can tolerate slightly saline and alkaline soils. This crop is also adaptable to poor soils.


There are only a few varieties of tamarind. Important varieties in India are:


A clonal selection from the gene bank, it is early variety yielding 263 kg pods/tree with a pulp content of 39 %. It can give 26 tonnes of pods/ha if transplanted at a spacing of 10 m x 10 m .

 Ripe fruits of tamarind


            This is another local type providing very long having sweet pulp.



Tamarind is propagated by seeds, grafts and buddlings. Seeds are sown in lines 20-25 cm apart. They germinate in a week. Seedling should be irrigated if necessary at regular intervals. About 3-4 months old seedlings are transplanted in the main field.

 Flowers of tamarind

            Seedlings can also be raised in polythene bags. But true-to-type plants cannot be produced by seed propagation. For true-to-type plant grafts and buddlings are used. Approach grafting is commonly followed in Tamil Nadu. Patch budding is also quite successful. Softwood grafting is successful in tamarind using 6-12 month old rootstocks.


            Planting is done during June-November. Pits of 1m x 1m x 1m size are dug at a spacing of 10m x 10m. Farmyard manure @ 15 kg/pit is incorporated with top soil before taking up planting. Regular watering should be given if necessary till the plants establish.


Regular irrigation should be given till the plats are established. Keep the field weed-free during initial stages


Seedling plants start yielding in 8-10 years, whereas grafts and buddlings in 4-5 years after planting. Harvesting is done during January-April in India.  The average yield is 26 tonnes of pods/ha.


 Dr. S. H. Jalikop
Division of Fruit Crops
Indian Institute of Horticultural Research
Bangalore 507089

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