An encyclopedia of edible fruits of the world.



AMBWADA_Spondias pinnata

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Spondias pinnata)

A young tree of ambwada

Synonym: Spondias mangifera; Spondias acuminate 

English name: Wild mango

Other names: Amra, jangli aam.

Ambwada is grows wild, mostly in forests, nearly all over India upto an elevation of 1500 metres above mean sea level.  It is also planted in gardens at some places. 

Fruits of ambwada


A deciduous tree, 10-15 m tall, with yellowish brown, smooth branches.

            Leaves are 30-40 cm long, compound with 5-11 opposite leaflets. Leaflets are stalked, ovate-oblong to elliptic-oblong, 7-12 cm long, 4-5 cm wide, papery. Leaf base is wedge- shaped to rounded, often oblique, margin toothed or entire, with a tapering tip.

           Flowers tiny, borne in panicles at the end of branches, 25-35 cm long; flowers are stalkless, white; sepals triangular, about 0.5 mm; petals ovate-oblong, about 2.5 × 1.5 mm, pointed.

Ambwada foliage

           Fruit ellipsoid to elliptic-ovoid, yellowish orange at maturity, 3.5-5 × 2.5-3.5 cm; inner part of endocarp is woody and grooved, outer part is fibrous; mature fruit is usually with 2 or 3 seeds


The fruits usually ripen in during October-November in North India.  These are eaten as a vegetable when green and as a fruit when ripe.  These are also used as a condiment and can be made into chutneys, stews, pickles and jams.   

Tiny flowers of ambwada

            The edible portion of the fruit gave on analysis the following values: moisture, 90.3; protein, 0.7;t, 3.0; fibre, 1.0; carbohydrates, 4.5 and mineral matter, 0.5%.  The vitamin C content was 21 mg per 100 g.

Medicinal uses:

Ambwada bark is astringent is reported to be astringent and refrigerant.  It is useful in dysentery and diarrhea and is also given to prevent vomiting.  A paste of it is used as an embrocation for both articular and muscular rheumatism.  A decoction of the bark is stated to be given in gonorrhea.  The root is considered to be useful in regulating menstruation.

Other uses:

The wood is employed in making tea cases, tea chests and for floats, canoes and or boats.  The wood is fairly good for unbleached wood pulp.

AMBARELLA_Spondias cytherea

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Spondias cytherea)

A young bearing tree of ambarella

Family: Anacardiaceae

 Other names: Otaheite apple

Ambarella is a fruit of South and South-East Asia. From there, it spread to other tropical parts of the world. It is a quite common tree in the home gardens in South East Asian countries.  The green as well as ripe fruits of amabarella are used in a variety of ways.  


A large, sometimes buttressed tree, 25-45 m tall, trunk 45-90cm in diameter; bark shallowly fissured, grayish to reddish-brown.  

            Leaves with 4-10 pairs of leaflets, rachis 11-20 cm long, petiole 9-15 cm; leaflets ovate-oblong to lanceolate, 5-15 cm x1.5-5 cm, chartaceous, unequal at base; margin entire, serrate or crenulate; apex acuminate.

            Inflorescences paniculate, terminal, usually appearing before the leaves, up to 35 cm long; flowers cream to white, pedicel 1-4 mm long; calyx lodes triangular, 0.5 mm long; petals ovate-oblong, about 2.5 cm x 1 cm.

An inflorescence of ambarella

            Fruit an ellipsoid or globose drupe, 4-10 cm x 3-8 cm, bright-orange; endocarp peculiar, with irregular spiny and fibrous protuberances.


There is a large variation and the fruit quality varies from tree to tree.  The fruit from the best tress is eaten raw.  Fruit from relatively less good types is stewed and used for jams, jellies and juice. Fruit can be stored for several months after it is boiled and then dried.

            The fruit has a leathery stone which is ridged and bears hard fibres that project into the flesh. When green the fruit is crisp and sub-acid; as the fruit ripens (on the tree or after harvest) to a yellow colour, the flesh softens, the flavour changes and the fibres become more noticeable.

Bearing in an ambarella tree

            Unripe fruit is much used in green salads and curries and for making pickles.

            Young steamed leaves are eaten as a vegetable. The fruit is fed to pigs and the leaves are eaten by cattle.

            100 g edible portion the fruit contains, water 60-85 g, protein 0.5-0.8 g, fat 0.3-1.8 g, sucrose 8-10.5 g, fibre 0.85-3.6 g. Ambarella is a good source of vitamin C and iron. Unripe it contains about 10% pectin.

Ambarella fruits and seed

            The wood is light-brown and buoyant, useless as timber, sometimes used for canoes. There are diverse medicinal uses of fruit, leaves and bark in different parts of the world, the treatment of wounds, sores and burns being reported from several countries.


Ambarella is a prolific bearer.  The tree grows and start bearing quickly.  Even the seedlings start bearing fruits within 4 years of planting. The fruiting is almost all the year round under humid tropic conditions.

            Ambarella can be grown in the warm subtropics as well as the tropics.  It is slightly less hardy than the mango. The trees require much light; shaded trees produce little or no fruit. Sheltered locations are advised, as the brittle branches break easily.

            The trees are drought-tolerant; under stress they may briefly lose their leaves. Ambarella grows on limestone soils as well as on acid sands, but the soil should be well drained.

Ambarella is often propagated from seed, which starts to germinate within one month. However, clonal propagation of superior trees is recommended. and not difficult:.  This can be done by cuttings, air layering and even grafting. 

            For commercial plantings a spacing of 7.5 m to 12 m is recommended. Trees are prolific and respond to care (water, nutrients) but there is no information on growing techniques or yield levels.

HOG PLUM_Spondias purpurea

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Spondias purpurea)

A tree of hog plum

Family: Anacardiaceae

Synonyms: Spondias cirouella, Spondias crispula.

Other names: Purple mombin, Spanish plum, red mombin, Jamaica plum, Chile plum,

Red mombin is a native of tropical America.  It has spread and naturalized throughout the tropics all over the world.  It is commonly cultivated for its fruit.  The fruits are sold mostly along the roads and streets as well as in the native markets.

Fruit bearing in hog plum

            Red mombin was t carried by the Spanish explorers to the Philippines, where it has been widely adopted. The tree is naturalized throughout much of Nigeria and occasionally cultivated for its fruit..  In the United States, some people have planted in Florida as a novel fruit.


A deciduous shrub or small low branched spreading treetree in lowlands, or a spreading, thick-trunked tree reaching 7.5-15 m; branches thickish and brittle.

Flowers of hog plum

            Leaves alternate, compound, bright-red or purple when young; 12-25 cm long when mature; leaflets 5 to 19,  nearly sessile, obovate to lanceolate or oblong-elliptic,leaflets 2-4 cm long; oblique toward the base and faintly toothed toward the apex.

            Flowers  tiny, 4- to 5-petalled,  male, female and bisexual, red or purple and borne in short, hairy panicles along the branches, appearing before foliage.

Hog plum leaf

            Fruits looking somewhat like plums, borne singly or in groups of 2 or 3, may be purple, dark- or bright-red, orange, yellow, or red-and-yellow; varying from 2.5-5 cm in length and may be oblong, oval, obovoid or pear-shaped, with small indentations and often a knob at the apex; skin glossy and firm; flesh aromatic, yellow, fibrous, very juicy, with a rich, plum-like, subacid to acid flavor, sometimes a trifle turpentiney; adhereing to the rough, fibrous, hard, oblong, knobby, thick, pale, 1.25-2 cm long stone.

            Seeds small, seeds 5-7, contained in stone.


Fruits are consumed fresh. These have a flavour resembling that of plums.  The fruits are nutritious having a high calorific value of 74 kcal/100 g pulp because of the high carbohydrate content.

Fruits of hog plum

            The seeds have a thick gum coating and are commonly used in pork meats and chilli stews. This gum has good solubility in water and on hydrolysis yields polysaccharides. Aspartic acid and valine are its major amino acid constituents.

            Shoots leaves and seeds are also used as feed for pigs and this feed  is reported to have a fattening

            The wood is used for fuel. 

            This plant also has a number of medicinal uses for this tree are reported; for swollen glands and trauma the leaf juice is taken orally, for headaches the crushed leaves are applied as a head bath, the fruit is consumed in large amounts to clear effects of constipation, other indications treated using preparations from this plant are dysentery and diarrhoea. Tree parts also used in preparation of a herbal remedy for sore throat. The leaves of this tree exhibit anti-bacterial properties.


Red mombin is mostly propagated by seed.  However, its plants can also be raised from cuttings.

            The large tree has a light crown.  It can therefore also be planted with other tree species.   The plant enjoys very humid soils.

            The seedlings are delicate, and suffer high mortality. Flooding is tolerated better by some trees than others.

            Increasing P and K fertilization would improve yield and fruit quality. Tree defoliation affects the mean number and weight of fruits per tree. Lopping can be done to manage tree growth; however severe defoliation may result in virtual failure or reduced seed production in the year of defoliation.

Pests and diseases

The mite Brevipalpus salasi produces an irregular yellowing of the leaves and a slight scaly appearance to fruits of this plant. Parasitizing fruit flies (Anastrepha spp.) dwell on this plant.

Future prospects:

Cultivation of this fruit should be extended as the fruits can be processed a number of value added products like jam, jelly, juice and beverages, vinegar, vine etc.

NDONGE_Trichoscypha acuminata

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Trichoscypha acuminata)

A tree of ndonge

Family: Anacardiaceae

Synonyms: Sorindeia mannii, Trichoscypha braunii

Other names: Gabon grape

Ndonge is a fruit from West tropical Africa.  It is found in Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, DR Congo and Northern Angola. This tree grows in rainforests upto an altitude of 800 m.

            Gabon grape, which is otherwise a tasty fruit, is virtually unknown outside Africa.


An unbranched or poorly branched tree up to 20 m tall and 45 cm dbh.

Leaves usually crowded at the top of the stem or branches, up to 1.5 m long; leaflets 7-17, oblong-elliptic, sometimes lanceolate, usually glabrous beneath or nearly so.

Foliage of ndonge

Inflorescence borne on the lower part (≤ 4 m) of the stem, the male inflorescence up to 30 cm long, the female one usually shorter; bracts of the inflorescence 1.5-3.5 × 1-2 cm, deciduous; flowers pink to wine-red.

Fruits subellipsoid, up to 6 × 3.5 cm, puberulous to shortly velutinous, (partly) glabrescent, dark red at maturity, edible.

Seed 1.


Ndonge fruits are very sweet and juicy.   These are eaten fresh and also made into drinks after mixing with milk.  These are believed to be highly nutritive and are therefore prescribed to persons recovering after illness. These are considered to be especially beneficial to people suffering from anaemia.

Ndonge fruits on tree


Ndonge trees grow only wild and have not been brought under cultivation yet.

 Ripe fruits of ndonge

BUAH PEDDA_Sonneratia caseolaris

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Sonneratia caseolaris)

 A tree of buah pedda

Family: Sonneratiaceae

Other names: Berembang, Mangove apple

Buah pedda is a fruit from the tropics.  It it can be seen growing everywhere from East Africa to Australia.  This fruit has not been introduced much in Tropical America.  It bears persimmon like fruits with attached sepals.  The tree grows mostly in brackish water near the banks of tidal rivers.

 A fruit of buah pedda


An evergreen tree 5–15(–20) m high without buttresses or stilt roots, with rather open spreading crown, glabrous throughout; pneumatophores 50–90 cm high, to 7 cm in diameter; bark gray, coarsely flaky.

Leaves opposite, without stipules, nearly sessile, elliptical, oblong or ovate, 5–13 cm long, 2–5 cm wide, with broad or tapering base and blunt or rounded tip, entire, with 8–12 widely spreading fine side veins on each side, leathery.

 Buah pedda flower

Flowers 1–3 at end of drooping twigs malodorous, nocturnal. Hypanthium with 6–8 calyx lobes; petals 6–8, 2–3.5 cm long, 1.5–3.5 mm wide, dark or blood-red, stamens numerous, with threadlike filaments 2.5–3.5 cm long, pistil with 16–21-celled ovary with many ovules; style long, stout.

Fruit large (4 cm) green, leathery berries with a star-shaped base

Seeds 100-150, tiny, white, flattened and buoyant, edible.


The fruits are eaten raw.  When fully ripe, these taste like cheese.  The fruits are also cooked.  The fruits are rich in pectin.  A clear jelly can be made from them. Young fruits are used to flavour curries.

 Ripe fruit of buah pedda

            Buah pedda fruits have many medicinal uses.   Fermented fruit juice is said to be useful in arresting haemorrhage. The wall of an old fruit is given as a vermifuge. The juice of half-ripe fruit is used to treat coughs. The juice of the flowers enters into a compound for treating blood in the urine.


The fruits are collected from wild growing trees only and these are not reported to be cultivated anywhere.

URAVA_Sonneratia alba

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Sonneratia alba)

A tree of urava

Family: Sonneratiaceae

Other names: Mangrove apple, perepat.

Urava is a quite widespread tree.  It is found growing in, mostly in mangoves,from East Africa through the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, northern Australia, Borneo and Pacific Islands.

Urava fruits

In India, grows in the mangrove swamps of Mahanadi delta in the Indian state of Orissa.


A small to moderate sized tree, sometimes upto 24 m in height and 1.8 m in girth, but usually much smaller; bark grey to reddishbrown, usually fissured.

            Leaves broadly ovate, rounded, leathery, opposite, upper and underside of leaf similar.

            Flowers in terminal or axillary cymes, white, pom-pom-like,open only for one night, scented.

A flower of urava

            Fruit a globose leathery berry, upto 6 cm wide, green, with a start shaped base.

  Seeds 100-150, tiny, seeds that are white, flattened and buoyant.


The fruits are eaten.  These taste somewhat like quince.  The fruits are also cooked and used like vegetable in India.

            The leaves are also cooked and used as a vegetable.

Cut fruits of urava

            The heavy timber is resistant to shipworm and pests and is used for building boats, piling and posts for bridges and houses. However, the wood corrodes metal, probably because of the timber’s high mineral content. The pneumatophores are made into floats for fishing nets.


Urava tree is recommended for planting in mangroves. This plant is quite tolerant to salts.

            Urava trees are not cultivated.  Trees are, however, planted in botanical and other gardens for demonstration only. 

COCONILLA_Solanum stramonifolium

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Solanum stramonifolium)

A plant of coconilla

Family: Solanaceae

Synonyms: Solanum torvum

Other names:  Bolo maka, burra burra

Coconilla seems to have been originated somewhere in the West Indies.  It has now widely naturalized to South and South East Asia.  It is grown as a door yard plant in West Indies.

Coconilla fruits


A perennial shrub, 120-170 cm or more tall; stem and branches sparsely prickly, stellate tomentose.

Leaves 9-13 x 5-10.5 cm, ovate-sinuate, stellately pubescent tomentose.  

Flowers pale white, in compact paniculate cymes. Peduncles stout, 10-40 mm long. Calyx pubescent.

A flower of coconilla

Berry globose, 8-12 mm broad, first green but later yellow.

Seeds 2 mm broad.


Plant is always loaded with edible, round berry-like fruits which are initially green but turn yellow and finally orange at ripening.  These grow in clusters on the plants.  The fruits contain a juicy pulp containing numerous small seeds.

The fruits are used for spleenic trouble.  In Suriname, the fruits and leaves are used to stimulate the urine discharge.


Coconilla is propagated by seed.  The seeds are first sown in nursery beds and then planted in the field.

            This fruit should be planted on sunny locations as it does nor perform well under even under partial shade.  The plant loves moist soils but is very sensitive to frost.  I should therefore be planted in frost free locations only.

            There are two varieties on of which has thorn less leaves and thus relatively easier to handle.

WONDERBERRY_Solanum retoflexum

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Solanum retoflexum)

A shrub of wonderberry

Family: Solanaceae

Synonyms: Solanum x burbankii

Other names: Garden huckle berry, sunberry

Wonderberry, an annual herb, is believed to be a native of South Africa.  From there it spread to Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  With time, it crossed Africa and has not reached Arabia and Australia. In late nineteenth century it also reached Unites States.

               It is a fruit of the size of blueberry.  It tastes sweet and has a characteristic unusual flavor.

Wonderberry fruits

               There is one more wonder berry too.  It is grown in USA and had to have been originated as a result of hybridization between Solanum villosum and Solanum guineense carried out by Luther Burbank in early 1900s.


A spreading, rounded annual herb, bright green, pubescent with simple hairs; prickles absent.  

Leaves of wonderberry

Leaves ovate to ovate-lanceolate, the lamina 4–8 cm long, 2–5 cm wide, slightly discolorous, lobed; petiole to 4 cm long. 

Wonderberry flowers

Inflorescence short, 3–6–flowered; peduncle to 13 mm long; pedicels 4–6 mm long. Calyx 2–5.5 mm long; lobes triangular, 1–1.5 mm long. Corolla stellate, 12–14 mm diam., white. Anthers 1.5 mm long.  

Berry globular, 6–9 mm diam., occasionally smaller, dull black.

Seeds 1.8–2 mm long, light brownish-yellow or purple.


Ripe fruits of wonder berry can be eaten out of hand but they do not taste so good.  So these fruits are usually eaten cooked. The berries are, however, quite delicious in pies, syrups when they are cooked and combined with sugar or other sweetener.

            Wonder berry fruits should be eaten only after they are ripe.  The raw fruits are said to be poisonous and may create health problems some time.


Wonder berry is grown like tomato.  The seeds are sown in seed beds.  These are quick to germinate and become ready for transplanting in about three weeks when these should be transplanted to the main field. 

            It is a short duration crop is over in 4-5 months.

NARANJILLA_Solanum quitoense

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Solanum quitoense)

A plant of naranjilla

Family: Solanaceae

Synonyms: Solanum angulatum

Other names: Lulun, nuqui

Naranjilla is a fruit from Central America.  Though it grows in other central American countries e.g. Ecuador and Colombia, but is most abundant in Peru.  Botanists are of the view that naranjilla most likely originated in Peru.

            The Spanish word naranjilla means little orange.  As this fruit is round and bright


A spreading, herbaceous shrub upto 2.5 m high; stems thick becoming somewhat woody with age; spiny in the wild, spineless in cultivated plants.

Leaves alternate, are oblong-ovate, upto 60 cm long 45 cm wide, soft and woolly, having few or many spines on petioles, midrib and lateral veins, above and below, or the leaves may be completely spineless; young leaves, young stems and petioles coated with richly purple stellate hairs.

Leaves of a naranjilla plant

Flowers fragrant, borne in short axillary clusters of as many as 10, the fragrant flowers, about 1 1/5 in (3 cm) wide, have 5 petals, white on the upper surface, purple hairy beneath, and 5 prominent yellow stamens.

 Fruit crowned with the persistent, 5-pointed calyx, is round or round-ovate, to 2 1/2 in (6.25 cm) across and contains 4 compartments separated by membranous partitions and filled with translucent green or yellowish, very juicy, slightly acid to acid, pulp of delicious flavor which has been likened to pineapple-and-lemon; a brown, hairy coat protects the fruit until it is fully ripe, when the hairs can be easily rubbed off, showing the bright-orange, smooth, leathery, fairly thick peel..

Flowers of naranjilla

There are numerous pale-buff Seeds pale-buff,  thin, flat, hard, 3 mm wide, numerous.


Though naranjilla is eaten of hand in large quantities, yet its most popular use is juice.  Another popular way of using naranjilla fruits is to cut the fruits into two and squeezing the flesh alongwith seeds.  This flesh is then added to ice cream mix, made into sauce for native dishes, or utilized in making pie and various other cooked desserts. The empty shells are then stuffed with a mixture and banana and other ingredients and then baked.

A cut fruit of naranjilla

A beverage from naranjilla juice by mixing it with corn syrup, sugar, water etc is prepared commercially on a small scale in Columbia.


Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*
Moisture85.8-92.5 g
Protein0.107-0.6 g
Carbohydrates5.7 g
Fiber0.3-4.6 g
Calcium5.9-12.4 mg
Phosphorus12.0-43.7 mg
Iron0.34-0.64 mg
Carotene0.071-0.232 mg (600 I.U.)
Thiamine0.04-0.094 mg
Riboflavin0.03-0.047 mg
Niacin1.19-1.76 mg
Ascorbic Acid31.2-83.7 mg

*According to analyses of fresh fruits in Colombia and Ecuador.


Naranjilla is basically a fruit of warm and humid climate.  It grows best in soils rich in organic matter.

Naranjilla fruit being packed for market

            New plants are mostly raised from feed.  These can, however, also be raised by cuttings and air layering.

            In Florida, narinjilla is vegetatively  propagated by cleft grafting on Solanum macranthum seedlings.

BUFFALOBERRY_Shepherdia canadensis

By parmarch28/12/20180

(Shepherdia canadensis)

A bush of buffaloberry

Family: Eleagnaceae

Synonyms: Elaeagnus Canadensis, Hippophe canadensis, Lepagyrea canadensis.

Common names: Canadian buffaloberry, Rabitberry, Russet buffaloberry, soiapberry.

Buffaloberry can be seen growing wild on wooded banks and hillsides from Newfoundland and New York to Alaska and Oregon and southward along the Rocky Mountains to New Mexico.  This plant is a native of North America.  It is a very cold hardy plant.

Buffaloberry fruits


Buffaloberry is a deciduous woody shrub, growing upto 2.5 m tall, leaves shiny and from above but white from below, attractive; dioecious; flowers bright yellow.

Foliage of buffaloberry

            Fruits small, 5 mm wide, tart initially but become pleasant at the end of season; flavour pleasant.  The fruits can also be dried and consumes like currants. 

            Buffaloberry flowers in April.  The fruits ripen from July to September.


Buffaloberry can grow in all type of soils which are free from water logging.  This plant can even grow in poor soils.  Established plants are drought resistant.  Plants can accumulate mercury when they are grown in polluted soils.

Buffaloberry flowers

            The plant of Buffaloberry can tolerate high humidity and can grow on sea sides

            Buffaloberry is propagated from seed.  Seeds should not be allowed to dry and must be sown immediately in a cold frame.  Stored seeds, however, will require cold stratification for 10-12 weeks for good germination.  The plant can also be multiplied be multiplied from semi-hardwood cuttings taken in July.


The fruit was a favourite treat of the North American Indians.  They would beat it in an equal quantity of water until foam with a consistency of beaten eggs was formed. It was important that in this process the berries were not allowed to come into contact with anything greasy since this would prevent it becoming foamy. The foam would then be flavoured with a sweet food such as cooked quamash bulbs or other fruits and then served as a special treat in feasts etc.

The fruits taste bitter sweet and one does not enjoy it when taking for the first time but gradually start liking them.  A sweet preparation called “Indian ice cream” is prepared by adding sugar to the foam.

Medicinal Uses

Buffaloberry was commonly employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes, who used it in the treatment of several complaints.  A poultice of the bark, softened by hot water and mixed with pin cherry bark (Prunus pensylvanica), is used to make a plaster or bandage for wrapping broken limbs.  An infusion of the bark is used as a wash for sore eyes. The roots are antihaemorrhagic and cathartic. An infusion of the roots is used as an aid to childbirth and in the treatment of tuberculosis and the coughing up of blood. A decoction of the stems has been used as a stomach tonic and also in the treatment of constipation, high blood pressure and venereal disease.  A decoction of the stems and leaves has been used as a wash in the treatment of sores, cuts and swellings.  A decoction of the plant has been used externally for treating for aching limbs, arthritic joints, head and face sores.  The inner bark is reported to be a laxative and its infusion has recommended as a cure for constipation. The berries are prescribed for lowering down the high blood pressure. The fruit juice has been drunk in the treatment of digestive disorders. It has also been applied externally in the treatment of acne and boils.

A hair wash is also prepared from buffaloberry shoots.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 56