Stelechocarpus burahol - Kepel fruit


Stelechocarpus burahol fruit.jpg

Stelechocarpus burahol is closely related to such species as guanabana (soursop), Biriba (Rollinia deliciosa), Paw-Paw (Asimina triloba) and Ylang Ylang. Burahol (kepel fruit, or keppel apple) is a rare and endangered member of the Anonaceae family, originating in southeast Asia, more specifically Indonesia where, it is said, cultivation is unfortunately becoming less and less common. The tree has been introduced into Honduras and Florida. In Indonesia the fruit is the object of investigation for eventual use as a perfume.

The fruit is born on the trunk of the tree. They take a while to ripen. You know the fruit is ready to harvest when you peel away some skin with your nail and it is orange underneath (rather than green). I have found one mature, productive tree growing in Panama, where it seems to do very well. Despite this it is by no means commonly grown. Whenever I have the opportunity, I collect and propagate seed.

The tree grows up to 20 meters tall, with a straight trunk, brilliant foliage, spectacular bright pink leaves that flush out all at once over the entire tree.

Pinkish cream colored flowers bloom in abundance directly out of the truck and develop into fruits the size of a small orange. The fruit has a brown, leathery skin and contains numerous, l0ng, oval seeds in a creamy, light orange flesh.


Stelechocarpus burahol new leaf.jpg

Kepel fruit is edible and of a very agreeable flavor, aromatic, with undertones of coconut. It is said that the consumption of this fruit will perfume ones excretions (such as urine or sweat) with the smell of violets.

The Kepel tree is considered to be one of the most beautiful of all tropical ornamental/fruit trees.


Kepel fruit grows in a hot, humid climate and can be planted at sea level, up to 300 m. It is propagated from seed, which typically germinate quickly, but can take up to 12 months to develop the seedling shoot. The tree will begin to bear fruit in around eight years and produces year round.

I am curious if there has been any success grafting this species? Any comments to that effect would be greatly appreciated.

Rollinia delisiosa - Biriba

Unripe Biriba fruit.

Unripe Biriba fruit.



Biriba can be found growing in the wild in the islands of the Caribbean and in northern South America, now more commonly found in cultivation. It is most widely cultivated in the Brazilian state of Para.

Two small ripe fruit (photo above). Below, immature fruit on tree.

Two small ripe fruit (photo above). Below, immature fruit on tree.


The fruit is consumed raw. It’s sweet pulp has a very agreeable flavor; a somewhat mucilaginous, custard-like texture. Many Brazilians consider the Biriba to be the best tasting fruit of the Anonaceae family. I would consider that possibility myself. It is eaten fresh, out of hand, or in smoothies, sorbets and ice creams.

Reportedly, the seeds of Biriba can/are used for their insecticidal properties. Macerated seeds, soaked in water and strained, might hold potential for a good organic foliar insecticide and fungicide.


Biriba is a medium size tree from the hot, humid tropics and grows best in areas with more than 1,250 mm of annual rainfall. The tree and fruit develop best in clay soils, deep, well drained and rich in organic matter.

The seedling Biriba tree begins to produce fruit around the third year of growth reaching maximum production in the eighth year. A single tree can produce around eighty fruits a year weighing between .4 and 1 kilo. Here in Panama it is one of the most productive fruit trees I have seen, however it is also very uncommon. Virtually unknown. I cannot recall when I have seen it in this area of Central America outside of private botanical collections.

Rollinia delisiosa ripe fruit.jpg

When collecting seed for propagation, collect only the largest seeds from the largest fruits harvested from the most healthy and disease resistant trees.

Don’t eat seeds from Biriba or any other Anonaceous seeds, they may poison and possibly kill you.

Annona muricata - Guanabana, Soursop

Guanabana fruit on a three year old tree.

Guanabana fruit on a three year old tree.

Guanabana is a relatively  small, fast growing, evergreen tree, originally from tropical America. Today it is cultivated in tropical countries all around the world. The tree has a dense crown full of dark green, laurel-like leaves which have spicy sort of aroma when crushed. The tree has a high tolerance of alkaline soils and drought and is easily propagated from seed. A seedling will begin to produce fruit steadily within three years after planting.

The blooms are typical of the Annonaceae family with three fleshy, triangular petals that abort once the flower is pollinated. Flowers have an unpleasant odor that attracts flies and other insects. The fruits vary in shape and size, but are generally always longer than they are wide, and are covered with protuberances, soft, green prickles about ¼ an inch long and curved, they can grown up to eight pounds, probably more, and have a very fragrant and delicate, thin, white, fleshy, edible pulp embedded with hard black oval seeds.

Annona muricata.jpg

The Guanabana is eaten raw, in juices, ice creams and blended drinks. It is also used to flavor sweets and jellies. Various medicinal properties are attributed to the fruit, the leaf and the bark. The fruit pulp is rich in vitamins B and C, and in phosphorous, and contains up to 12% sugar. This is a species adapted to hot areas and cannot be grown successfully above 1,000 meters. The tree requires protection from winds and prefers acidic soils, deep and rich in organic matter, although it can adapt to all kinds of soils as long as they provide good drainage.

In South East Asia the leaves are known for their sleep inducing properties, a tea is brewed with them or they are simply placed under the pillow. The fruit pulp is used to treat fever, diarrhoea and scurvy. Green fruit and seeds of most Annona species are known for their insecticidal properties.

Annona muricata cross section. 

Annona muricata cross section. 

Artabotrys hexapetalus - Ylang-Ylang vine

Artabotrys hexapetalus is a sprawling shrub / vine in the Annonaceae family originating in India. The plant grows like a sprawling shrub that will turn in to a vine if it is given a support structure. Although not apparent in the photos, the branches have hook-like protrusions (like Una de Gato, Unicaria). These aid the sprawling branches in climbing. 

Artabotrys hexapetalus leaf and fruit.

Artabotrys hexapetalus leaf and fruit.

Annona spraguei

Annona spraguei is endemic to Panama and endangered in the wild. I have collected seed from wild stands in Soberania National Park, outside of Panama City in Central America.

The fruit is about the size of a fist, with a sweet edible pulp and numerous seeds. The fruit looks like a smaller version of Biriba (Rollinia deliciosa) only smaller with thinner, longer protuberances.