Annonaceae, Rollinia deliciosa (mucosa), Biriba – Tropical S. America

Rollinia deliciosa, biriba

Here’s a photo of two immature Biriba fruit. When mature the fruit turns bright yellow.

Biriba can be found growing in the wild in the islands of the Caribbean and in northern South America. Although still relatively unknown, it becoming increasingly common in cultivation. It is most widely cultivated in the Brazilian state of Para.

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, although there the quality of the fruit can vary from tree to tree depending on where / how it is grown, etc. The fruit 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.

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

Biriba is a species form 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.

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


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One thought on “Annonaceae, Rollinia deliciosa (mucosa), Biriba – Tropical S. America

  1. I have been talking about Rollinia with a group of Facebook friends on a page that I follow avidly. They call them the “Lemon Meringue” fruit and grow them up in Queensland and down as far as sub tropical New South Wales. I would love to have a go at growing them. I have 5 Cherimoya that germinated from seed and that are growing strong in the glasshouse at the moment. My dream is to have such a wonderful environment here that sub and even tropical fruit will grow within the food forest realms. I have 5 moringa’s that I am watching most intently and am waiting to see if any of my custard apple seeds will germinate. Not looking likely at the moment as it just hasn’t been hot enough this summer (so far) for them to bother. I love reading about your tropical findings. Makes me very excited :)

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