Thought to originate in northern Brazil, near the Amazon, Biriba is a fast growing tree that grows up to 15 m high with large glossy leaves and white flowers. The fruits are round or heart shaped and 5-15 cm around, green to yellowish, with prominent bumps. The pulp is white, with a creamy texture with somewhat sour to sweet taste. It contains numerous brown, shiny seeds about 1.3 cm long and elliptical in shape.
The fruit are eaten raw or cooked in deserts. The fruit overripen quickly and should be eaten soon after harvest. In Brazil, a drink is made by blending the fruit with milk. The seeds are used as beads and are ground up as an insecticide. The wood is used in boat building.
- Elevation – up to ≈ 900 m (150-600 m in Puerto Rico; 91-914 m in Hawaii)
- Rainfall – requires regular rainfall; tolerates periodic flooding but not drought
- Soil Types – prefers fertile, well-drained soil high in organic matter
- Temperature Range – good for hot, humid areas; intolerant of frost
- Day Length Sensitivity – n/a
- Light – prefers full sun but tolerates some shade
Biriba is often grown from seeds planted soon after harvest. Soak seeds in water for 24 hours and plant in nursery soil in partial shade. They germinate in about 4 weeks. Trees grow rapidly and should be pruned to keep limbs short for ease of harvest and to lessen breakage of limbs from heavy fruit. Fruit production starts in 3-4 years. Water frequently. Mulching helps retain moisture. Grafting can be done to establish improved varieties or to cause dwarfing.
Harvesting and Seed Production
Fruit can be harvested when ripe or slightly before and allowed to mature off the tree. Once harvested, fruit ripen quickly and should be eaten within one week. Handling causes blackening of fruit skin.
Pests and Diseases
Susceptible to mealybugs, white flies, borers, and scale. Leaf spot and fruit rot diseases may be a problem.
Cooking and Nutrition
It is often used in deserts or juiced, but is usually eaten out-of-hand. Good source of vitamin C, calcium, and phosphorus.
Morton, J.F. 1987. Biriba: Rollinia mucosa. Fruits of warm climates: 88–90.
Love K and Paull RE (2011) Rollinia. University of Hawaii at Manoa. Fruits and Nuts June 2011.