02 Sep2007


My previous post on this unusual (for me) fruit got some interesting responses from readers. And thanks to Apicio, it is now properly identified, with the scientific name Annonaceae Uvaria Rufa, this robust and hardy bush or vine (can’t confirm if it is a tree) is apparently not only common in the Philippine archipelago but in Thailand, elsewhere in Asia and even in Australia. A member ot the Annonaceae family, which counts among its cousins, guyabano (sour sop), atis (custard apple) and ylang-ylang. This fruit struck me more as a relative of the passion fruit which is a part of the Passifloraceae family, but then again there was so much screwing around going on in the old days, you never knew who was related to whom, you know what I mean? With trillions of plant sperms floating around in the air, a young impressionable plant could have been impregnated by just about anything… I AM KIDDING, KIDDING!!! :)


Several readers asked the obvious question of what the contents looked and tasted like so here is the promised follow-up post. Yes, it starts to get mushy as it ripens. Yes, oddly, as ntgerald describes, it kinda gets wildly “hairy” and fuzzy as in the specimen in the middle of the photos here. Frankly, I shiver at the hair nipple visual. And as for the pulp or fruit, it is mildly sour or acidic, not sweet. But the sourness could be viewed to be somewhat engaging, though I wasn’t personally thrilled with it. The pulp and seeds were very similar to that of a passion fruit, with a consistency that some might use a phlegm or mucus viscosity rating to describe. No, this was not in the category of my favorite fruits of all time. But now I know, and well, so do you. Many thanks to Apicio and other readers… we have all collectively learned something this weekend. This as I nurse a hunger headache of the worst sort. My new diet could revolve around vaguely unfamiliar and not totally appetizing local fruits and vegetables… I think I would lose weight faster than on a South Forbes Diet!



  1. belle says:

    This brought back memories when my mom buys these in the market. There are also mansanitas which are like Pinoy mini versions of imported apples.Hope you could find and feature them too as well as the aratilis, which is a favorite of mine and getting rarer everyday.

    Sep 2, 2007 | 11:39 am


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  3. ntgerald says:

    I think it is from a vine although I am not sure. I saw the unripe fruits in situ only once, more than 20 years ago.

    I tasted the fruits during my grade school years when my classmates who lived in the sitios and barangays brought them.

    Sep 2, 2007 | 1:44 pm

  4. tulip says:

    It is actually a shrub (small tree), it has a nice star-like flower too.For some it is known by another local name other than susong kalabaw, but I totally forgot it at the moment. And it is actually used for medicinal purposes. So not just breastmilk is best, so as susong kalabaw. hehehe

    Sep 2, 2007 | 2:53 pm

  5. iya says:

    interesting but icky looking pics! scary looking yung nasa middle. :

    Sep 2, 2007 | 4:37 pm

  6. MegaMom says:

    Eeew! is right Iya! I suppose now we know why it was named after the mammary glands of a beast that we wouldn’t normally consider appetizing. Still I’m curious and I’d probably try it if I find any. Thanks for taking the first bold step, MM. Hehehe, good luck with the diet.

    Sep 2, 2007 | 8:01 pm

  7. SDF says:

    This reminds me of my younger years long long time ago. We used to have this with cousins and neighbors bought from the nearby sari-sari store, but we didn’t have any idea where the fruits came from. Now,at least I know,thanks to you.
    This post made me think too of those precious years shared w/
    people who are now all scattered in every part of the globe.
    As to mansanitas and aratilis mentioned by Belle, we still have some mansanitas in our place,in fact we had one in our yard,they’re kinda sweet and juicy, children from the neighborhood would climb our fence w/ their “sungkit” and feasted on these fruits, but unfortunately it fell last year, victim of one of the typhoons. I think too that I saw aratilis in some friends’ yard on my last stay in the islands.I’ll try not to miss those on my next trip home.

    Sep 2, 2007 | 8:12 pm

  8. Apicio says:

    The middle sample looks as though it has been colonized with fungus which has reached the ripe stage of sporing.

    Sep 2, 2007 | 8:47 pm

  9. nang says:

    i was thinking exactly the same thing apicio. i wonder what causes it to grow those spindly hairs. they look pretty creepy to me.

    Sep 2, 2007 | 10:41 pm

  10. kit says:

    when i showed my mom your post, she told me it is also called sinuso. it been a long time since she last saw one, and she never dared to try it. it looks like molds had grown on the fruit in the middle

    Sep 3, 2007 | 4:54 am

  11. gerri says:

    hi megamom, sorry for the very late reply…accdg to Mom, it grow wild in Batangas and yup can still be found in some talipapa.

    Hi MM, as usual your pictures are just so visually arresting esp. the squirted pulp. It looks like a spawn of Species 4 or Alien 5(?) movies.

    Sep 3, 2007 | 6:01 am

  12. annette says:

    Oh Gawd! Why did you squeezed it?

    Sep 3, 2007 | 8:09 am

  13. Yuan says:

    MM saan makakabili nyan?nawala na kasi sa amin (Pampanga). di naman sya masarap pero ipapatikim ko lang sa mga anak ko yang SUSONG DAMULAG na yan.

    Sep 3, 2007 | 12:45 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    Yuan, I bought it at the FTI Taguig market, but I have never seen these in the markets before, it was an unusual find.

    Sep 3, 2007 | 12:53 pm

  15. sometime_lurker says:



    Sep 3, 2007 | 2:33 pm

  16. Lolah says:

    Hello Marketman, I’ve been a long time lurker/reader of your site pero karon pa gyud ko nagka guts to comment, tungod lang aning frutasa. It reminded me when we were just kids. This was plentyful then, we used to have it for breakfast. We call this “Ungali” where I come from (Dumaguete) and please, don’t try to consumme the middle one kay medyo overripe (daut) na kana sya. And yes, vine ni sya. When it’s properly ripened pula kaayo ang color niya and it is very sweet, pero kung medyo hilaw pa, yellow orangey, medyo sour siya. Sad though, kay napuo na ang ungali karon sa amoa tungod sa kaingin (burning).

    Sep 3, 2007 | 3:23 pm

  17. Alicia says:

    Must be honest, after looking at the picture I don’t think I will be in any mad rush to try this fruit. And it has nothing at all to do with your potography either! But yes, am glad to have learned something new this weekend. Thanks!

    Sep 3, 2007 | 3:59 pm

  18. Apicio says:

    You would have assumed the taste would have been udderly delightful huh?

    Sep 3, 2007 | 8:02 pm

  19. CecileJ says:

    Haha! The middle one, accdg to Lolah, is over ripe. Baka nga amag na yun growing on the fruit! Shudderingly uddery!!!!

    Amen to most of the comments. I’d try it once but probably wouldn’t go back for seconds…but then again, one never knows. After all, as the saying goes, one man’s feast is another man’s fodder…Tama ba yun?

    Sep 4, 2007 | 11:00 am

  20. CecileJ says:

    I shudder just looking at that udder!!!!

    Sep 4, 2007 | 11:02 am

  21. lee says:

    it’s a teat treat!

    Sep 4, 2007 | 12:59 pm

  22. Maria Clara says:

    Never seen or heard of this before just ran into them through your site.

    Sep 5, 2007 | 3:47 am

  23. sagada says:

    i never had any of these fruits before. maybe because they grew in tropical regions only.
    i grew up in sagada, which is very temperate and we also have different ethnic/imported fruits. do check them out:
    MISPEROS – brought by the spaniards or chinese traders.
    PERSIMMON – are being sold straight to 3-5 star hotels in
    manila from sagada.
    PINIT – different variations of wild mountain berries.
    DOLSI – wild variety of tomato, small and yellowish when
    ripe, sweet.
    AGSUP – the darling of them all. only available in the
    remaining rainforest of sagada and during the months
    of sept-oct.

    Sep 5, 2007 | 4:37 am

  24. Apicio says:

    Your misperos might me our (Tagalog) chico because they are called nisperos in most of Central and South America, nieceberry in Jamaica, Dolsi sounds like orange cherry tomatoes but please further describe Agsup to us, colour, size, shape, flavour, etc.

    Sep 5, 2007 | 6:42 am

  25. Marketman says:

    Sagada, how INTERESTING. I have been to Sagada twice before, in my teens really, before I developed an interest in food… hmmmm, now I have to go back for the fruit! This AGSUP is making me weigh the 13 hour or so trip to Sagada by car… I wish I could get someone there to send some AGSUP, whatever it is, to me instead! Obviously, the name of this fruit has everyone smiling… and yes, I did expect this to taste better than it did…

    Sep 5, 2007 | 7:47 am

  26. edna says:

    Ungali!! I grew up eating this fruit! Where did you find them MM? It’s beem decades since I’ve eaten one. I grew up in Oriental Negros and this fuit was common as duhat and sineguelas back then. My cousins and I would devour bunches of this when we were kids. It’s wild, from a vine and grew just anywhere…even on roadsides among the bamboos. But they’re all gone now :-(

    Sep 8, 2007 | 11:28 am

  27. Bong says:

    Suso nang Kalabaw is a wild shrub. The fruits are normally in a cluster of 5 to 8 fruits. We used to gather lots of this this fruit when I was a kid in Isabela. It is best harvested during rainy season as the fruits are more plump and sweeter. Among Ibanags this fruit is called “dupo na Ayong”, loosely translated as banana of monkeys. It is called such because monkeys love to gourge on this fruit.

    Jan 23, 2008 | 11:53 am

  28. Bill Sabalburo says:

    Yes, the susong-kalabaw (called Allagat in Ilocano) is a fruit which is common in the forest of La Union. However, over the years, it started to become extinct. The scientific name is Uvaria Rufa. See the website for other local names http://www.stuartxchange.org/Hilagak.html. It is NOT a medicinal plant! Rather, the root is an ecbolic or will cause abortion.

    You can see another picture of a ripe susong-kalabaw at: http://gotoknow.org/file/khajitfoythong/Tay3.jpg

    For a green fuit, you can go to: http://www.isan.clubs.chula.ac.th/para_norkhai/up_files/phiphan.jpg

    My sister-in-law has over 100 seedlings that she has propagated from the root cuttings. I will plant them in our forest in San Juan, La Union next time I go home on vacation.

    As my planned hobby when I retire in two years, I will be propagating a lot of soon-to-be extinct indigenous trees and plants. I am also looking for seeds of sapang tree to plant. Anyone who has seeds pls let me have some.


    Jan 29, 2008 | 9:37 am

  29. patrick filoma says:

    I remember when i was a kid. we used to go to the hill of San Diego, Lian, Batangas.

    It is vine tree fruit and really nutritious.

    I never see them in other place, even in Lian, Batangas.

    I dont know if it is still available in the hill of San Diego, Lian, Batangas because now i think most of these hills are becoming beach houses.

    i really want to have the seed of that. i there a way i can have it from San Juan, La Union. I am now living in South America and become a monk. So i dont have contact with anyone in San Diego.


    Apr 1, 2008 | 8:32 pm

  30. kim says:

    hi patrick, It is still abundant at the hills/mountains of Calatagan. Just last July wen I went to my farm, many fruits were hanging from the vines by the wayside. If you are still interested to have seeds for propagation I will be happy to help you. Just PM me at kim_nieva@yahoo.com. And for those who thingk it is a shrub, I think you are mistaken. It really is a vine though, the stem or stalks are hard and appear like small branches of a tree. It is easy to mistake it for a shrub as often grows or creeps among shrubs.

    I think MM is more correct to say that it resembles more of a passion fruit than atis. I think our scietists got it all wrong by including it in the annonaceae family. all of the fruits gruped in that family are from trees or shrubs while the passion fruit and the susong kalabaw are both vines. The seeds too are similar.

    For those who think its yucky, it really is not. Its just like eating ripe tomatoes with more seeds and less flesh.

    Dec 11, 2008 | 1:54 pm

  31. lulu says:

    haha!.. what funny little fruits… when my mother said “Nakatikim ka na ba ng suso ng kalabaw?”, I was like mum that’s a little perverted :)) But looking at the beautiful pictures.. I am intrigued.. so many fruits I’ve never even heard of before..:)

    Apr 27, 2009 | 12:00 am


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