02 Apr2005

Caimito / Star Apple

by Marketman

Caimito (Chrysophyllum cainito) is an extremely common backyard and roadside fruit in the Philippines. cai1It would seem reasonable to assume that it has centuries of history here but it turns out it’s only been around for 100 years. A native to the West Indies and Central America, the first seeds/trees were apparently introduced by W.S. Lyon, a horticulturalist with the Philippine Bureau of Plant Industry, in 1905. Happy 100th anniversary, Caimito! The Caimito fruit has a star like design when it is sliced, hence its common name Star Apple. It has a soft, extremely sweet flesh that is delicious when cold. It is another one of those summer fruits that bring back childhood memories of kids on summer vacation and hanging out under a tree laden with ripe fruit. Caimito are right smack at the peak of their harvest season just now. If you don’t have a tree in your neighborhood get some fruit at the markets. They taste best when picked ripe from the tree, they don’t keep too well nor travel without bruising so they are generally consumed near the tree… At the market today there were these brilliant specimens at P30 a kilo with roughly 3 fruit to a kilo.

While the fruit is available elsewhere in Asia, it is not cai2as common as here in the Philippines. We generally have two varieties: (cainito blanco) or white caimito and (cainito morado) or purple caimito as shown in the photograph above. Besides the fruits, the tree has spectacular foliage, with dark green leaves possessing a golden underside. The wood is also apparently a favored anchor for orchid plants. I have only consumed this fruit in its fresh state though I have read that people make preserves or other dishes with it in other parts of the world.



  1. adelle says:

    this fruit aplenty back home, best eaten when it’s chilled… i missed it when we used to climb caimito trees and not to mention the sap in the leaves is so sticky, you can use it as earrings. oppps, be careful not to overeat, because this fruit if overeaten can constipate you for days…

    Apr 13, 2005 | 10:43 pm


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  3. Marketman says:

    Didn’t know this could plug you up. Can add that to my data bank of too many cherries giving you the runs, or too many sineguelas result in serious gas…heehee. Thanks for the info.

    Apr 16, 2005 | 7:12 am

  4. doris de simas says:

    where can I buy this tree for container and can it survive zone 9 fresno, ca

    Aug 3, 2005 | 11:41 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    Doris, you may be able to buy this tree from nurseries that carry stuff from Mexico or elsewhere in Central America. I have no idea where zone 9 is so I wouldn’t know if it would survive in your area…

    Aug 4, 2005 | 6:52 am

  6. Ana Sia says:

    I miss my childhood, kaimitos are the best I used to cry whenever my lola won’t allow me to pick kaimitos with a sungkit because she does not want her backyard to be littered with leaves.
    I am from Bacolor Pampanga originally, it sucks that lahar ruined all the fruit bearing trees of my youth.
    We had avocado, makopa,santol, kaimito, bayabas, pomelo, sampalok, duhat, and langka.
    I think its the best way to raise a child, seeing those trees give “birth” to sweet fruits was like magic for me. :)

    Jan 7, 2008 | 12:00 am

  7. mia says:

    gud childhood memories

    Apr 2, 2008 | 12:35 am

  8. jackie says:

    Hi i just want to know where can i get some of this fruits….I’m missing my childhood..

    Jun 11, 2009 | 12:08 pm


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