Tagalog (Philippines): bulala
Origin and Distribution
Native to Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines). Grown sporadically in other tropical areas.
Nephelium mutabile, N. intermedium, N. philippense and Litchi ramboutan-ake.
Dioecious tree reaching 30-45 feet (9-14 m), with a short trunk and a wide, rounded crown. Alternate, compound leaves with 2-5 pairs of glossy leaflets. Flowers small, greenish, in branched axillary or terminal panicles. The fruit is round to ovoid, about 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) in length, with a bumpy red, purple or yellow peel. The pulp is white or yellowish, translucent, juicy, sweet and aromatic, and containing a single seed the size and shape of an almond.
Propagation and Culture
Pulasan is propagated by seed, grafting or air layers. The seeds lose viability quickly, and should not be allowed to dry out. Germination occurs in 10-15 days. Seed propagation is not usually preferred, as the trees may be males or have fruit of inferior quality. Both bud and approach grafting are used. Grafted trees begin to produce fruit at about 3-5 years.
The pulasan is from the humid tropics, and grows well where abundant moisture is available year round, although it does tolerate brief periods of drought. The best growth is achieved in fertile, well drained soils, from sea level to about 1,000 feet (305 m) elevation. Regular fertilization will also improve growth and fruiting.
Cultivars and Related Species
There are few cultivars of pulasan compared to its more common relative the rambutan. The following cultivars are available in Hawaii and Puerto Rico:
‘Carle’ - Red, sweet fruit, of medium size. Regular bearing. Selected in Australia.
‘Sibabat’ - Large, sweet, dark red fruit. The pulp separates easily from the seed. Fruiting is somewhat erratic. From the Philippines.
‘UH Selection’ - Medium sized fruit, sweet, with good flavor. Red, turning almost black as it ripens. Regular bearing. Selected in Hawaii.
The most important related species is the rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), but there are at least 30 other wild species of Nephelium with edible fruits.
The pulasan is primarily eaten fresh, but can also be used in jams and juices.
Nutritional composition per 100 g pulasan fruit
More information on pulasan
From the classic volume by Julia Morton, "Fruits of Warm Climates".
Gardens, Hwy 120 Km 18.9, Box 692, Maricao, Puerto Rico 00606 USA
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