Rollinia mucosa
(Annonaceae) 

 

Common Names 

English: biriba, wild sweet sop, wild cashina 

Portuguese: biriba, araticum pitaia, fruta da condessa, catarro de padre, baba de moça

Spanish: anón cimarrón, anona, anón amazónico, anón de monte, fruta de la condesa, corosol, biribá, cachimán

French: cachiman crème, cachiman morveux

German: rotzapfel, schleimapfel

 

Origin and Distribution 

Biriba is native to the Antilles, Central America and northern South America.  It is grown sporadically throughout the tropics.

 

Botanical Synonyms 

Annona deliciosa, Annona biflora, Annona obtusiflora, and Annona pterocarpa.

 

Description

Biriba is a medium sized tree, growing to about 30 feet (9 m) tall, with open, spreading branches.  The leaves are alternate, glossy green and large, 4-14 inches (10-36 cm) in length and 2-5 inches (5-12.5 cm) wide.  The leaf blade is soft and pliable, and has prominent veins, sunken on the adaxial (upper) surface.  The flowers are perfect, whitish, have a three lobed triangular form and occur singly or in pairs in the leaf axils.  The fruits are spherical and large, around 2-6 inches (5-15 cm) in diameter, yellowish, and with slight or very prominent protuberances.  The pulp is whitish, juicy, aromatic and flavorful, with a creamy texture and a delicious sweet-sour balance.  Seeds are shiny, brown and elliptical, about half an inch (1.3 cm) long.   

 

Rollinia mucosa fruit

 

Propagation and Culture

Biriba is usually grown from seed, but superior cultivars may be propagated by grafting.  It can be grafted onto rootstocks of Annona montana or Annona glabra, which causes dwarfing.  Seeds remain viable for up to 3 years if they are kept cool and dry.

Grows well on acid soils in the wet tropics, and tolerates some shade, although it grows best in full sun.  Biriba is fast growing, and begins to fruit at 3-4 years from seed.  Flowers in July through September, and fruits from November through January in Puerto Rico.  The fruits are attractive to birds and other animals, and should be harvested when they start to turn yellow, and ripened in a protected place.   Mature fruits are soft and easily bruised.

Cultivars and Related Species

There is a lot of genetic variability for fruit size and shape, and presence or absence of protuberances,  but named varieties are not readily available.

There are approximately 65 Rollinia species.  The biriba is related to soursop (Annona muricata), cherimoya (Annona cherimola), sugar apple (Annona squamosa), and atemoya (hybrid of cherimoya and sugar apple). 

 

Uses

Biriba is usually consumed fresh, but can also be used to make juices, milkshakes, ice cream and wine.  

 

Nutritional composition per 100 g biriba fruit      

Carbohydrate 13-26 g
Fat  0.2-2.4 g
Protein  1-3 g
Calcium  24 mg
Phosphorous  26 mg
Iron  1.2 mg
Thiamine 0.04-0.07 mg
Riboflavin 0.04-0.23 mg
Niacin  0.5-0.8 mg
Vitamin C   3-33 mg

 

More information on biriba 

Biriba (Rollinia mucosa)
From the 1987 classic by Julia Morton, Fruits of Warm Climates.

Rollinia mucosa Baill. (Annonaceae)
Biriba fact sheet from the CIRAD-FLHOR/IPGRI Project for Neotropical Fruits.

 

Rollinia mucosa leaves

Leaves of Rollinia mucosa (note the prominent leaf veins and large, soft leaves; the large leaf on the right is 14 inches long and 5.75 inches wide) 

 

 

 

 

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