Chrysophyllum cainito

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Chrysophyllum cainito
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Chrysophyllum
C. cainito
Binomial name
Chrysophyllum cainito
  • Cainito pomiferum Tussac
  • Chrysophyllum bonplandii Klotzsch ex Miq.
  • Chrysophyllum caeruleum Jacq.
  • Chrysophyllum jamaicense Jacq.
  • Chrysophyllum maliforme L.
  • Chrysophyllum monopyrenum Spreng.
  • Chrysophyllum ottonis Klotzsch ex Miq.

Chrysophyllum cainito is a tropical tree of the family Sapotaceae. It is native to the Isthmus of Panama, where it was domesticated.[3] It has spread to the Greater Antilles and the West Indies and is now grown throughout the tropics, including Southeast Asia.[4] It grows rapidly and reaches 20 meters in height.


The common names cainito and caimito likely come from the Mayan words cab (juice), im (breast), and vitis (sap), via Spanish.[5] Star apple is a common name.[6]



The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple oval, entire, 5–15 cm long; the underside shines with a golden color when seen from a distance. The tiny flowers are purplish white and have a sweet fragrant smell. The tree is also hermaphroditic (self-fertile). It produces a strong odor.


The fruit is globose and typically measures from 2 to 3 inches in diameter.[7] When ripe, it usually has purple skin with a faint green area appearing around the calyx. A radiating star pattern is visible in the pulp. Greenish-white and yellow-fruited cultivars are sometimes available. The skin is rich in latex, and both it and the rind are not edible. The flattened seeds are light brown and hard. It is a seasonal fruit bearing tree.[citation needed]

The fruits are used as a fresh dessert fruit; it is sweet and often served chilled. The fruit also exists in three colors, dark purple, greenish brown and yellow. The purple fruit has a denser skin and texture while the greenish brown fruit has a thin skin and a more liquid pulp; the yellow variety is less common.[citation needed]

A number of related species, also called star apples, are grown in Africa including Gambeya albida and G. africana.[8]



  1. ^ Condit, R. (2022). "Chrysophyllum cainito". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2022: e.T197735752A197789299. Retrieved 28 February 2024.
  2. ^ a b "Chrysophyllum cainito". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 28 February 2024.
  3. ^ Petersen, Jennifer J.; Parker, Ingrid M.; Potter, Daniel (March 2014). "Domestication of the neotropical tree Chrysophyllum cainito from a geographically limited yet genetically diverse gene pool in Panama". Ecology and Evolution. 4 (5): 539–553. doi:10.1002/ece3.948. ISSN 2045-7758. PMC 4098135. PMID 25035796.
  4. ^ ”Chrysophyllum cainito” at AgroForestryTree Database at Archived 2017-11-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Suárez Molina, Victor (1996). Güémez Pineda, Miguel (ed.). El español que se habla en Yucatán [The Spanish spoken in Yucatan] (in Spanish) (3 ed.). Mérida: Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán. p. 112. ISBN 9687556226. OL 18120697M.
  6. ^ "Chrysophyllum cainito L." Flora and Fauna Web, Government of Singapore. 13 December 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2024.
  7. ^ Boning, Charles R. (2006). Florida's Best Fruiting Plants: Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. p. 199. ISBN 1561643726.
  8. ^ National Research Council (2008-01-25). "Star Apples". Lost Crops of Africa: Volume III: Fruits. Lost Crops of Africa. Vol. 3. National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-10596-5. Archived from the original on 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2008-07-17.

External links[edit]

Data related to Chrysophyllum cainito at Wikispecies