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Plant Catalogue

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Vasconcellea × heilbornii

This lesser known fruit is a cross between the Mountain Papaya (Vasconcellea pubescens) and another papaya species, the Toronche (Vasconcellea stipulata). It is a self fertile small tree from Ecuador which only produces female flowers, and does not usually produce seed. It can be used as a pollinator for other Papaya family plants.

Babaco is a fairly short lived tree, usually 5 to 10 years, and can produce 20-30 large fruit per year, and up to 50 if it is very happy. It is more cold tolerant than other papaya species and can handle light frosts when established, but still prefers a warm and sunny frost free spot to produce well. It is intolerant of wet, heavy soil but will grow well in a big pot or raised bed. Prefers full sun or part shade.


Babaco can fruit in their first year, with the fruit taking a whole year to ripen on the tree. The fruit can be picked when they begin to turn yellow but are sweetest when allowed to fully ripen and fall off the tree naturally. The whole fruit is edible including the skin and is high in vitamin C. They have been described as having a pineapple/papaya flavour. Individual fruit can weigh up to 2 kg.

Size: 1.3L

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