Chrysophyllum cainito
Chrusophyllum cainito.jpg
Chrysophyllum cainito fruit
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Chrysophyllum
C. cainito
Binomial name
Chrysophyllum cainito

Chrysophyllum cainito is a tropical tree of the family Sapotaceae. It is native to the Ithsmus of Panama, where it was domesticated.[1] It has spread to the Greater Antilles and the West Indies and is now grown throughout the tropics, including Southeast Asia.[2] It grows rapidly and reaches 20 meters in height.


The fruit has numerous names. The common names cainito and caimito likely come from the Mayan words cab (juice), im (breast), and vitis (sap),[3] via Spanish. It is also called variously tar apple, star apple, purple star apple, golden leaf tree, abiaba, pomme de lait, estrella, milk fruit and aguay. It is also known by the synonym Achras cainito. In Vietnam, it is called Vú Sữa (lit.: milky breast). In Sierra Leone the fruit is referred to as Bobi Wata or Breast Milk Fruit.[citation needed] In Malayalam it is called Swarnapathry meaning [the tree with] golden leaves.[citation needed] In Cambodia, this fruit is called Phlae Teuk Dos which means milk fruit due to its milky juices inside.[citation needed] In Hong Kong, it is called 牛奶果 (lit.: milk fruit), and in China, it is called 金星果 (lit.: golden star fruit).




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.


Fruits, usually purple, are also available in green or red

The fruit is globose and typically measures from 2 to 3 inches in diameter.[4] 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.

The fruits are used as a fresh dessert fruit; it is sweet and often served chilled. Infusions of the leaves have been used against diabetes and articular rheumatism. The fruit has antioxidant properties.[5][6] The bark is considered a tonic and stimulant, and a bark decoction is used as an antitussive. 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 and difficult to find.

A number of closely related species, also called star apples, are grown in Africa including C. albidum and C. africanum.[7]

In Vietnam, the most famous variety is Lò Rèn milk fruit coming from Vĩnh Kim commune, Châu Thành District, Tiền Giang Province.



  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ ”Chrysophyllum cainito” at AgroForestryTree Database at
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Luo X.D., Basile M.J., Kennelly E.J.,"Polyphenolic antioxidants from the fruits of Chrysophyllum cainito L. (Star Apple)." Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2002 50:6 (1379-1382)
  6. ^ Einbond L.S., Reynertson K.A., Luo X.-D., Basile M.J., Kennelly E.J.,"Anthocyanin antioxidants from edible fruits" Food Chemistry 2004 84:1 (23-28)
  7. ^ National Research Council (2008-01-25). "Star Apples". Lost Crops of Africa: Volume III: Fruits. Lost Crops of Africa. 3. National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-10596-5. Archived from the original on 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2008-07-17.

External links

Data related to Chrysophyllum cainito at Wikispecies