Biriba, Wild Sweetsop - Rollinia mucosa, Annona mucosa
Fruto de la comumente conocida Guanacona
Fig. 1

Rollinia deliciosa Saff.
Fig. 2

Rollinia mucosa (Jacq.) Baill.
Fig. 3

Rollinia mucosa (Jacq.) Baill.
Fig. 4

Fig. 5

Leaf habit
Fig. 6

Rollinia mucosa (Jacq.) Baill.
Fig. 7

Fig. 8

Ripe biribas
Fig. 9

Amphonyx duponchel, comiendo Rollinia mucosa (Jacq.) Baill.
Fig. 10
Amphonyx duponchel, comiendo R. mucosa (Jacq.) Baill.

Rollinias comparaison
Fig. 11

Scientific name
Rollinia  mucosa (Jacq.) Baill.
Common names
The popular Brazilian name has been widely adopted, but in that country it may also be called biriba de Pernambuco, fruta da condessa, jaca de pobre, araticu, araticum, araticum pitaya. In Peru, it is anon; in Ecuador, chirimoya; in Colombia, mulato; in Venezuela, rinon or rinon de monte; in Mexico, anona babosa or zambo. In Trinidad it is called wild sugar apple; in Guadeloupe, cachiman morveux, cachiman cochon or cachiman montagne, in Puerto Rico, cachiman or anon cimarron, in the Dominican Republic, candongo or anona. 1
A. mucosa Jacq., R. deliciosa Saff., R. orthopetala A. DC., R. biflora Ruiz & Pav. ex G. Don, A. reticulata var. mucosa (Jacq.) Willd. 2
Sugar apple (A. squamosa), cherimoya (A. cherimola), soursop (A. muricata), custard apple (A. reticulata), pond apple (A. glabra), ilama (A. diversifolia)
Originated in northern Brazil, Amazon; also found in Guiana, southern Mexico, Peru, and northern Argentina 3
USDA hardiness zones
The fruit is eaten fresh and is fermented to make wine in Brazil
13 to 50 ft (4-15 m)
Growth rate
Dense, multiple-branched growth habit
Alternate, deciduous, oblong-elliptic or ovate-oblong leaves, pointed at the apex, rounded at the base, 4 to 10 in (10-25 cm) long, thin but somewhat leathery and hairy on the underside 1
Borne 1-3 in the leaf axils; hermaphroditic; 3/4-1 3/8 in (23.5 cm); triangular with 3 large fleshy outer petals and 3 rudimentary inner petals 1
Are syncarp berries containing succulent, sweet pulp with many seeds: highly inconsistent in shape; turns green to yellow when ripe
November and December
Light requirement
Prospers equally well in sun or shade
Soil tolerances
Calcareous soils do not seem to be unsuitable in Florida or Puerto Rico as long as they are moist 1
Drought tolerance
Will not tolerate drought
Cold tolerance
26.5ºF (-3.10ºC)
Invasive potential *
None reported
Pest resistance
Is attacked by chalcid fly mealybugs and scale
Known hazard
None known


Reading Material

Rollinia from the University of Hawaii pdf 6 pages
Rollinia deliciosa from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia
The Rollinia from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia
Biriba from Julia Morton's book Fruits of Warm Climates


This species has an extensive natural range, from Peru and northern Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil and northward to Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia and southern Mexico; Trinidad, the Lesser Antilles including Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Vincent; and Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. It is much cultivated around Iquitos, Peru, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the fruits are marketed in abundance. It is the favorite fruit in western Amazonia. 1

The Rollinia is a rapid growing medium sized tree. It reaches a height of around 5 metres (16 ft) and has a spread of about 4 to 5 metres (13-16 ft) across. The tree is an attractive cone shape. The leaves are light green in colour, obovate-oblong and form to an average length of 30 cm and around 9 cm in width. The leaves are of a smooth texture with distinct veins at the back of the leaves like the rib bones of a fish. The veins are a slight yellow green in colour. The leaves hang off long slender branches which look like large feathers. 5

The flowers, borne 1 to 3 or occasionally more together in the leaf axils, are hermaphroditic, 3/4 to 1 3/8 in (23.5 cm) wide; triangular, with 3 hairy sepals, 3 large, fleshy outer petals with upturned or horizontal wings, and 3 rudimentary inner petals. 1

The fruit is conical to heart-shaped, or oblate; to 6 in (15 cm) in diameter; the rind yellow and composed of more or less hexagonal, conical segments, each tipped with a wart-like protrusion; nearly 1/8 in (3 mm) thick, leathery, tough and indehiscent. The pulp is white, mucilaginous, translucent, juicy, subacid to sweet. There is a slender, opaque-white core and numerous dark-brown, elliptic or obovate seeds 5/8 to 3/4 in (1.6-2 cm) long. 1
The somewhat fragile skin contains milky-white, pyramidal shaped carpels usually containing black seeds that average half an inch in length. 3
The yellow fruits have a juicy, melting flesh of a very pleasant flavour, reminiscent of lemon meringue pie. 6

A few known cultivars include ‘Regard’ in the Philippines, ‘Prolific’ in Florida, and ‘Liso’ in Brazil. 3

Once harvested, the fruit will fully ripen in 5 to 8 days. As with many other Annonaceae, the fruit will have a short, less than 1 week, shelf life. Once the fruit skin turns fully black, the pulp color and viscosity changes to a clear mucous hence the botanic name, R. mucosa. At this stage, the fruit remains edible for only 1 or 2 days before fermentation begins. 3

Biribá trees produce well without hand pollination, which is an advantage over many other Annonaceae. 7

Rollinia is often propagated from seed, which should be planted as soon as possible after harvest. Preferably take seeds from trees that bear regularly with superior fruit.
Germination takes about a month and averages 80 percent success. Air-layering and grafting are possible. 3
Grafting onto rootstocks of A. montana or A. glabra causes dwarfing. 4

The tree grows best in deep, rich, organic soil and benefits form copious amounts of mulch as long as there is good drainage, but it tolerates poorer and highly acidic soils as long as there is sufficient water. 3

The rapid growing tree needs to be pruned regularly to facilitate harvesting as well as for removal of dead wood. It’s also advisable to trim extremely long branches as the weight of multiple fruits can cause the branch to break. 3

Water is the most crucial element when trying to grow Rollinias. They are flood tolerant.

Few pest are found on healthy well cared for trees. Moth larva (Lepidopterene) can attack maturing fruit. A borer (Cratosomus bombina) burrows into the bark and trunk causing branch death. Once pruned, these branches should be burned or disposed of and not left in the field. White flies (Aleurodyscus cocois) and mealy bugs (Pseudococcus brevipes and Aspidiotus destructor) are found on leaves. 3 

Cercospora leaf spot occurs and Glomerella cingulata causes stem dieback and fruit rot. 3

Food Uses
The fruit, often described as having a caramel or lemoncustard- pudding flavor, is usually eaten out of hand. It is often juiced in Brazil and sometimes blended with milk for a drink. It has also been made into wine. 3

Medicinal Uses **
The fruit is regarded as refrigerant, analeptic and antiscorbutic. The powdered seeds are said to be a remedy for enterocolitis. 1

Other Uses (Indigenous)
The wood of the tree is yellow, hard, heavy, strong and is used for ribs for canoes, boat masts, boards and boxes. 1
Young Biriba trees are traditionally used as the main bow of the Afro-Brazilian instrument Berimbau, named after the Biriba tree.4

Of the approximately 65 species of the genus Rollinia (family Annonaceae), only a few have edible fruit and the best-known is the biriba, R. mucosa Baill. 1

Other members of the family that are grown for their fruit are:
Soursop (A. muricata)
Sugar apple (A. squamosa)
Ilama (A. diversifolia)
Custard Apple (A. reticulata)
Atemoya (A. cherimola x A. squamosa)
Poshte (A. scleroderma)
Cherimoya (A. cherimola)

Further Reading
Rollinia by B. Whitman from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia

List of Growers and Vendors


1  Morton, J. "Biriba." Fruits of Warm Climates, p. 88-90. 1987. Web. 9 Feb. 2016 LR
2 Lorenzi, Harri, Bacher, Luis, Lacerda, Marco and Sartori, Sergio. Brazillian Fruits & Cultivated Exotics (for consuming in natura). Brazil. Instituto Plantarum de Estudos da Flora LTDA. 2006. Print.
3 Love, Ken and Paull, Robert E. "Rollinia." Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers, CTAHR Department of Tropical Plants and Soils Sciences. June 2011. Web. 9 Feb. 2016.
4 "Rollinia deliciosa." Web. 9 Feb. 2016.
5 Gray, Don and Chris. "The Rollinia." Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. July 1981. Web. 9 Feb. 2016.
6 Facciola. S. Cornucopia II. Kampong Publications, California. 1998. Print.
7 Campbell, Richard J. "Annonaceae." South American fruits deserving further attention. p. 431-439. 1996. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.


Fig. 1 Torres, Rovin Laudin Alba. Fruto de la comumente conocida Guanacona. 2009. Web. 9 Feb. 2016.
Fig. 2 Hinchliff, Cody. Rollinia deliciosa Saff. 2009. Under  (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Web. 10 Feb. 2016.
Fig. 3,4,7 Aguilar, Reinaldo. Rollinia mucosa (Jacq.) Baill.. 2013. Under (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Web. 10 Feb. 2016.
Fig. 8 Kwan. Annona mucosa. 2009. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.
Fig. 5,6 Morad, Asmad Fuad. Flowers and Leaves. 2011. Bukit Tagar, Hulu Selangor, Malaysia. Under (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Web. 10 Feb. 2016.
Fig. 9 Jaitt, Oscar. Suddenly have about 20+ perfectly ripe rollinias (biribas) on one tree. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.
Fig. 10 Aguilar, Reinaldo. Amphonyx duponchel, comiendo Rollinia mucosa (Jacq.) Baill. 2013. Under (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Web. 10 Feb. 2016.
Fig. 10 Jaitt, Oscar. Rollinias comparaison. N.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
** Information provided is not intended to be used as a guide for treatment of medical conditions.

Published 12 Apr. 2014 LR. Updated 26 July 2014, 10 Feb. 2016 LR
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