Rambutan trees are medium sized tropical plant from the family of Sapindacaes. It is an edible fruit native to Southeast Asia and Indonesia. The exotic lychee looking fruit has a protruding fleshy spines and a sweet, sour taste.
Oval in shape it bears a large single seed surrounded by transparent or white flesh. The fruit is reddish orange, grow easily. Rambutan trees are grown from seed, grafted or budded.
The best planting conditions are of organic compost, moderate sun and moist environment. The Rambutan tree are evergreen, grow 60 to 80 feet height. It features a dense crown and alternate foliage 4 to 10 inches long.
The leaves are elliptic, slightly leathery and yellowish-green in color. The fruit has an interior flesh is white, orange-yellow outer skin oval in shape.
Rambutan Trees Cultivars
There are over 200 cultivars based on height, growth rate, harvesting. Good quality cultivars are ‘Simacan’, ‘Sikonoto’., ‘Peng Thing Bee’, ‘Ya Tow’. Others include ‘Chooi Ang’, ‘Aceh Kuning’, ‘Ayers Kuning’, ‘Cimacan’ and Lebak Bulus.
- ‘Peng Thing Bee’
- ‘Ya Tow’
- ‘Chooi Ang’
- ‘Aceh Kuning’
- ‘Ayers Kuning’
- ‘Lebak Bulus
- grow guava in any container
This rare fruits is produced in Malaysia, India, Philippines, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Indonesia. Others are Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam. More are Zanzibar, Honduras and Cuba.
- Sri Lanka
- Costa Rica
The evergreen tree reaches 18m has alternate leaves 28cm long. The flowers are small has erect terminal panicles and are staminate. The fruit is oval shaped 4cm broad, 5cm long. The single seed is 1cm has white basal scars, glossy brown in color.
The fruits form a loose pendant cluster of 12 to 18 and the skin is leathery, reddish-yellow or orange. The interesting feature of the fruit are the fleshy pliable spines or hairs. The flesh is translucent, pale pink or whitish and has a sweetish low acidic flavored taste.
The fruit is loaded with good nutrients beneficial to health. Nutrients include iron, fiber and rich in carbohydrates. It provides an energy boost, treats dysentery, reduction in body fat content.
It helps in the production of red, white blood cells, strengthens bones. It helps boost immunity, hydrates skin, prevents cell damage, eliminates free radicals and aids the treatment of diabetes.
Benefits of Rambutan
- provides an energy boost
- treats dysentery
- Reduction in body fat content
- helps production of red, white blood cells
- strengthens bones
- boost immunity
- hydrates skin
- prevents cell damage
- eliminates free radicals
- aids the treatment of diabetes
How to Eat Rambutan
Ripe Rambutan turns orange, yellow or red. Select a ripe fruit then cut a slit in the skin. Open the Rambutan squeeze to pop out the fruit. Then remove seed and eat the fruit. The seed is also edible when cooked however eating too much Rambutan can cause side effects.
Propagation and Pollination
The flowers emit an aromatic fragrance irresistible to bees. The main pollinators are stingless bees, honey bees, flies and ants.
Orchids are generally involved in small scale commercial production. However Thailand is the largest producer of the fruit accounting for 55%, Malaysia 10%, Indonesia 30%. Rambutan is propagated through budding, air-layering, grafting, seeding.
How to Grow Rambutan
Remove the seeds, wash any residue on the flesh to avoid contamination. The seed should be planted within1 to 3 days old. Fill a pot with compost, organic soil and should have good drainage.
Plant the seed and cover with top soil and provide sun. The seeds will germinate in 2 to 3 weeks and requires transplanting at 1 ft. The tree is slow growing and achieving one foot tall in 2 years. Plant them 30 feet apart to provide adequate space for growth.
Soil and Climate
They grow in warm subtropical, tropical demography. Ideal temperature is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures of 48F are harmful to the tree. Ideal location is 500m above sea level
The soil should have good drainage, compost and organic soil. Use part vermiculite, sandy, loamy soil for faster growth. Transplant in the same pot and place directly in ground.
Care for Rambutan
To boost production use phosphate, potash mix and fertilize twice a year. After a year fertilize only once a year. The tree needs partial shade, sunlight, humidity of 75% and frequent watering.
Increase in yield involves growing high yield cultivars, pollination and orchid management. Commercial growers favor hermaphroditic flowers with high number of female flowers for best results.
The tree matures and fruits in 5 to 6 years. Harvesting is through hand picking when ripe the fruits turn reddish-yellow. They generally fruit after 3 years and are in high demand based on their different uses.
They are used in the production of dyes, soap and traditional medicine. Fruiting season depends on the demography however they usually ripen by mid-August. The fruits are fragile with short shelf life and average production is 5000 fruits per tree. It is possible to produce 15 tons per acre.