Wednesday, May 17, 2017
The Babaco - 'Carica pentagona' - fam: Caricaceae
The Babaco, 'Carica pentagona' is a hybrid between 'Vasconcellea cundinamarcensis' (syn. Carica pubescens, 'Mountain Papaya'), and 'Vasconcellea stipulata' (syn. Carica stipulata, 'Toronche') 1. The Babaco is presumed to have originated in the central south highlands of Ecuador. In more recent times the Babaco was introduced into New Zealand where it is grown commercially. In Israel, and other parts of the Middle East, the plant is also being grown commercially in greenhouses, and it was introduced to southern California, in the 1970's, but has limited production. 2
The babaco fruit is seedless, and the smooth skin can be eaten, and is said to have tastes of strawberry, papaya, kiwi and pineapple. The fruit is pentagonal in shape, therefore giving it the scientific name of 'Carica pentagona'. The fruit is not especially acidic, but contains Papain, a proteolytic enzyme, which may cause mild irritation or 'burns'.
Like the papaya, the babaco is grown for its edible fruit, and for its fruit juice. Cultivation away from its native range has been successful as far south as New Zealand, and as far north as California, some regions of England, Guernsey, Channel Islands, and somewhat also in Italy (mostly Sicily and Calabria). 1
REFERENCES: Wikipedia 1 California Rare Fruit Growers 2