You are on page 1of 13


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the tree. For the cipher, see Rambutan (cryptography).


Unpeeled and peeled rambutan

Rambutan fruits

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN 2.3)

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms

Clade: Eudicots

Clade: Rosids

Order: Sapindales

Family: Sapindaceae

Genus: Nephelium

Species: N. lappaceum

Binomial name

Nephelium lappaceum

A cluster of yellowish rambutan.

The rambutan (/ræmˈbuːtən/, taxonomic name: Nephelium lappaceum) is a medium-sized

tropical tree in the family Sapindaceae. The name also refers to the edible fruit produced by this
tree. The rambutan is native to the Malay-Indonesian region,[2][3] and other regions of
tropical Southeast Asia.[4] It is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits including
the lychee, longan, and mamoncillo.[2][4]

 1Etymology
 2Origin and distribution
 3Description
 4Pollination
 5Production
 6Cultivation
 7Cultivars
 8Nutrients and phytochemicals
 9Gallery
 10See also
 11References

The name "rambutan" is derived from the Malay-Indonesian languages word for rambut or "hair",
a reference to the numerous hairy protuberances of the fruit, together with the noun-
building suffix -an.[2][4] In Vietnam, it is called chôm chôm (meaning "messy hair") due to the
spines covering the fruit's skin.[5]

Origin and distribution[edit]

Native to tropical Southeast Asia, rambutan is commonly grown in various countries throughout
the region.[3] It has spread from there to parts of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Central
America.[6] The widest variety of cultivars, wild and cultivated, are found in Indonesia and
Around the 13th to 15th centuries, Arab traders, who played a major role in Indian Ocean trade,
introduced rambutan into Zanzibar and Pemba of East Africa.[2] There are limited rambutan
plantings in some parts of India. In the 19th century, the Dutch introduced rambutan from their
colony in Southeast Asia to Suriname in South America. Subsequently, the plant spread to
tropical Americas, planted in the coastal lowlands of Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Costa Rica,
Trinidad, and Cuba. In 1912, rambutan was introduced to the Philippines from
Indonesia.[2] Further introductions were made in 1920 (from Indonesia) and 1930 (from Malaya),
but until the 1950s its distribution was limited.
There was an attempt to introduce rambutan to the southeastern United States, with seeds
imported from Java in 1906, but the species proved to be unsuccessful,[2] except in Puerto Rico.[4]


Ripe rambutan in Malaysia

It is an evergreen tree growing to a height of 12–20 m.[4] The leaves are alternate, 10–30 cm
long, pinnate, with three to 11 leaflets, each leaflet 5–15 cm wide and 3–10 cm broad, with an
entire margin. The flowers are small, 2.5–5 mm, apetalous, discoidal, and borne in erect
terminal panicles15–30 cm wide.[4]
Rambutan trees can be male (producing only staminate flowers and, hence, produce no fruit),
female (producing flowers that are only functionally female), or hermaphroditic (producing flowers
that are female with a small percentage of male flowers).
The fruit is a round to oval single-seeded berry, 3–6 cm (rarely to 8 cm) long and 3–4 cm broad,
borne in a loose pendant cluster of 10–20 together. The leathery skin is reddish (rarely orange or
yellow), and covered with fleshy pliable spines, hence the name, which means 'hairs'. The fruit
flesh, which is actually the aril, is translucent, whitish or very pale pink, with a sweet, mildly acidic
flavor very reminiscent of grapes.[4]
The single seed is glossy brown, 1–1.3 cm, with a white basal scar.[4] Soft and containing equal
portions of saturated and unsaturated fats,[7]the seeds may be cooked and eaten. The peeled
fruits can be eaten raw, or cooked and eaten: first, the grape-like fleshy aril, then the nutty seed,
with no waste.

Aromatic rambutan flowers are highly attractive to many insects, especially bees. Flies (Diptera),
bees (Hymenoptera), and ants (Solenopsis) are the main pollinators. Among the
Diptera, Lucilia spp. are abundant, and among the Hymenoptera, honey bees (Apis
dorsata and A. cerana) and the stingless bee genus Trigona are the major visitors.[4] A.
ceranacolonies foraging on rambutan flowers produce large quantities of honey. Bees foraging
for nectar routinely contact the stigma of male flowers and gather significant quantities of the
sticky pollen from male blossoms. Little pollen has been seen on bees foraging female flowers.
Although male flowers open at 06:00, foraging by A. cerana is most intense between 07:00 and
11:00, tapering off rather abruptly thereafter. In Thailand, A. cerana is the preferred species for
small-scale pollination of rambutan. Its hair is also helpful in pollination where pollen can be
hooked on and transported to female flowers.

Rambutan is an important fruit tree of humid tropical Southeast Asia, traditionally cultivated
especially in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.[8] It is a popular garden fruit tree and propagated
commercially in small orchards. It is one of the best-known fruits of Southeast Asia and is also
widely cultivated elsewhere in the tropics including Africa, the Caribbean islands, Costa Rica,
Honduras, Panama, India, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. It is also produced in Ecuador where it
is known as achotillo and on the island of Puerto Rico.[4]
Thailand is the largest producer of rambutan, with 588,000 tonnes (55.5 percent), followed by
Indonesia with 320,000 tonnes (30.2 percent) and Malaysia with 126,300 tonnes (11.9 percent)
in 2005, the three countries collectively accounting for 97 percent of the world's supply of
rambutan.[9] In Thailand, a major cultivation center is in Surat Thani Province. In Indonesia, the
production center of rambutan is in the western parts of Indonesia, which
includes Java, Sumatra, and Kalimantan.[10] In Java, the orchards and pekarangan(habitation
yards) in the villages of Greater Jakarta and West Java, have been known as rambutan
production centers since colonial era, with trading center in Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta.
Rambutan production is increasing in Australia and, in 1997, was one of the top three tropical
fruits produced in Hawaii.
The fruit are usually sold fresh, used in making jams and jellies, or canned. Evergreen rambutan
trees with their abundant coloured fruit make beautiful landscape specimens.
In India, rambutan is imported from Thailand[11] as well as grown in Pathanamthitta District of the
southern state of Kerala.[12]
Rambutans are not a climacteric fruit — that is, they ripen only on the tree and appear not to
produce a ripening agent such as the plant hormone, ethylene, after being harvested.[4]

Rambutan is adapted to warm tropical climates, around 22–30 °C, and is sensitive to
temperatures below 10 °C.[4] It is grown commercially within 12–15° of the equator.[13] The tree
grows well at elevations up to 500 m (1,600 ft) above sea level, and does best in deep soil, clay
loam or sandy loam rich in organic matter, and thrive on hilly terrain as they require good
drainage.[13] Rambutan is propagated by grafting,[13] air-layering,[13] and budding; the latter is most
common as trees grown from seed often produce sour fruit. Budded trees may fruit after two to
three years with optimum production occurring after eight to 10 years. Trees grown from seed
bear after five to six years.
The aril is attached to the seed in some commercial cultivars, but "freestone" cultivars are
available and in high demand. Usually, a single light brown seed is found, which is high in certain
fats and oils (primarily oleic acid and arachidic acid)[7] valuable to industry, and used in cooking
and the manufacture of soap. Rambutan roots, bark, and leaves have various uses in traditional
medicine[2] and in the production of dyes.

Rambutan before ripening

Rambutan cut open

In some areas, rambutan trees can bear fruit twice annually, once in late fall and early winter,
with a shorter season in late spring and early summer.[2] Other areas, such as Costa Rica, have a
single fruit season, with the start of the rainy season in April stimulating flowering, and the fruit is
usually ripe in August and September. The fragile fruit must ripen on the tree, then they are
harvested over a four- to seven-week period. The fresh fruit are easily bruised and have a limited
shelf life. An average tree may produce 5,000–6,000 or more fruit (60–70 kg or 130–155 lb per
tree).[2] Yields begin at 1.2 tonnes per hectare (0.5 tons/acre) in young orchards and may reach
20 tonnes per hectare (8 tons per acre) on mature trees. In Hawaii, 24 of 38 cultivated hectares
(60 of 95 acres) were harvested producing 120 tonnes of fruit in 1997. Yields could be increased
by improved orchard management, including pollination, and by planting high-yielding compact
Most commercial cultivars are hermaphroditic; cultivars that produce only functionally female
flowers require the presence of male trees.[2]Male trees are seldom found, as vegetative selection
has favored hermaphroditic clones that produce a high proportion of functionally female flowers
and a much lower number of flowers that produce pollen. Over 3,000 greenish-white flowers
occur in male panicles, each with five to seven anthers and a nonfunctional ovary. Male flowers
have yellow nectaries and five to seven stamens. About 500 greenish-yellow flowers occur in
each hermaphroditic panicle. Each flower has six anthers, usually a bilobed stigma, and one
ovule in each of its two sections (locules).[4] The flowers are receptive for about one day, but may
persist if pollinators are excluded.
In Thailand, rambutan trees were first planted in Surat Thani in 1926 by the Chinese Malay K.
Vong in Ban Na San. An annual rambutan fair is held during August harvest time.[14]
In Malaysia, rambutan flowers from March to July and again between June and November,
usually in response to rain following a dry period. Flowering periods differ for other localities.
Most, but not all, flowers open early in the day. Up to 100 flowers in each female panicle may be
open each day during peak bloom. Initial fruit set may approach 25 percent, but a high abortion
level contributes to a much lower level of production at harvest (1 to 3 percent). The fruit matures
15–18 weeks after flowering.
Rambutan cultivation in Sri Lanka mainly consists of small home gardens. Malwana, a village in
the Kelani River Valley, is popular for its rambutan orchards. Their production comes to market in
May, June, and July, when it is very common to observe seasonal traders along the streets
of Colombo. Sri Lanka also has some off-season rambutan production in January and February
in areas such as Bibile, Medagama, and Monaragala.
Both male and female flowers are faintly sweet-scented and have functional nectaries at the
ovary base. Female flowers produce two to three times more nectar than male flowers. Nectar
sugar concentration ranges between 18–47 percent and is similar between the flower types.
Rambutan is an important nectar source for bees in Malaysia.
Cross-pollination is a necessity because the anther is absent in most functionally female flowers.
Although apomixis may occur in some cultivars, rambutan, like lychee, is dependent upon insects
for pollination. In Malaysia, where only about one percent of the female flowers set fruit, no fruit is
set on bagged flowers while hand pollination resulted in a 13 percent fruit set. Pollinators may
maintain a fidelity to either male or hermaphroditic flowers (trees), thus limiting pollination and
fruit set under natural conditions where crossing between male and female flowers is required.


Javanese rambutan seller in Semarang, Indonesia.

Well over 200 cultivars were developed from selected clones available throughout tropical
Asia.[2] Most of the cultivars are also selected for compact growth, reaching a height of only 3–5
m for easier harvesting.
In Indonesia, 22 rambutan cultivars were identified with good quality, with five as leading
commercial cultivars: 'Binjai', 'Lebak Bulus', 'Rapiah', 'Cimacan' and 'Sinyonya',[8] with other
popular cultivars including 'Simacan', 'Silengkeng', 'Sikonto' and 'Aceh kuning'.[2] In Malaya,
commercial varieties include 'Chooi Ang', 'Peng Thing Bee', 'Ya Tow', 'Azimat', and 'Ayer Mas'.[2]
In Nicaragua, a joint World Relief–European Union team distributed seedlings to organizations
such as Ascociación Pueblos en Acción Comunitaria in 2001 to more than 100 farmers.[citation
Some of these farmers saw the first production of rambutan from their trees in 2005–2006
with development directed at the local market.
In the Philippines, two cultivars of rambutan are distinguished by their seed.[citation needed] The
common rambutan seed and fruit are difficult to separate, while the 'Maharlika Rambutan' fruit
separates cleanly from its seed. The fruit taste and size of these two cultivars are identical, but
the 'Maharlika Rambutan' is more popular with a higher price.

Nutrients and phytochemicals[edit]

Rambutan, canned, syrup pack

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy 343 kJ (82 kcal)

Carbohydrates 20.87 g

Dietary fiber 0.9 g

Fat 0.21 g
Protein 0.65 g


Thiamine (B1) (1%)

0.013 mg

Riboflavin (B2) (2%)

0.022 mg

Niacin (B3) (9%)

1.352 mg

Vitamin B6 (2%)

0.02 mg

Folate (B9) (2%)

8 μg

Vitamin C (6%)

4.9 mg


Calcium (2%)

22 mg

Iron (3%)

0.35 mg

Magnesium (2%)

7 mg

Manganese (16%)

0.343 mg
Phosphorus (1%)

9 mg

Potassium (1%)

42 mg

Sodium (1%)

11 mg

Zinc (1%)

0.08 mg

Link to USDA Database entry

 Units
 μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams
 IU = International units

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for


Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Rambutan fruit contains diverse nutrients but in modest amounts, with only manganese having
moderate content at 16 percent of the Daily Value per 100 g consumed (right table; note data are
for canned fruit in syrup, not as raw which may have different nutrient contents).
As an unpigmented fruit flesh, rambutan does not contain significant polyphenol content,[15] but its
colorful rind displays diverse phenolic acids, such as syringic, coumaric, gallic, caffeic,
and ellagic acids having antioxidant activity in vitro.[16][17] Rambutan seeds contain equal
proportions of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, where arachidic (34%) and oleic (42%)
acids, respectively, are highest in fat content.[7]
The pleasant fragrance of rambutan fruit derives from numerous volatile organic compounds,
including beta-damascenone, vanillin, phenylacetic acid, and cinnamic acid.[18]


Young rambutan fruit in Malaysia

Ripe yellow rambutan fruit in Malaysia

'Rambutan Binjai', one of the leading cultivars in Indonesia

Three colors of ripe rambutan

See also[edit]
 List of culinary fruits
 Pomology

Wikimedia Commons has
media related to Nephelium

Wikispecies has
information related
to Nephelium lappaceum

1. Jump up^ "Nephelium lappaceum". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 18

September 2010.
2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Morton JF (1987). ""Rambutan", in Fruits of Warm Climates".
Center for New Crops & Plant Products, Purdue University Department of Horticulture and
Landscape Architecture, W. Lafayette, IN. pp. 262–265.
3. ^ Jump up to:a b c H. D. Tindall (1 January 1994). Rambutan Cultivation. UN FAO. ISBN 978-92-5-
4. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m "The Rambutan Information Website". Panoramic Fruit Farm, Puerto
Rico. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
5. Jump up^ "Vietnamese tropical fruit". Retrieved 7 October 2012.
6. Jump up^ Robert E. Paull; Odilo Duarte (2012). Tropical Fruits. CABI. ISBN 978-1-84593-789-8.
7. ^ Jump up to:a b c Manaf YN, Marikkar JM, Long K, Ghazali HM (2013). "Physico-chemical
characterisation of the fat from red-skin rambutan (Nephellium lappaceum L.) seed". J Oleo
Sci. 62 (6): 335–43. doi:10.5650/jos.62.335. PMID 23728324.
8. ^ Jump up to:a b "Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum)". Fruitipedia. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
9. Jump up^ "Rambutan: origin, distribution, crop status and cultivars". International Tropical Fruits
Network. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
10. Jump up^ R. Poerwanto. "Rambutan and Longan Production in Indonesia". ISHS Acta
Horticulturae 665: II International Symposium on Lychee, Longan, Rambutan and other
Sapindaceae Plants. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
11. Jump up^ Shantanu Nandan Sharma (2006-05-07). "Thailand wants to export Rambutan, longan
to India". The Economic Times. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
12. Jump up^ Kuttoor, Radhakrishnan (2009-06-28). "Farmers taking to Rambutan cultivation". The
Hindu. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
13. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Third Regional Workshop on Tropical Fruits. Instituto Interamericano de
Cooperación para la Agricultura. 1994. p. 86. ISSN 0253-4746.
14. Jump up^ Agar, Charles; Eveland, Jennifer (2005). Frommer's Southeast Asia. John Wiley &
Sons. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-7645-7829-8. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
15. Jump up^ Gorinstein S, Zemser M, Haruenkit R, Chuthakorn R, Grauer F, Martin-Belloso O,
Trakhtenberg S (1999). "Comparative content of total polyphenols and dietary fiber in tropical
fruits and persimmon". J Nutr Biochem. 10 (6): 367–71. doi:10.1016/s0955-2863(99)00017-
0. PMID 15539312.
16. Jump up^ Thitilertdecha N, Teerawutgulrag A, Kilburn JD, Rakariyatham N (2010). "Identification
of major phenolic compounds from Nephelium lappaceum L. and their antioxidant
activities". Molecules. 15 (3): 1453–65. doi:10.3390/molecules15031453. PMID 20335993.
17. Jump up^ Sun L, Zhang H, Zhuang Y (2012). "Preparation of free, soluble conjugate, and
insoluble-bound phenolic compounds from peels of rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) and
evaluation of antioxidant activities in vitro". J Food Sci. 77 (2): C198–204. doi:10.1111/j.1750-
3841.2011.02548.x. PMID 22250923.
18. Jump up^ Ong PK, Acree TE, Lavin EH (1998). "Characterization of Volatiles in Rambutan Fruit
(Nephelium lappaceum L.)". J Agric Food Chem. 46 (2): 611–
615. doi:10.1021/jf970665t. PMID 10554286.












 IUCN Red List least concern species

 Edible Sapindaceae
 Edible fruits
 Fruits originating in Asia
 Plants and pollinators
 Medicinal plants
 Trees of China
 Trees of Indo-China
 Trees of Malesia
 Tropical fruit
 Least concern plants
 Nephelium
Navigation menu
 Not logged in

 Talk

 Contributions

 Create account

 Log in
 Article
 Talk
 Read
 Edit
 View history

 Main page
 Contents
 Featured content
 Current events
 Random article
 Donate to Wikipedia
 Wikipedia store
 Help
 About Wikipedia
 Community portal
 Recent changes
 Contact page
 What links here
 Related changes
 Upload file
 Special pages
 Permanent link
 Page information
 Wikidata item
 Cite this page
 Create a book
 Download as PDF
 Printable version
In other projects
 Wikimedia Commons
 Wikispecies
 ‫العربية‬
 Español
 हिन्दी
 Basa Jawa
 മലയാളം
 Bahasa Melayu
 Русский
 தமிழ்
 中文
49 more
Edit links

 This page was last edited on 31 March 2018, at 01:17.

 Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. By using this
site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia
Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.

 Privacy policy

 About Wikipedia

 Disclaimers

 Contact Wikipedia

 Developers

 Cookie statement

 Mobile view

 Enable previews