Fruits & Vegetables


Botanical Name: Nephelium ramboutan-ake
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Nephelium
Species: N. ramboutan-ake

*Litchi ramboutan-ake Labill.
*Nephelium mutabile Blume

Common Names : Pulasan, kapulasan (Indonesia), Ngoh-khonsan (Thailand) and Bulala (Philippines)

The pulasan is native to Peninsular Malaysia. Wild trees are infrequent in lowland forests around Perak, Malaysia but abundant in the Philippines at low elevations from Luzon to Mindanao. The tree has long been cultivated in the Malay Peninsula and Thailand; is rarely domesticated in the Philippines. Ochse reported that there were extensive plantings in Java only around Bogor and the villages along the railway between Bogor and Jakarta. Found mostly in lowland primary forests, often on river banks but rarely in swamps, usually on sand or clay.

The name pulasan comes from the Malay word pulas (twist) related to “pilas” (remove) of Tagalog. The fruit is opened through the act of twisting the fruit with both hands, thus the name pulasan.

Pulasan is a semi-deciduous, ornamental tree. It attains a height of 10–15 m and has a short trunk to 30–40 cm thick. The branchlets are brown and hairy when young. The alternate leaves, pinnate or odd-pinnate, are 17–45 cm long, have 2 to 5 pairs of opposite or nearly opposite leaflets, are oblong or elliptic-lanceolate, 6.25-17.5 cm long and up to 5 cm wide; slightly wavy, dark-green and barely glossy on the upper surface; pale, and somewhat bluish, with a few short, silky hairs on the underside. Very small, greenish, petalless flowers with 4-5 hairy sepals are borne singly or in clusters on the branches of the erect, axillary or terminal, panicles clothed with fine yellowish or brownish hairs.

The pulasan is ultra-tropical and thrives only in very humid regions between 360 and 1,150 ft (110–350 m) of altitude. In Malaya, it is said that the tree bears best after a long, dry season.

The fruit is ovoid, 5-7.5 cm long, dark red, with its thick, leathery rind closely set with conical, blunt-tipped tubercles or thick, fleshy, straight spines, which are up to 1 cm long. There may be one or two small, undeveloped fruits nestled close to the stem. Within is the glistening, white or yellowish-white flesh (aril) to 1 cm thick, more or less clinging to the thin, grayish-brown seedcoat (testa) which separates from the seed. The flavour is generally much sweeter than that of the rambutan. The seed is ovoid, oblong or ellipsoid, light brown, somewhat flattened on one side, and 2 to 3.5 cm long.

While very similar to rambutan, the fruit lacks the hairy spines. The flesh is very sweet and juicy, and separates easily from the seed, much more easily than the rambutan. In addition, unlike the seed of the rambutan, the seed of the pulasan is readily edible raw. It has a flavour somewhat similar to that of almonds.

There are two varieties of Pulasan one is dark red and the other one is light red. The dark red fruit haves a seed that separates easily from the flesh whereas the light red fruit haves a seed that sticks on to the flesh of the fruit.


Pulasan grows best in the lowland humid tropics at an elevation below 600 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 26 – 32°c, but can tolerate 18 – 38°c. The plant cannot tolerate frost. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,000 – 3,000mm, but tolerates 1,350 – 4,100mm. Grows best in a sunny position, tolerating some shade. Prefers a sand or clay soil. Succeeds in most well-drained soils. Prefers a pH in the range 5 – 5.8, tolerating 4.3 – 8. There are some named varieties. Some of the varieties bear parthenocarpic fruit. Being overshadowed by good rambutan cultivars, this species has little prospect of being develop for commercial cultivation. However, it is a good potential genetic source in breeding programmes with the rambutan.

Pulasan can be propagated by seed and grafting methods. Grafting is a common practice among horticulturalists that often is a proactive method of preventing disease, by using healthy rootstocks. Though starting by seed can be successful, most producers will not use this method of propagation due to variation in gender, which causes chance in having an actual fruiting tree.

Edible Uses:
Pulasan is usually eaten fresh, though it resembles much like Rambutan, it is different from Rambutan and haves its own characteristics. The flesh of the red tropical fruit is either eaten raw or made into a jam. The seeds of the exotic fruits are boiled or roasted to prepare a beverage resembling cocoa.

Nutrition Facts of Pulasan:
Per 100 g of flesh of pulasan fruit contains about 84.54 percent to 90.87 percent of moisture and other nutrition benefits.

Nutrients……. Amount
Protein……… 0.82 g
Carbohydrates…. 12.86 g
Fiber……………… 0.14 g
Fat…………. 0.55 g
Calcium …………….0.01-0.05 mg
Iron………… 0.002 mg
Vitamin C……. 11 mg

Medicinal Uses:
The decotion of the fruit is highly used bathing fever patients.The roots have medicinal properties.

Other Uses:
An oil obtained from the seeds is used in lamps. The wood is hard. A useful timber, but rarely used because the fruit is too valuable to merit the tree being felled.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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