Chrysophyllum cainito L.

Last updated: 29 April 2015

Scientific Name

Chrysophyllum cainito L.


Cainito pomiferum Tussac, Chrysophyllum bicolor Poir., Chrysophyllum bonplandii Klotzsch ex Miq. [Invalid], Chrysophyllum caeruleum Jacq., Chrysophyllum jamaicense Jacq., Chrysophyllum maliforme L., Chrysophyllum monopyrenum Spreng., Chrysophyllum ottonis Klotzsch ex Miq. [Invalid], Chrysophyllum sericeum Salisb. [Illegitimate], Cynodendron bicolor (Poir.) Baehni [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Sawu duren, pepulut [2][3]
English Caimito, starapple [2], star plum [3]
China Niu nai guo [3]
Indonesia Sawo ijo (Java); sawo hejo (Sunda); sawo kadu (Bantam) [2][3]
Thailand Sataa appoen (Bangkok) [2][3]
Singapore Chicle durian [2][3]
Philippines Caimito [2]
Vietnam C[aa]y v[us] s[uwx]a [3]
Japan Hoshi ringo, kaimito, kainitto, miruku furuutsu, suishougaki, sutaa appuru [3]
Denmark Stjerneæble [3]
Netherlands Apra, goudblad boom (Surinam); sterappel [3]
France Caimite, pomme surette, kaymit, macoucou, pomme de lait, pomme étoilée [3]
Germany Sternapfel, sternapfelbaum [3]
Portugal Ajara, cainito [3]
Spain Ablaca, aguay, caimitero, caimito, guyabillo, olivoa, pipa, sapotillo [3]
Russia Zevezdnoe iabloko, chrizofillum [3]

Geographical Distributions

Chrysophyllum cainito is indigenous to the West Indies, spread early over tropical America and now it is cultivated throughout the tropics. In Southeast Asia, it is found more in the Philippines, Thailand and southern Indo-China. [2]

Botanical Description

C. cainito comes from the family of Sapotaceae. It is an evergreen tree, conforming to Troll's architectural model, up to 30 m tall and with white gummy latex. Branchlets are numerous, plagio-tropic, brown hairy, but become hairless with age. The upright basal parts of successive leading branches align to form the trunk. [2]

The leaves are arranged alternately, spreading; oblong to obovate, measuring 5-16 cm x 3-6 cm, leathery, reddish ferruginous-sericeous on both sides, becoming hairless above and almost parallel secondary nerves are very characteristic. The petioles are 0.6-1.7 cm long. [2]

The inflorescences are axillary on current season's shoots, with 5-35 clustered, small and yellowish to purplish-white flowers. The 5 sepals are circular to ovate. The petal is tubular, about 4 mm long, with 5 lobes and ovate. There are 5 stamens while the stigma is 7- to 11-lobed. [2]

The fruit is an obovoid-spherical berry, 5-10 cm in diametre and purplish-brown or yellowish-green. The skin is thin, glossy, smooth and leathery. The flesh is purple or white, 3-12 mm thick, soft and juicy, surrounding the 4- to 11-celled endocarp, which is star-like when cut transversely. [2]

There are 3-10 seeds, flattened obovoid, measuring about 2 cm x 1 cm x 0.5 cm, purplish-black, with chartaceous testa and a large lighter-coloured hilum. [2]


C. cainito grows successfully on almost all types of soil and within a range of climate. Throughout Southeast Asia, it thrives in the lowlands (up to 400 m elevation) and in areas with a distinct dry season. Undue loss of leaves and less juicy or even shriveled fruit indicate that drought is too severe and irrigation is needed. Fertile, well-drained and slightly acidic soils are preferred. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of C. cainito L. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Chrysophyllum cainito L.[homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 26; cited 2015 Apr 28]. Available from:
  2. Dela Cruz Jr FS. Chrysophyllum cainito L. In: Verheij EWM, Coronel RE, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 2: Edible fruits and nuts. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific Publisher, 1991; p. 115-117.
  3. Philippine Medicinal Plants. Caimito. Chrysophyllum cainito Linn. [homepage on the internet] c2014. [updated 2014 Nov; cited 2015 Apr 29] Available from