An occasional series: Unusual edible plants that grow in South Gippsland

Babaco or Champagne Fruit Vasconcellea × heilbornii, Carica pentagona
Owoce Babako

Babaco is a medium to tall upright shrub/small tree.

Deciduous in South Gippsland, it is a papaya like plant with large pendulous hanging fruit, turning yellow when ripe in spring. This species requires regular water, and is extremely frost sensitive. It thrives in sunny moist well drained conditions.

The fruit is seedless and has tropical overtones; however it requires sugar to bring out the flavour. Suggest cutting in slices and sprinkling with sugar.

If the plant is not pruned back hard each year, the fruit will develop higher and higher on the plant, eventually resulting in a tall poorly fruiting specimen. Cut back large stems each year, leaving smaller stems to grow fruit the year after.

Propagate from cuttings. The stems should be cut into 20 cm segments when there are no leaves in spring. Leave the segments on a cool dry shelf for a week, then plant into a pot filled with potting mix and water as per normal. Roots will develop over several months, the plants will be ready for planting out in autumn.


Thank you to Rhys Freeman for this information.

IMAGE: By derivative work: Agnieszka Kwiecień (Nova) original files: [3]: from Flickr by M. Martin Vicente, CC-BY 2.0. [4]: from Flickr by M. Martin Vicente, CC-BY 2.0. Babaco.jpg: Siegert, PD. (Own work [1] [2] Babaco.jpg) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons