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Tropical Fruit Varieties

Updated on August 8, 2013

Facts About Fruits

Fruits in general, are a fleshy seed which is cultivated from a particular plant species. You will find most fruits edible with a sweet, tangy, or sour flavor in its raw form.

Fruits are considered a rich source of vitamins C and A and give you all the essential nutrients needed for a daily balanced diet. They are a natural way to boost your energy, quench your thirst, and satisfy your hunger.

Fruits are consumed as food on a daily basis by billions of people and also have many versatile uses as well. Homemade remedies, natural and organic beauty products and natural cleaning solutions are but a few ways we use fruits every day.

Tropical Fruits

Tropical fruits are cultivated and produced by trees that are native to USDA Tropical Zones.

The unique settings for trees and plants grown in the tropics are that they will not grow anywhere else in the world. Humidity and heat are a big influence in producing large, healthy, colorful, and delicious fruit year-round. Examples of Tropical fruits would be papaya, lemon, and the avocado.


Exotic Fruits

Exotic Fruits are those that are cultivated and produced outside an area that they do not usually grow. There are many tropical fruits that are considered exotic as well. Many markets and restaurants will have exotic fruits flown in from Florida, Hawaii, and Mexico which are produced in their native zones.

Accessory Fruits

Accessory Fruits such as apples and watermelon are defined as a false fruit where the fleshy part of the fruit is not derived from the ovaries (seeds) but from the hypanthia at the bottom of the plant that held the seeds.

The characteristics of an Accessory Fruit is that the fruit is a whitish-green color as it develops and eventually turns to a red, orange or yellow color when ripe. Examples of an Accessory Fruit are strawberries, apples, and watermelon.


When cross breeding two different species of fruit, the result is the hybridization of fruit that offers more nutrients, bigger fruit, and much sweeter than it’s natural form. Examples of delicious hybrids are mandarin oranges, boysenberries, and tangelos.


Fruit Categories: (The more common fruits are highlighted in bold)

Blood lime
Black Sapote
Dragon Fruit
Fairchild Tangerine
Burmese Grapes
Horned Melon
Jackfruit Velvet
Cape Gooseberry
Ceylon Gooseberry
Custard apple
Miracle Fruit
Monstera Deliciouso
Elephant apple
Passion Fruit
Giant Granadilla
Golden apple
Hairless Rambutan
Horned melon
Indian Fig
Star Apple
Indian Gooseberry
Star Fruit
Indian Prune
Sugar Apple
Wax Jambu
White Sapote
Musk Melon
Red Mombin
Rose Apple
Strawberry guava
Sweet Orange
Sweet Pepper

A Visit to Exotica Rare Tropical Fruit Nursery in San Diego, CA


Varieties of Tropical fruit

Tropical fruits are commonly found in countries that are known for warmer climates such as Hawaii, the Philippines, South America, Southeast Asia, South Pacific, Fiji, and the Caribbean. The USDA zones best for tropical fruits are areas where the sun is at the head once a year and are known for its two seasons: wet and dry. Their intolerance for frost is a common bond that tropical fruits share.

Below are several tropical fruits with a few facts and characteristics to help identify your favorites when shopping for them.

Avocado, Banana, and Bilimbi


  • The avocado is a delicious fruit with a leather-like outer skin that surrounds and protects a creamy smooth flesh that is greenish-yellow in color. Most avocados will range in weight anywhere from 8 ounces to 4 pounds depending on the variety of species.
  • Avocados are known to have originated from Mexico.
  • Varieties of the avocado are: Bacon, Haas, Lamb Haas, Reed, Zutano, Gwen, Pinkerton, and Fuerte.


  • The Banana plant is one of the easier plants to cultivate. It is considered the largest herbaceous flowering plant in the tropical fruit species. Some Banana plant species are known to grow up to 25 feet tall with leaves expanding to 9 feet in length and 3 feet wide.
  • Bananas are native to Southeast Asia.
  • There are over 1200 banana plant species. A few of the most common are: Cavendish, Hua Moa, Mysore, Apple Banana, Hawaiian Black, and Ladyfinger.


  • The bilimbi, also known as the cucumber tree cultivates a beautiful fruit that is crunchy when unripe. As it ripens, the fruit will turn from a bright green to a yellowish-green, and then fall to the ground. The outer skin is very thin and shiny while the flesh will be light green to white in color and very juicy as well as extremely sour. The bilimbi has very few seeds that are flat and brown in color. The bilimbi tree bears hundreds of fruits each year and is available throughout the year.
  • The bilimbi tree is native to Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • Since the bilimbi fruit is considered too acid for eating raw, the fruit is used mostly in soups, curries, and sauces.


Cacao, Canistel, and Damson


  • The Cacao fruit can grow up to 4-11 inches long with a diameter of 2-4 inches. Their smooth hard shell is elongated or rounded. When harvested, the cacao fruit can be obtained colors of red, orange, and yellow. The shell of the cacao fruit surrounds anywhere from 20-60 seeds that are enveloped by a very aromatic pulp, which is cream in color and sweet-sour to the taste.
  • The Cacao is native to the western and central Amazon region.
  • The Cacao is primarily grown for chocolate uses


  • The canistel fruit is often referred to as the “eggfruit” and is rarely grown within the United States. However, even though the canistel fruits are not available in most markets within the United States, they are available in Florida and are very popular with the locals there.
  • The polished exterior skin of the canistel fruit will vary in color from yellow to orange hues upon ripening. The canistel fruit has a soft flesh which is dry like a boiled egg yolk. Most of the time they are consumed fresh, but are also used for cooking and baking (particularly pies). They are also used as an excellent source in ice cream.
  • They are found in the Bahamas and similar warm and balmy climates.


  • The damson is a beautiful oval-shaped fruit that displays a dark indigo skin and opens up to a yellowish flesh. There are some varieties of damson that may have a reddish or purple skin as well. The fruit will have a sour or sweet taste.
  • The damson tree will spring forth small white flowers in the spring that have both male and female organs which are pollinated by insects. The flowers become fruits and ripen anywhere from July through November.


Lablab, Golden Apple

Lablab (Hyacinth Bean)

  • Grown as an ornamental plant in the United States, the LabLab is widely popular as a food in Africa, Asia, Central, and South America. This vine grown plant displays large broad leaves. The LabLab seeds are approximately a half inch long with colors of white to brown, and red or black.
  • Lablab is known for its uses in the grain food group, such as bread and pasta.
  • The Lablab fruit originated in Africa, India, and Indonesia

The Golden Apple (June Plum)

  • The Golden Apple is a fast growing tropical tree that can reach up to a height of 75 feet. Its tiny white flowers grow in clusters and produce a fruit that is oblong and will turn a beautiful golden yellow upon ripening. Its taste is similar to the pineapple which can be anywhere from sweet to acidic. The fruit is the same size as an average plum and grows in clusters at the end of the branches.
  • The Golden Apple tree is native to the South Pacific and the Caribbean Islands

Breadfruit (Jackfruit Family)

  • The Breadfruit is vital fruit that has been part of the Pacific for more than 3,000 years. Known to have originated from Mexico, the breadfruit is round in shape with a bumpy or spiny textured skin that is green in color. Once ripened, the breadfruit will produce a sap on the outside that will cause the fruit to appear more yellowish than green. This nutritious fruit as well as the seeds are completely edible. The breadfruit is soft and fragrant with a creamy yellowish flesh.
  • It takes approximately 2-3 years for the tree to produce fruit after planting, but will continue to produce fruit for decades.
  • The Breadfruit is used as a vegetable and can be baked, boiled, fried, roasted, and broiled.


Papaya, Sweet Orange, Watermelon

Papaya (Papaw)

  • One of the most popular and definitely the tastiest of tropical fruits is the Papaya. The Papaya is more commonly located in USDA zoned areas that have higher humidity such as Central America, Thailand, Asia and Africa, South Pacific, Australia, and Mexico.
  • The Papaya tree is also popular for landscaping purposes and is abundantly used throughout coastal and southern Texas. Rich in Vitamins A and C, this large pear shaped fruit is green, yellow and orange in color with a beautiful soft flesh ranging from a light to dark rich orange color. When cut open, you will find hundreds of shiny black pearl shaped seeds nestled in the cavities of the center of the fruit. The Papaya is available in many varieties: Kamiah, Mexican Red, Solo, Vista Solo, Waimanalo, Sunrise and Sunset, Kapoho, and Mexican Yellow.

Sweet Orange (Blood Orange)

  • The Sweet Orange is a small to large fruit that is spotted with red or yellow in color. Where the Sweet Orange can be very sweet, it can also be very sour.
  • Rich in Vitamin C and Potassium, the rind of the Sweet Orange contains essential oils that are used not only for cooking, but for perfumery and healing purposes as well.
  • The Sweet Orange is known in the following categories: Navel, Non-Acid, Blood, Mandarin, and Bitter.


  • Watermelon has been an American favorite for centuries. A fruit that is really a vegetable, the Watermelon is traced back to the cucumber and squash family that originated in Africa. The Watermelon evolved from mostly rind and seeds to a variety of large melons with a sweeter flesh, smaller seeds, and a thinner rind. Watermelon is the most preferred food for meals and snacks and thirst quencher.
  • The Watermelon has over 50 varieties including the most common: Ice-Box, Seedless, Allsweet, and Yellow Flesh.
  • Watermelons are usually grown to 20-25 pounds, but have known to grow bigger. They are oblong with a dark green rind with and without stripes and a sweet juicy flesh.


Lemon, Custard Apple, Hairless Rambutan


  • The citrus industry is one of the most important and largest industry in the world concentrating heavily in New South Wales (NSW). Australia alone produces over $200 million annually and is considered the largest fresh citrus fruit exporter.
  • The primary citrus fruits that are grown in the NSW are Valencia and Navel oranges, lemons, mandarins, limes, and grapefruit.
  • Lemons are wonderful in cooking, salads, baking, and perfect as slices in a refreshing glass of ice cold water.
  • Lemons are used as a medicinal and healing alternative and in beauty products as well.
  • Lemons are very popular in industrial cleaners and homemade products for natural cleansers and deodorizers.

Custard (Sugar) Apple

  • The Custard Apple is a sweet fleshy fruit that is white or light yellow in color and resembles the look and taste of custard. The fruit is generally round in shape or a little pine-cone shape with a sweet smelling fragrance.
  • The Custard Apple fruit grows on a small semi-evergreen tree and is indigenous to lower warmer tropical elevations that are humid.
  • Custard (Sugar) Apple trees are very popular in South Florida and rarely exceed up to 20 feet in height and width.
  • Custard (Sugar) Apple trees are very popular in South Florida and rarely exceed up to 20 feet in height and width.
  • The Custard Apple is high in Vitamin C which assists in the neutralization of free radicals in the body
  • The Custard Apple is also rich in vitamin A for healthy hair and good vision.
  • High in potassium and vitamin B6, and Magnesium for a healthy heart
  • The Custard Apple is low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium


  • The Rambutan fruit is known for its naturally reddish, sometimes orange and yellow color skin covered in hair.
  • The Rambutan fruit is basically round or oval in shape and up to six cm in diameter.
  • Grown in clusters, the Rambutan has a leather-like skin with soft, flexible thorns with a brown soft seed in the middle of a sweet opaque flesh (similar to the lychee Hairless Rambutan fruit)
  • The Rambutan’s seed is considered poisonous, however, it can be eaten after it is cooked.
  • The Rambutan tree actually looks like an overgrown Christmas tree. When the fruit is ripe, the flesh will separate from the seed quite easily and is very sweet.
  • The Rambutan fruit can be eaten by itself, or great in salads.


Musk Melons (Cantaloupe), Vanilla, Sweet Pepper

Musk Melon (Cantaloupe)

  • The Musk Melon (better known as the Cantaloupe) is generally available during the months of
  • May through September and are grown primarily in California, Arizona, and Texas.
  • The Musk Melon (Cantaloupe) is noted for its rough rind and a soft golden orange flesh that is very sweet when ripe.
  • The Musk Melon can be easily contaminated while in the field from soil and unclean irrigation water, as well as animal feces. It is very important to use a vegetable brush and scrub your Musk Melon thoroughly under running water prior to cutting and serving.
  • Looking for signs of ripeness with your Musk Melons is important to ensure a tasty, nutritious melon. A ripe Musk Melon will display a yellowish color to the rind and also a sweet pleasant aroma. By placing the thumb on the blossom end of the fruit, the melon will yield when slightly pressed.
  • Most Musk Melons (Cantaloupes) are not quite ripe when purchased in the grocery store. Be sure to set them aside for 2-4 days at room temperature to allow the melons to ripen completely. Once ripened, place melons in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to chill before cutting and serving.


  • Did you know that Vanilla is considered a tropical fruit? Vanilla is a flavor which is derived from the orchid and is used extensively as a spice or flavoring agent in cooking, baking, home remedies, and much more.
  • The United States and Europe are the largest consumers of Vanilla.
  • Approximately 1500 tons of dried Vanilla is produced annually worldwide.
  • There are approximately 150 varieties of Vanilla plant species, out of which only two are used commercially: Bourbon and Tahitian.
  • Vanilla is the most expensive spice next to Saffron.

Sweet Pepper

  • Sweet Peppers are grown in a variety of colors including green (the most popular), red, orange, yellow, and purple. There is a white pepper which is very rare and not used very often. Although the green pepper is the most commonly used, it is the least sweetest of all the pepper varieties.
  • Red peppers have more vitamins and nutrients than the green pepper. They also contain an antioxidant called Lycopene. Red peppers also have twice the amount of Vitamin C as do the green peppers.
  • Sweet Peppers are great for salads, stuffed, and baking.
  • Sweet peppers aid in normalizing your blood pressure levels and a great cancer preventive. The high Vitamin C content (especially in the red peppers) helps in preventing Blood Clotting.

Would you like to know more about tropical fruits?

What additional information would you like to have regarding Tropical Fruits?

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Elizabeth Rayen
Elizabeth Rayen | Source

About the Author

Lisa has directed and acted in musical theatre for nearly 30 years. Her musical upbringing allowed her to pursue her career in teaching and directing and continues to direct shows today. As the owner of 2 online Home Décor sites, Lisa’s passion for Rustic Living all begins with her love for the home, outdoors, and her many hobbies. Lisa loves to laugh, and she share’s that love through her comedic hubs centered on her MOM. Lisa’s passions include writing, directing, acting, photography, singing, cooking, crafts, gardening, and home improvement, including decorating. Lisa also writes under her penned name, Elizabeth Rayen.

Comments: Tropical Fruit Varieties

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    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      4 years ago from California

      Thank you so much teaches12345! I apologize for not responding earlier. Too many plates!!! ♥

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      I see fruits on here that I have never heard of before and that is so interesting! I didn't realize grapefruit was a hybrid. Thanks for the education. A very, very well done hub post! Voted up and more.

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Thank you precy anza! I'm pleased you enjoyed the hub. I love any fruit and it was so cool for me to write this hub and discover fruits I have never seen before as well. Thank you for the visit, comment, and sharing! ♥

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      Enjoyed this hub, and looking at the photos too. Some of the fruits I've never heard of before. Seeing cacao on the list made me missed the fruit, I had a taste of it a few times when a group of us girls visited a classmate and they have some cacao trees, delicious! :) Up and shared!

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Thank you IslandBites! ♥

    • IslandBites profile image


      5 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Nice informative hub.

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Thank you Thelma! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it and found it useful! ♥

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      5 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Thanks for sharing this very useful and informative hub. I have learned a lot from reading this. Voted up and more;-)

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      My dear friend Alocsin... I am so happy you caught that!..I had Mango on the list but skipped right by it when entering the fruits in the table. Good eye! Good eye!.....It has been added and FYI... it is my favorite as well! ♥

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Thank you Deb(aviannovice)! I agree, my vanilla doesn't seem to be all that much either, but apparently it is....somewhere! ha I'm pleased you enjoyed the hub and information!♥

    • alocsin profile image


      5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      What a comprehensive hub. I'm surprised that you did not include my favorite fruit, mango, anywhere on this list. They are common backyard trees in Southeast Asia. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Lisa, this was great. So many fruits that I had never even heard about before. Very impressive, and I liked the fact that you showed what each looked like. When I got my vanilla bean last month for ice cream, I must have been lucky, as I thought that it was inexpensive.

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Thank you Elisha! I have that same goal! There are so many I would love to try as well! I think of all the fruit recipe possibilities! ha ♥

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Thank you Mike! I'm pleased you liked the hub. I had a lot of fun doing the research and learning about the varieties as well. The interesting thing is that I have only touched on a handful of the tropical fruits. I had no idea of the extent of the list that seems to go on forever! Thank you for your votes and pinning!

    • Elisha Jachetti profile image

      Elisha Jachetti 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for all the information about fruit. I now understand the different classification. There are so many fruits that I have never tried and did not even know existed. I am excited to try them in the future.

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 

      5 years ago from London

      A great hub! Well written, an amazing presentation and very informative. There were many fruits that I have never heard before or I haven't tried yet. Glad you shared this hub ... I learned a lot. Voted and pinned!

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Thank you vocal coach. As with all my hubs.. I too learn so much when researching and writing them. That's one of the many things that HubPages has helped me in my writing... learning as well! I'm pleased you liked the hub. Thanks for all the sharing! You're the best! ♥

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      To say that I'm impressed with this hub is an understatement. You have presented (beautifully) so much interesting information on tropical fruit varieties. Boy have I learned a lot. For example, I had no idea that sweet and red bell peppers were fruit. I've counted these as a vegetable all these years.

      I'm eager to share this on FB, pinterest, twitter and hubpages because it is absolutely awesome!

      Thank you rusticliving for all the work and time you've dedicated to teach us all more about tropical fruits. Big, warm hugs to you! :)


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