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Stories articles and news abot Alison and Digby Gotts


The Samoan Experience
Three days in Tafua
EcoTour Samoa
The Samoan Election
Pruning the Mangoes
Climbing Mt SiliSili
Fourth week in Samoa

Samoan Observer Articles:

Why is there no fruit on my mango?
Want more mangoes next year?
Green oranges or orange oranges?
In search of a Samoan Orange
The Hardest Cut
Rambutan - hairy thing from the forest
Rambutan revisited
Abiu - the emporer's golden fruit
Avocado - fruit or vegetable?
Carambola - star of the rainforest
Durian - the extreme tropical fruit
Rollinia - lemon meringue pies growing in the garden
Sex and the single pawpaw
Soursop - a taste sensation
The mulch story
Do it yourself pest control
The joys of soapy water!
The hungry fruit tree
Positive insects



(One of a series of articles about growing fruit trees in Samoa, written by Digby Gotts and published in the 'Samoa Observer' between December 2000 and April 2001)

Sounds a bit far fetched? Not a bit of it. I even have chocolate pudding fruit and vanilla ice cream fruit arriving soon! Rollinia is becoming well known to visitors to Nafanua and is rapidly becoming the favourite fruit for many Samoans after their first taste. In the absence of any Samoan name, they are being called Sasalapa palangi (or Sasalapa samasama) as they are distantly related to the much more familiar soursop or sasalapa. Once ripe, this fruit is too soft to be easily moved, and the skin turns black rapidly after picking, so the fruit rarely looks at its best once it is off the tree. For these reasons it is unlikely to ever become popular commercially. However these problems are irrelevant for your own tree growing nearby as you can harvest your own fruit as they ripen.

The fruit are picked when they are mostly yellow. At this stage they should be about 6 inches across, weighing 1-2 kilograms each, with soft “fingers” poking out all over. As the fruit continues to ripen, the fingers turn black within hours, the rest of the fruit also going black over the next two days. The fruit flesh inside stays quite tasty and edible in spite of this external appearance. The flesh itself should be white and fibre free with a jelly texture, and seeds spread through it rather like watermelon. Taste is truly that of my mum’s lemon meringue pie.

The fruit appear to suffer none of the usual pest problems of Samoa. The thick skin protects them from attack by the fruit piercing moth as well as fruit fly. Soft spots inside apparently undamaged fruit are due to rough handling. The flesh is bruised although no sign of this need show on the outside. This can even happen to fruit simply left on a hard surface, as their own weight will bruise them!

Rollinia grow very well from seed, although one out of every ten seems to fail to set fruit for unknown reasons. They should be planted in well drained soil as they are very prone to root rotting diseases. In Samoa, they seem to fruit throughout the year although a larger harvest occurs over Christmas time. They should be fed small amounts (500 gm) of a simple fertilizer every few months. Watch out for dead branches as this indicates root rot problems and you may need to plant again somewhere else. Remove dead or dying branches as soon as you see them. Pruning this tree should be done at any time in small amounts, as cutting away too much wood will stop it from flowering and fruiting for several months.

These trees (as well as many others) are available from Nafanua, ready for planting out.


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Last updated November 6, 2014