We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Vasconcellea x heilbornii - (V.M.Badillo) V.M.Badillo

Common Name Babaco
Family Caricaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known
Range S. America - Andes.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Vasconcellea x heilbornii Babaco

Eric Hunt flickr
Vasconcellea x heilbornii Babaco
Jeremy Cherfas flickr


Translate this page:


Babaco, Vasconcellea x heilbornii, is a small evergreen tree that is short-lived and grows about 2 m high. It is a hybrid cultivar between Vasconcellea cundinamarcensis and Vasconcellea stipulata. Of all the species in the Vasconcellea genus, Babaco is the most tolerant to cold. It produces only female flowers and can produce 30-60 fruits in a year. The fruits are eaten raw or cooked. It is fragrant and flavorful, and seedless. Plant is propagated by rooting axillary shoots.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Vasconcellea x heilbornii is an evergreen Tree growing to 2 m (6ft) by 1.5 m (5ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Carica chrysopetala Heilborn Carica pentagona Heilborn Carica x heilbornii V.M.Badillo

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[301 ]. Fragrant and flavourful[196 ]. The flavour has been likened to the taste of strawberry, with a hint of pineapple[196 ]. The fruit is usually seedless and can weigh 2 kilos[196 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses

Other Uses None known

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the highland tropics, where it is usually found at elevations of 1,400 - 2,50 metres[196 ]. It can also be grown at lower elevations in subtropical and warm, essentially frost-free temperate areas. Yields of over 100 tonnes per hectare are possible[196 ]. There are several named varieties[301 ]. The plant coppices well[196 ]. Although this species is dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants), fruits are usually produced parthenocarpically, without the need of pollen for fertilisation[301 , 670 ]. A few viable seeds will often be produced, however, if the flower is pollinated[670 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

Seed - unlikely to breed true since this is a hybrid species. Seeds are sometimes produced when the flowers are fertilized, these can be used to propagate the plant. Sow the seed in individual containers or in a nursery seedbed in light shade. Germination can be slow and difficult, taking about 30 days[670 ]. Seedlings can be planted out when 4 - 6 months old[670 ]. Cuttings work fairly well and maintain female lines that do not need pollination in order to produce fruit..

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

SOUTHERN AMERICA: Colombia, Cundinamarca, Huila, Santander, Valle del Cauca, Ecuador, Azuay, Bolívar, Chimborazo, Loja, Pichincha, Tungurahua,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(V.M.Badillo) V.M.Badillo

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Vasconcellea x heilbornii  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.