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Nephelium ramboutan-ake - (Labill.) Leenh.

Common Name Pulasan
Family Sapindaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Found mostly in lowland primary forests, often on river banks but rarely in swamps, usually on sand or clay[303 ].
Range E. Asia - India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Nephelium ramboutan-ake Pulasan

Public Domain
Nephelium ramboutan-ake Pulasan
Public Domain


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Pulasan or Nephelium ramboutan-ake is an ornamental fruit tree native to Peninsular Malaysia and a very closely related species to Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum). It grows 10 - 15 m in height and up to 80 cm in bole diameter. It has alternate, pinnate leaves that are oblong and dark green. The fruit is sweeter but less juicy than rambutan. It is ovoid, dark red, fleshy, and with a thick and leathery rind similar to that of rambutan but has no hairy spines. The fruit is eaten raw or cooked then made into jams and compotes. The seed is ovoid, oblong, or ellipsoidal, and light brown. Unlike rambutan seeds, pulasan seeds are edible raw and has a flavor similar to that of almonds. The seed also yields oil which is used in lamps. The roots are used to treat fevers. The wood, on the other hand, is used in construction.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Nephelium ramboutan-ake is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Nephelium intermedium Radlk. Nephelium mutabile Blume


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

Fruit - raw or cooked. The delicious white flesh of the fruit is less juicy than the rambutan (N. lappaceum), is sweeter and has a less sprightly taste[301 ]. Much eaten out of hand, it can also be used in jams and compotes[301 ]. The fruit ranges in size from 40 to 70 mm long and 40 to 60 mm in diameter[306 ]. The seed is roasted and used in the preparation of a cocoa-like beverage[301 ]. An oil is obtained from the seed[301 ]. Used in cooking[301 ].


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.

The roots have medicinal properties[418 ].


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Other Uses


Other Uses An oil obtained from the seeds is used in lamps[418 ]. The wood is hard[418 ]. A useful timber, but rarely used because the fruit is too valuable to merit the tree being felled[418 ].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Pulasan grows best in the lowland humid tropics at an elevation below 600 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 26 - 32°c, but can tolerate 18 - 38°c[418 ]. The plant cannot tolerate frost. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,000 - 3,000mm, but tolerates 1,350 - 4,100mm[418 ]. Grows best in a sunny position, tolerating some shade[418 ]. Prefers a sand or clay soil[303 ]. Succeeds in most well-drained soils[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 5.8, tolerating 4.3 - 8[418 ]. There are some named varieties[301 , 306 ]. Some of the varieties bear parthenocarpic fruit[335 ]. Being overshadowed by good rambutan cultivars, this species has little prospect of being develop for commercial cultivation[306 ]. However, it is a good potential genetic source in breeding programmes with the rambutan[306 ].


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Seed - it has a very short viability and so needs to be sown as soon as it is extracted from the fruit[303 ]. Wash the seed first to remove traces of the fruit[303 ]. When ripe, the seed germinates very quickly and grows rapidly[296 ]. Seedlings quickly produce a large root system and so need to be planted out into their permanent positions when still young[296 ]. The seed has a very short viability and needs to be sown as soon as possible after the fruit is harvested[296 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Pulasan, Meritam, Bulala, Ngoh-khonsan, Burugal, Melenjau, Mujau, Pudun,

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

India; Myanmar; Malaysia; Indonesia; Philippines; Brunei Darussalam, Asia, Brunei, Burma, Hawaii, Indochina, SE Asia, Thailand, USA,

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
Nephelium lappaceumRambutan, Hairy LycheeTree20.0 10-12 FMHSNM523

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.


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Expert comment


(Labill.) Leenh.

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.

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