Blighia sapida K.D.Koenig

First published in Ann. Bot. (König & Sims) 2: 571 (1806)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is W. & W. Central Tropical Africa. It is a tree and grows primarily in the wet tropical biome. It is used as a poison and a medicine, has environmental uses and for fuel and food.


IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

LC - least concern

Extinction risk predictions for the world's flowering plants to support their conservation (2024). Bachman, S.P., Brown, M.J.M., Leão, T.C.C., Lughadha, E.N., Walker, B.E.

Predicted extinction risk: not threatened. Confidence: confident

George R. Proctor (2012). Flora of the Cayman Isands (Second Edition). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Morphology General Habit
A tree to 10 m tall, the young branchlets yellowish-tomentose; leaves 15–30 cm long, the 3–5 pairs of leaflets opposite or subopposite, glabrous above, puberulous beneath, the midrib and veins prominent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Racemes shorter than the leaves, tomentose, the flowers greenish-white, stalked, fragrant; calyx 2.5–3 mm long; petals 4 mm long, each with wide basal scale
Disc tomentose
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruits 7–10 cm long, red, glabrate outside, densely tomentose within; aril edible when ripe.
Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac. Introduced to Jamaica from W. Africa in the 1780s, and since widely planted there and to a lesser extent in other West Indian islands and elsewhere, often becoming naturalised.

Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá.

Cultivada en Colombia; Alt. 400 - 970 m.; Andes, Llanura del Caribe, Valle del Cauca, Valle del Magdalena.
Morphology General Habit

Sapindaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:2. 1958

Morphology General Habit
A forest tree 20–80 ft. high, with spreading crown and ribbed branchlets
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers bisexual and male on separate trees, greenish-white, fragrant
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsules bright red when ripe, opening to expose 3 shining black, oblong seeds, each with a large yellow or whitish aril
Native in forest outliers in the savannah regions and in drier parts of the forest regions of the eastern half of our area, but most usually seen planted near dwellings.

Biogeografic region: Andean, Caribbean. Elevation range: 400–970 m a.s.l. Cultivated in Colombia. Colombian departments: Antioquia, Atlántico, Bolívar, Huila, Magdalena, Valle del Cauca.
IUCN Red List Assessment (2021): LC.
Habitat according IUCN Habitats Classification: forest and woodland, savanna, shrubland, wetlands (inland), artificial - terrestrial.

Bernal, R., G. Galeano, A. Rodríguez, H. Sarmiento y M. Gutiérrez. 2017. Nombres Comunes de las Plantas de Colombia.

aquí, bienmesabe, biernesabe, huevo vegetal, pan, pan y quesito, quesito, seso vegetal


The fleshy arils are poisonous unless the capsules are ripe (i.e. split open) when picked, but are wholesome and nutritious if properly prepared. They are usually served with salt codfish, or sometimes with bacon.

Use Environmental
Environmental uses.
Use Fuel
Used for fuels.
Use Gene Sources
Used as gene sources.
Use Food
Used for food.
Use Materials
Used as material.
Use Medicines
Medical uses.
Use Poisons

Common Names



  • Angiosperm Extinction Risk Predictions v1

    • Angiosperm Threat Predictions
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  • Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible

    • ColPlantA 2021. Published on the Internet at
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    • Flora of West Tropical Africa
  • Flora of the Cayman Islands

    • Flora of the Cayman Islands
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    • Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew
  • IUCN Categories

    • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2023 World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
  • Kew Living Collection Database

    • Common Names from Plants and People Africa
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2023 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
  • Neotropikey

    • Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.
  • Universidad Nacional de Colombia

    • ColPlantA database
  • Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia