There are many wild edible liana fruits in the tropical region.  When you are in the Indonesian rain forest if you are lucky you will see one of the wild edible Liana fruit.  The fruit’s appearance is unique.  At first glance, it may look like a sugar apple.  When it is young, the fruit color is light green. But, when they are ripe enough, their color is turning to yellowish-orange.

What is Liana?

Liana is a woody vine. Their population in the rainforest is very abundant. From small to large size. One well-known example of a liana is the rattan. However, apart from rattan, there are many other lianas. Approximately, there are more than 2000 species of lianas growing in the Indonesian rainforest.

In the beginning, Liana will start their life cycle by germinating their seeds in the soil. Along with getting bigger in size, Liana creeps on the surrounding trees. The goal is to find direct sunlight above the forest canopy. Liana only uses other trees to climb and make their leaves have a chance to do photosynthesize with direct sunlight. Meanwhile, the liana still relies on the water supply from its roots which continue to grow in the soil during her life.

Kadsura scandens one of wild edible liana fruits

As one of Indonesia’s endemic plants, this species has several local names. In some areas, this species is called Sibau sira (North Sumatra), Mendulai (South Sumatra), Hunyur Buut, Kilembu, Susu Munding (West Java).

Kadsura scandens - Wild Edible Liana Fruits
Fruit season of Kadsura scandens in the West Java rainforest

Kadsura scandens is easy to find in rainforest habitats to mountains, with a maximum altitude of 2400 meters above sea level. When in the forest, it is rather difficult to distinguish Kadsura scandens from several other Liana species. Especially if it’s just a stem without leaves. Some Liana has almost the same appearance. Its distributed in the Indonesian rainforest, covering Sumatra, Java, and Bali.

Botanical description

This species is a vine with stems that can reach a length of 15 meters. The bark is brown. Stem diameter varies from 5-10 cm. During the rainy season, this plant will produce a lot of shoots in some parts of the stem.

Single leaves are arranged alternately with oblong or egg-shaped strands. The leaves are quite thick. The shape of the leaf base is blunt to flat, except for juvenile leaves which are sometimes wedged. Leaf margins flat, with pointed ends of the strands.

The Flower of Kadsura scandens is unisexual. It has different attractive colors on each layer of the sepals. The outer sepals are pale yellow, and the inner sepals have a reddish color. Each female flower has 50-100 ovules. While male flowers have more than 30 anthers.

The fruit is round with an oval at the bottom part. The fruit is also unique because fruits in being segmented. Generally, their fruits have 40 to 100 single fruit, with orange color when it’s ripe. Every single ripe fruit contains seeds.

The ripe fruit of Kadsura scandens

Is their fruit edible?

Ripe fruit is edible. The fruit is juicy and has a slightly sour taste.  When you want to eat the fruits, choose only those that are really ripe. While you are in the forest, the fruit can be used as a source of nutrition.

The uses of Kadsura scandens as wild edible liana fruits

The roots, stems, and fruit of Kadsura scandens contain bi-benzocyclo-octadecanoid (kadsurin), and triterpene lactones (kadsulactone). In traditional medicine, Kadsura scandens is useful for treating several kinds of diseases.

In North Sumatra, the roots and stems are used to treat rheumatism and as an expectorant. While the sap is drunk to treat urinary problems, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Another use of sap is to treat skin diseases.

The bark is used to cure fever. The fruit can be consumed and also used as an astringent. An easy recipe for treating cough and phlegm. Is to boil the roots and stems with water, then drink the water. Or, you can also eat the fruit directly.  The leaves are used to treat digestive tract disorders, broken bones, and external wounds.

Muryanto Paiman

always love to learn from nature.  Passionate on studying plants in some aspects: the DNA, Identification, propagation, and their uses