With its bright red spikes and sweet, juicy flesh, the rambutan fruit is an exotic treat for lovers of tropical flavors. While dozens of rambutan varieties exist, one stands out as truly exceptional – the R5 Rambutan. This special cultivar offers supersized health benefits plus outstanding productivity for growers. Read on to learn why the R5 Rambutan is poised to become the world’s next great superfruit.
Origins of a Prized Variety
Most rambutan trees produce fruit only once annually, but the R5 Rambutan was developed to yield two generous harvests per year. This commercially valuable trait resulted from over two decades of collaborative research between horticulturists Dr. Roy Parikh and Dr. Vichitra Intharasombat.
In the 1990s, Parikh began studying elite rambutan varieties at the University of Hawaii. He took a particular interest in a tree on the island of Oahu that displayed unusual productivity. As Parikh told us, “This rambutan tree fruited in both spring and fall, much longer than others. I knew it was special.”
Parikh joined forces with Thailand-based Intharasombat, an expert in tropical fruit genetics. Over years of careful breeding, they selected offspring that retained the prized twice-annual fruiting ability. The culmination of this work was the R5 Rambutan, introduced in 2007. Its name recognizes the five universities that contributed to its development.
Remarkable Fruiting Cycle
So what makes the R5 Rambutan capable of such prolific fruit production? As Intharasombat explained, most rambutan trees alternate between vegetative and reproductive growth phases. But the R5 cultivar can fruit and flower concurrently. Rambutan is unusual among tropical trees in that individual branches flower and fruit independently. With its shortened flowering cycles, the R5 takes advantage of this fact.
While a single tree will not supply ripe R5 Rambutans year-round, the dual fruiting provides continuity of yield. Growers use strategic plotting and staggered planting to ensure season-long production. Proper fertilization and irrigation optimize the yields.
For homeowners, the R5 Rambutan offers an extended season of fruiting enjoyment compared to standard varieties. With extra harvests to share, it makes an ideal garden addition.
Superior Fruit Quality
In addition to its extended fruiting ability, the R5 Rambutan delivers outstanding fruit quality. The ruby-hued spikes encase tender, juicy flesh with high sugar content balanced by pleasant acidity. When ripe, the flesh detaches easily from the seed – a trait that earns the R5 high consumer appeal.
According to flavor chemist Dr. Hou Han, “The R5 represents an exquisite blending of sweet and tart flavors. Analytical profiling shows it is among the most perfectly balanced rambutan varieties.”
With an enticing aroma and satisfying texture, R5 Rambutans offer a scrumptious treat. Their rich taste even shines through when processed into jams, jellies, or juices.
Beyond its ambassadorial flavor, the R5 Rambutan provides ample nutrition. The fruit is packed with vitamin C – nearly 40% of the recommended daily allowance per 100g serving. It also supplies decent amounts of calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and magnesium.
Nutrition scientist Priya Menon notes, “I’m most excited by the R5’s antioxidant content. Tests show it has even higher levels of gallic acid and other antioxidants than standard rambutan varieties. These compounds help combat inflammation and oxidative cell damage.”
Rambutan seeds are also edible and contain oils similar to almond or olive oil. R5 seeds make a crunchy, nutritious snack.
For commercial growers, the R5 Rambutan’s yields and fruit size spur profitability. But harvesting its copious fruits presents challenges. Left to over-ripen, the thin-skinned fruit easily cracks and rots. Timely harvesting is essential.
Once picked, R5 Rambutans have a short shelf life of just 2-4 days before quality declines. Growers must quickly cool and transport fruits to market. Supply chain efficiency is key.
Despite the care required in cultivation and handling, the R5 Rambutan commands premium pricing for its productivity and superlative eating quality. As production expands, this up-and-coming superfruit is poised to conquer new territory.