Article from the Tropical Fruit News magazine of the Miami Rare Fruit Council International
by Gene Joyner




The Jaboticaba


The jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora) is a medium size evergreen tree native to Brazil, which is widely grown throughout tropical regions of the world. This is a slow growing rather bushy tree often multi-stemmed with opposite small leaves usually less than tow inches long and about three-quarters of an inch wide. The larger trunks and branches have bark which peels off in small patches, which is found to be attractive by most people.

Trees are evergreen, but once or twice during the year they will shed large numbers of leaves generally corresponding to heavy rains or other weather conditions. Flowers are produced along the larger trunks and branches and the small white flowers only last a day or two.

The fruit form on the trunks on short stems and there may be two to three fruits sometimes in a cluster. When trees are in heavy fruit, you cannot see the branches for all the large numbers of dark purplish-black fruits that look like large grapes. Fruit vary in size from about three-quarters to an inch and a half and have a white pulp with several small seeds like a regular grape does.

The fruits can be eaten fresh, used in jellies, jams, ice creams, wines or other products and the trees may produce between six to eight crops of fruit per year. Fruit development is very rapid usually taking only twenty-one to twenty-five days from flower to full maturity of the fruit.

Trees because of the slow growth lend themselves very well for growing in containers and for use for bonsais. Most trees are produced from seed and seedling jaboticabas may not fruit until six to ten years of age. Grafting can be done with jaboticabas, but usually is only done to propagate selected forms that have larger fruit or more heavier fruiting

Jaboticabas do best in acid soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.6 much like gardenias. Trees grown on highly alkaline soils often develop micronutrient deficiencies which must be corrected by frequent applications of nutritional sprays or soil amendments.

There are few insect or disease problems that affect jaboticabas, however, birds may eat mature fruit if the crop is left too long on the tree.

Trees have few pest, however, they cannot withstand much salt wind and should be protected from salt winds close to the ocean or intercoastal. Mature trees are quite cold hardy taking down to 23 degrees for short periods without serious damage. Young trees may be injured at around 28 or 29 degrees.

For best growth and fruit production plant jaboticabas in a rich organic-type soil, water once or twice a week and mulch heavily. Jaboticabas have shallow root systems that dry out quickly and thrive better when planted in heavily mulched organic soils. In their native areas jaboticabas are frequently flooded by rising rivers for weeks at a time without serious damage so they are considered quite water tolerant.



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Bibliography

Joyner, Gene. "The Jaboticaba." tropicalfruitnews.org. Tropical Fruit News, Miami Rare Fruit Council. (Palm Beach Chapter of Rare Fruit Council Newsletter). Mar. 1995.  Web. 3 Mar.2017.

Published 3 Mar. 2017 LR
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