Botanical names: Myrciaria
cauliflora Berg., M.
jaboticaba Berg., M.
Common names: English: jaboticaba; Spanish: jaboticaba; Portuguese:
jaboticatuba sabará, jaboticaba murta, jaboti-catuba,
jaboticatuba grande, jaboticaba olho-de-boi, jaboticaba-de-cabinho
Among the Myrtaceae, various species of the genera Psidium Eugenia,.
Feijoa, Myrciaria, Campomanesia and Paivaea stand out which are native
plants of neotropical flora and produce fruit of commercial value.
Jaboticaba, which has been cultivated in Brazil since pre-Columbian
times and is much in demand in the centre and south of the country, is
a promising fruit of this family. It is grown in small commercial
gardens of 500 to 1000 trees and in domestic gardens.
Jaboticaba is eaten fresh and is known on account of its outstanding
qualities, having an abundance of juice and a particularly sweet
flavour. It is used industrially for jellies and to prepare domestic
liqueurs and wines. It must be consumed immediately after harvesting,
since it does not keep well at ambient temperature and lasts no more
than three days.
The jaboticaba is a tree of medium habit, not exceeding 12 m in height,
with a voluminous and symmetrical crown, one or more trunks and many
branches. The leaves are ovate or lanceolate, 5 x 2.5 cm, smooth and
shiny. The flowers occur in short racemes which emerge from the trunk,
from the ground and on the main branches; there are four white petals
and numerous long stamens.
The fruit is a spherical berry, 2 cm in diameter in the
Sabará variety and 3 cm in the Jaboticatuba. It is grouped
in racemes of three to seven, is red initially and shiny black when
ripe. Sabará is the best variety; it produces polyembryonic
seeds and the majority of the embryos are apomictic. while Jaboticatuba
is monoembryonic with zygotic embryos. During flowering in spring,
particularly in areas with dry winters, the tree flowers abundantly
with the first rainfall, giving the impression that the trunk is
covered with snow.
Figure 26. A) Jaboticaba (Myrciaria spp.); A1 ) cross section of the
fruit; B) arazá (Eugenia stipitata)
As a subtropical, deciduous species, jaboticaba is frost-tolerant. In
tropical conditions it does not flower as abundantly as in the areas
where the winter is cold and dry. Flowering can be brought forward with
irrigation, but the flower buds must already be developed. From ten to
20 days elapse between flowering and fruiting. Fruiting is very short
and harvesting does not exceed two weeks.
The species is distributed from lat. 21°S in the state of Minas
Gerais to Rio Grande do Sul, at lat. 30°S, always at altitudes
higher than 500 m. It grows best in groups, on deep, acid and fertile
soils. However, there are wild populations which have withstood the
felling of forests in Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Rio Grande
The most widespread species, Myrciaria
cauliflora, produces apomictic embryos and, for this
reason, shows very little genetic variability, while the zygotic
species, Jaboticatuba, shows much variation but is a much rarer plant.
species are little known.
and cultivation techniques
The preferred method of propagating jaboticaba is from the seeds, which
are recalcitrant and not resistant to desiccation. They are sown 10 cm
apart in a fertile seed bed, with 30 cm between the rows. where they
remain for one year. When they are 10 to 15 cm high, they are
transplanted to the nursery with a rootball and spaced 1 m apart with 2
m between rows. They stay in the nursery from three to five years and,
when they reach 1.5 m in height, are planted out in the garden with the
rootball measuring 60 cm in diameter. The plant's growth is slow. It is
planted out at 6 x 6 m or 6 x 4 m, and it does not matter if the crowns
are close together.
Various vegetative propagation techniques are used to obtain earlier
plants, mainly through root cuttings, layering and grafts. However, the
tree's development is always slow. In this species it is advantageous
to have the greatest area of trunk and branches from which the fruit
emerges. Since early production delays the plant's development, the
only advantage of vegetative reproduction would be the possibility of
planting at a greater density, such as 4 x 2 m.
There is no advantage in the genetic improvement of jaboticaba.
However, crossing Jaboticatuba. which produces large fruit and zygotic
embryos, with the cultivar Sabará, which is of better
quality but produces smaller fruit could be recommended. As 100 percent
of hybrids would be obtained, it would eventually be possible to obtain
selections of jaboticaba bearing large fruit of better quality.
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