Capulin Cherry - Prunus salicifolia HBK.
Credit: ©Trade Winds Fruit

Capuli Cherry from the Archives of the Rare Fruit 'Council of Australia

Information from California Rare Fruit Growers Inc.

Capulin from Julia Morton's book Fruits of Warm Climates

The Capulin from W. Popenoe's book Manual of Tropical and Subtopical Fruits

Fig. 1

Other Information

Height:  30', rapid growth

Spread: 15'

Leaves: 4" to 6" long with toothed edges.

Fruit: pendulant clusters of 5 to 20 fruit. Round to 3/4', deep red to purple. Pulp is green.

Season: May to August

Damage temp. 20F

PH: 5.5.-6.5

USDA: 9b-10

Semi deciduous

Full sun

Not salt tolerant

Family: Rosaceae

Note: The interior of the pit, as well as the twigs and foliage, are toxic. 3

The capulin is a true cherry and doesn't really belong with fruits of warm regions *. However, it must be included here to distinguish it from the Jamaica cherry (q.v.), for the two share a number of colloquial names. Prunus salicifolia HBK. (syns. P. capuli Cav.; P. serotina var. salicifolia Koehne), of the family Rosaceae, is most often called capulin, capuli, capoli or capolin, especially in Colombia and Mexico, but in certain parts of the latter country it is known as cerezo, detsé, detzé, taunday, jonote, puan, palman or xengua. In Colombia it is sometimes called cerezo criollo. In Guatemala, it is known as capulin, cereza, cereza común, or wild cherry; in Bolivia, it is capuli; in Eucador, capuli or black cherry. 1

Capulin Cherry trees are related to Northern Cherry trees, such as Bing Cherries. Unlike their relatives, Capulins have a dormancy period that is triggered by day length rather than by cold temperatures and therefore do not need cold winter weather to regulate their yearly flowering and fruiting cycle.

Description: The tree is upright in habit. The trunk is strong and dense; young branches are supple and tough. The capulin has good landscape value.  the tree is vigourous and grows rapidly. White, fragrant flowers are formed on medium-length racemes from January to March. The capulin deserves wider planting in 'Florida and is worthy of additional efforts aimed at improvement. 3

The trees will produce fruit 2 to 3 years after planting, and under the right conditions will set more than one crop per season. For reasons unknown trees with gray bark seem to produce larger fruit than those with darker bark. 2


Fig. 2
Bee pollinating


Culture: Capulin cherries are somewhat drought tolerant, but they grow better and produce better fruit with regular watering, particularly during the period between flowering and fruiting. Capulin cherries respond well to light applications of nitrogen fertilizer when the blossoms first appear in spring. In reasonably good soils the trees may need no more than an annual mulch of compost. The trees need very little pruning to remain productive, although some pruning is useful to keep them at a desired height and to facilitate fruit harvest. They will take radical pruning and can be grown as a fruiting hedge. 2

Propagation: Seeds but quality is variable. Selected cultivars can
be reproduced using cleft grafting and air layering


Cultivars: Until recently, the capulin was exclusively reproduced from seed.  Thererefore, the capulin is still in its infancy in terms of improvement.  Preferred cultivars include 'Ecuadorian,' 'Fausto,' 'Harriet, 'Huachi Grandem' and 'La Roca Grande.' The quality of inferior varieties and seedlings is often disappointing. 3


Diseases and Pests: Few pests and diseases affect the capulin in Florida.  In south Florida the Caribbean fruit fly pdf 6 pages sometimes invades the fruit. Mites and scales may require control. Birds occasionally raid the fruit. 3

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1 Morton, J. "Capulin." Fruits of warm climates, p. 108-109. 1987. Web. 16 Jan. 2015.

2 "Capulin Cherry." 1997. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.

3 Boning, Charles. Florida's Best Fruiting Plants: Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs and Vines. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. p. 54-55. 2006. Print.


Fig Capulin Cherry, Prunus salicifolia. N.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2015.

Fig 2 Anduze Traveller. Prunus salicifolia. 2007. Web. 17 Jan. 2015.

Published 17 Jan. 2015 LR

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