Cotton Candy Berry

Mutingia calabura

  • ​Common name: Cotton candy berry, strawberry tree, Jamaican cherry, calabur tree
  • Scientific name: Mutingia calabura
  • Family name: Muntingiaceae
  • Origin: Tropical regions of Central and South America
  • Height: 25 to 40 ft
  • Width: 10 to 15 ft
  • Growth: Fast
  • Zone: USDA Zones 10 through 12
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • Salt tolerance: Low
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Prefers a moist, well-drained soil with an acidic pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
  • Moisture: Soil should be kept moist, but not waterlogged. Grows best in a humid environment.
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate
  • Pests/Diseases: Fruit flies, leaf spot, and crown gall.
  • Growing conditions: Should be grown in a warm, sunny, and humid area. It should be watered regularly when young. Once mature, it can handle short periods of drought, but the soil should be kept moist for the best results. It should also be mulched and fertilized occasionally. Make sure to give this plant plenty of room to grow, as it grows quickly and can get quite large. The time from seedling to flowering plant takes only about two years.
  • Characteristics: This plant grows to be a small tree, usually only reaching about 25 ft, although some individuals have reached up to 40 ft. The trunk is rough and fibrous. The canopy is somewhat flat and nearly parallel to the ground. Leaves grow alternately and are oblique, pointed, and fuzzy, with toothed edges. The flowers are small and white and strongly resemble strawberry flowers in appearance. The fruits are small, red, and circular, and grow abundantly.
  • Propagation: By seeds or air layering.
  • Wildlife: Birds and mammals eat the fruits. Bees are attracted to the flowers.
  • Facts: The fruits are edible, with a light brown pulp that tastes like cotton candy. A tough fiber can be harvested from the bark, which is used to make ropes and baskets.
  • Designer considerations: Due to its large size, spreading canopy, and unique fruit, it is most commonly used as a specimen planting. Its canopy provides ample shade, so it provides a great place for benches, walkways, and tables.

Location

Butterfly Garden

Cotton Candy Berry

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