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Tropical Fruit Point


  • Common name: Jaboticaba, jabuticabeira, Brazilian grapetree
  • Scientific name: Myrciaria cauliflora
  • Family name: Myrtaceae
  • Origin: Brazil
  • Height: 12 to 30 ft
  • Width: 12 to 18 ft
  • Growth: Slow
  • Zone: USDA zones 10b-11
  • Light needs: Full sun or part shade (full sun is optimal)
  • Salt tolerance: Low
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Tolerates any soil texture as long as it drains well. Prefers a slightly acidic soil pH between 5.5 and 6.5 but can be grown in higher pH soils with fertilization.
  • Moisture: Soil should be kept consistently moist. Prefers humid conditions.
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate. Can tolerate short periods of drought, but it will reduce growth and fruit production. Irrigation is required in extended droughts.
  • Pests/Diseases: Susceptible to myrtle rust, a fungal disease that affects species in the Myrtle family and has been introduced in Florida. Other than that, there are few serious diseases that affect this plant.
  • Growing conditions: Should be grown in a sunny, humid area with consistently moist soil. Young plants can be grown in partial shade; however, fully grown plants should ideally be grown in full sun or with only afternoon shade. Its generally not a high-maintenance plant, but special attention should be given to the soil to make sure it doesn’t dry out. If grown in high pH soils, it should be fertilized a few times per year. If you’re growing this plant for its fruit, then it should be planted near other Jaboticaba trees, as cross-pollination has been shown to increase the amount of fruit. It can tolerate mild, brief frost.
  • Characteristics: This unique-looking tree grows to be around 12 to 20 ft, although some individuals have reached over 30 ft in height. Each tree has multiple trunks. The bark is reddish-brown and peeling. Leaves are lanceolate and pointed, growing oppositely from each other along the stem. Rather than growing on the branches, the flowers and fruit grow directly on the trunks. Flowers are small, white, and fuzzy in appearance, resembling clusters of snow from a distance. Berries are glossy dark purple, over an inch in diameter, and edible. It flowers and bears fruit year-round, but the greatest amounts of fruit are seen in the spring.
  • Propagation: By seeds or by grafting. Keep in mind that plants grown from seed may take up to 20 years to bear fruit, white grafted plants usually only take around 5.
  • Wildlife: Pollinators are drawn to the flowers. Animals of many different types eat the fruit.
  • Facts: The flavor of the fruit has been compared to muscadine grapes. The skin shouldn’t be eaten in large quantities due to high amounts of tannins, but the flesh is safe to eat in large amounts. The fruit has a short shelf life of only a few days, so it is usually only sold in markets and not in grocery stores. It is also made into jam, jelly, tarts, and other treats.
  • Designer considerations: It is most often used as a landscape specimen, often being planted near doors, patios, and walkways due to its unique appearance and interesting fruit. The understory should be entirely clear around it so that the flowers and fruit are visible and easily accessible.