Barbados Cherry, Malpighia emarginata
Habitat and Distribution
Malpighia emarginata is originally from Yucatán, and can be found in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, South America as far south as Peru, and the southeast region of Brazil, and in the southernmost parts of the contiguous United States (southern Florida and the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas). In Florida, it can be grown in protected locations as far north as Cape Canaveral. It is cultivated in the tropics and subtropics throughout the world, including the Canary Islands, Ghana, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, India, Java, Hawaii, and Australia.
Acerola is an evergreen shrub or small tree with spreading branches on a short trunk. It is usually 7 - 10 ft tall, but sometimes reaches 20 ft in height.
Cultivation & Culture
Mature trees can survive brief exposure to 28º F. Young plants are killed by any drop below 30º F. It prefers dry, sandy soil and full sun. The tree does well on limestone, marl and clay, as long as they are well drained. The pH should be at least 5.5. Elevation to 6.5 significantly improves root development. Acid soils require the addition of lime to avoid calcium deficiency and increase yield. On limestone soils, sprays of minor elements–copper, zinc, and sometimes manganese–will enhance growth and productivity. Mature plants will bear better if thinned out by judicious pruning after the late crop and then fertilized once more.
Because of its shallow roots, it has low tolerance to winds. USDA Zones — 9 – 11
After approximately three years, trees produce significant numbers of bright red cherry fruits. Fruits are in pairs or groups of three, and each contains three triangular seeds.
They are juicy and very high in vitamin C and other nutrients. About 1677 mg of vitamin C are in 100 g of fruit. They are divided into three obscure lobes and are usually acidic to subacidic, giving them a sour taste, but may be sweet if grown well. Barbados cherries also have antifungal and antibacterial properties. A comparative analysis of antioxidant potency among a variety of frozen juice pulps was carried out and among the 11 fruit pulps tested, Barbados Cherry was the highest-scoring fruit, meaning it had the most antioxidant potency, with a Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity score of 53.2 mg.
In Florida, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and Hawaii the fruiting season varies with the weather. There may be a spring crop ripening in May and then successive small crops off and on until December, but sometimes, if spring rains are lacking, there may be no fruits at all until December and then a heavy crop.
For home use, as dessert, the fruits are picked when fully ripe. For processing or preserving, they can be harvested when slightly immature, when they are turning from yellow to red. As there is continuous fruiting over long periods, picking is done every day, every other day, or every 3 days to avoid loss by falling.
In 1956, workers at the University of Florida's Agricultural Research and Education Center in Homestead, after making preliminary evaluations and selections, chose as superior and named the 'Florida Sweet', a clone that was observed to have an upright habit of growth, large fruits, thick skin, apple-like, semi-sweet flavor, and high yield.
Acerola is a popular bonsai subject because of its small leaf and fruit, and fine ramification. It is also grown as an ornamental and for hedges. It is one of three ingredients in a proprietary herbal medicine for allergic rhinitis.
Easy handsome plant with deep green foliage, beautiful pink flowers and bright red fruit.
The most serious disease of Barbados cherry is root-knot nematode.
The Barbados cherry tree will grow and fruit fairly well with little care.
️ Winter Shipping! = add a Heat Pack
See notes below...
Safely shipped bare or semi-bare root in sterile medium.
Buyer assumes all risk due to state agricultural regulations and bare root shipping.
Please track and be available to receive your plant when it arrives to avoid damage due to extreme temperatures, lack of humidity, etc.
To avoid risk of damage to plants during delivery, please do not place an order when extreme temperature or weather conditions are likely.
️Winter shipping - protect your plant(s) with a Heat Pack add-on! A northerly route and or possible delays during shipping could damage your tropical plant(s). If you did not add a heat pack to your order we cannot be held responsible. https://www.ebay.com/itm/163356505959
All of our plants are grown in various amounts of shade, therefore your plants will require a slow introduction into appropriate amounts of sun.
In almost all cases your plants will benefit from providing an environment with enhanced humidity until root function has normalized.
For all items "quantity available" greater than ( 1 ) item shipped may not be actual item in the photo.
Titles refer to growing container size appropriate for plant being sold. Plant size may vary accordingly.
All "Fresh & Clean" seed from a proven viable source. Typical germination rates provided on request. Germination not guaranteed due to use of various individual germination techniques.
Return policy: If for any reason your order arrives in poor condition due to negligence on our part, we will gladly refund the purchase price or send a replacement. Buyers must please send a notification within ( 1 ) day of arrival describing the problem accompanied by photos of the un-altered plant in its original packing material.
Plant / tree propagation is from seed unless method such as cutting or grafting is stated.
Questions ? Don't hesitate to ask. We're happy to help !
Daniela & Dave,
Let's Grow Florida !