Malpighia emarginata or also known in various names such as acerola, Barbados cherry, West Indian cherry, and wild crepe myrtle is an evergreen shrub or small tree with a short bole and spreading branches. It usually grows about 2-3 m in height. The branches are brittle.
The leaves are simple ovate-lanceolate, opposite, and with small hairs. The flowers are bisexual with five pink or red petals. The fruits are bright red drupes, juicy, and has high vitamin C content making the fruits taste sour. The fruits are edible, usually eaten raw but also made into juices, baby food, jam, etc. Acerola is native to South America, southern Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Central America. It is also grown as ornaments and for hedges.
Malpighia emarginata is an evergreen Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
Malpighia berteroana Spreng. Malpighia glabra Hort. Malpighia lanceolata Griseb. Malpighia punicifol
Edible Parts: Fruit
Fruit - raw or cooked[301 ]. The bright red fruit can range in flavour from sweet to somewhat acid[296 , 301 ]. As well as being eaten out of hand, they can also be stewed, made into juices, sauces, jellies, jams, wines or purees[301 , 317 ]. The fruits are very rich in vitamin C (1 - 4 g per 100 g juice)[296 , 317 ]. They are widely used in the preparation of vitamin tablets and other nutritional supplements[301 ]. The juice is added to other juices in order to improve their nutritional value[317 ]. Plants can produce 2 - 3 crops of fruit a year[296 ].
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Our new book Edible Shrubs is now available.
Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.
Agroforestry Uses: Grown as a hedge[317 ]. Other Uses None known
Easily grown in a good soil and a sunny position[296 ]. Seedlings can fruit when only 2 - 3 years old, but are not always of as good quality as their parents[296 ]. Flowering Time: Mid Spring Late Spring/Early Summer. Bloom Color: Pink. Spacing: 15-18 in. (38-45 cm) 18-24 in. (45-60 cm) 24-36 in. (60-90 cm) 36-48 in. (90-120 cm) 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m) 6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m).
Disclaimer: The image is for reference purposes only. The actual product may vary in shape or appearance based on climate, age, height, etc.