Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I have in my orchard two "Jaboticabeiras", (Jaboticaba tree), a small evergreen tropical tree native to Brazil. They usually reach only to 10-25ft high, though sometimes up 40ft.
A slow growing tree, it may take 8 or more years before it bears fruit. After flowering, the fruit develops quickly, sometimes in as few as 3 weeks. In this season (October), all the branches of the tree are fruitful.

Then …it’s a delicious feast!

The jabotica averages size is one inch in diameter but can run from 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches, depending on species and variety.

The jaboticaba fruits look like purple grapes and it has a very sweet, slightly aromatic, translucent pulp with a pleasant grape flavour. The whole fruit is consumed fresh. The fruits are often used for making jelly.

Jaboticaba "is a member of the Myrtaceae (Myrtle) family and is known botanically as Eugenia cauliflora. ("Cauliflora" means that it flowers and bears fruit on the trunk, mature branches and exposed roots.). It is a relative of the guava and true myrtle. The word "jaboticaba" is said to have been derived from the Tupi term, jabotim, for turtle, and means "like turtle fat", presumably referring to the fruit pulp. Little known outside their natural range, these members of the myrtle family, are perhaps the most popular native fruit-bearers of Brazil". Generally identified as Myrciaria cauliflora Berg. , the names jaboticaba,
jabuticaba or yabuticaba (for the fruit; jaboticabeira for the tree) actually embrace 4 species of very similar trees and fruits.
Jaboticaba trees grow best on deep, rich and well-drained soil. If the trees are heavily irrigated in the dry season, they may bear several crops a year.
Propagation: By seed, which develop relatively true to their parent but grow slowly, taking up to 8-15 years to fruit. Grafting is also successfull, and can produce fruit in 3 years.

In my next post, I will introduce my beautiful Pitangueira, (Pitanga tree), also
called "Surinam cherry."

Photos by Sonia de Amorim Mascaro


  1. What an unusual sight to see the fruit growing directly from the trunk and branches. The fruit looks delicious and quite large. Would they be as large as an orange or apple?

  2. I have never imagined a tree like that. Quite remarkable and the fruit looks luscious. With your excellent description, I feel as if I can taste & smell the fruit from here!

  3. The way you describe them, I would love to eat some of those fruits. Too bad they are not exported to us!

  4. Sonia, what a treat your blog is. I feel I could wander around in your "orchard" for a long time! I'll be back.

  5. What a chance you have to live in a so beautiful country and which makes it possible to make these photographs!!

  6. Wow, I agree with what Alice said. I've never seen a tree with fruit sprouting right off the branches!

  7. Yes, I also have never seen fruit growing off the trunk. How interesting! I posted today on my blog about encountering new fruit I've never seen before. And now I come here and find more! I only wish I could taste this jaboticaba fruit!

  8. I had no idea there were so many trees so different from what I have gotten used to in other countries. A person gets to thinking there are only certain options for what nature produces. It's been very educational and the photos are beautiful.

  9. Sonia, that first photo looks like the tree has been decorated with ornaments! I've never seen or heard of such a tree.

  10. As always, Sonia, your posts are so beautiful and enlightening. It is so wonderful to be introduced to the delicious fruits that grow so far from my home.

  11. Alice, the jabotica averages size is one inch in diameter but can run from 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches, depending on species and variety.

  12. Hi Kenju, I find a site about Exported Fruits. Take a look:
    About commercial potential I quote some information: : "Jaboticabas are a significant commercial fruit in Brazil and to a limited extent in other parts of South America where they thrive. Their relative frost sensitivity combined with their slowness to fruit from seedlings is a major drawback to commercial success."

  13. Never seen or heard of anything like it. Sure sounds delightful.

  14. your comment on my blog brought me here to see your garden - what an amazing tree! I'll be back to read more about your garden, thank you

  15. Are these fruits they edible? They are very pretty!! Good end of Sunday.

  16. You have a Garden of Eden of fruit; very unusual the jaboticaba fruit. I've had lychee fruit, I actually had some today at a Chinese Restaurant.

  17. Wow that is amazing, I've never seen a tree like that, looks yummy. Thanks for sharing

  18. What an extrodinary tree. I too thought the fruit looked like ornaments.

  19. What an extrodinary tree. I too thought the fruit looked like ornaments.

  20. Sonia-

    All those amazing looking fruits have my mouth watering and I've never heard of, or tasted, any of them.
    What great flavor adventures I have to look forward to.
    Thanks again for your interesting posts.

  21. Fantastic loking tree and fruit. Do they make wine out of it since it bears resemblance to an oversized grape?

  22. Your trees and fruits are most unusual to a North American eye. They're very interesting.

    I can remember unusal trees in New Zealand, but none with fruit like you have.

    They're also very pretty.

  23. As a keen gardener in the UK, I have found your details of South American trees absolutely fascinating - especially the Jaboticaba! I have never encountered anything like these before, although we do have other members of the myrtle family in England of course. I look forward to reading more about your exotic garden!

  24. Oi,
    We have an old Jaboticaba here in our garden in Arapongas bearing fruit 3 times a year. As the fruit ripens on the tree, I enjoy many birds attracted to the sweetness, especially the humming bird
    (beija-flor). The fruit also makes a delicious but very sweet liquor.

  25. Hello Sonia,

    I have a Jaboticaba tree in my garden here in Brisbane, Australia and bears purple fruits three times a year in three weeks after rain and I place the fruit in the refrigerater and after two weeks if any fruit left I cover this fruit with water over night and it is regenerated and then I freeze these fruits without the water and is a delightful treat for a few months eaten frozen, skin and all.Mine taste like Annona custardapple flavour.

  26. Sonia, the Jaboticaba tree and are truly unusual and interesting. There is indeed a strong resemblance to certain varieties of guava. My mother here in Jamaica has one tree along with several other exotic fruit trees and it's a crowd catcher whenever it bears as it is doing right now (Apr.22,2007). Nearby is a Carambola (Star Fruit) tree and one variety of Guava, A Sweet Sop tree and two Cherry trees (i think Barbados Cherry). There is a tree here that bears quite similar, it's called Jack Fruit but the trees can grow up to 50 ft. and taller.

  27. There is a tree here also called Rolinia. It grows to a huge tree (we had to cut the top). The fruit resembles a very large Sour Sop. The skin is quite rough and ripens to a golden yellow color. The largest fruit harvested weighed 5kg. A Lychee tree is also resident in the garden.

  28. Hi, Im from St. Louis Mo and today I went to the Missouri Botanical Garden and saw this tree. Thank you for the post, your trees look beutiful and I was curious what they tasted like. I thought it might be grape like.

  29. Has anyone heard of a recipe for Japoticaba Wine ???
    I have heard the fruit makes excellent wine.
    If you have please email me asap as I have a tree with about 20kg of fruit which is all going to waste!

    Email : almelville@iinet.net.au

  30. Sonia, can you send me a picture of a jaboticaba leave so I can identify it? I think I may have a young plant, but not sure. Thanks! Norman

    my email is nasmith@btl.net

  31. this fruit is delicius, I was born in Brasil and when I was a child I loved to go to my grandparents house to climb the tree and take it fresh fruit, that looks like a grape but a litter be bigger and the skin of it a litter be tougher.recomendation from me, don't eat the seeds; well knowing of provoke constupation but you definaly should try.

  32. Montgomery Hort. ConsultingTuesday, May 05, 2009 2:05:00 PM

    I just had my first taste of one of these fruits. They taste just like a nice glass of wine. The skin is very acidic so dont eat the skin and be careful of the seeds. Great taste.

  33. I have a Jaboticaba, it almost died here in our rough South Florida winter. It is small, about 3 ft. Anyone know where I can buy another plant here in S. Florida?


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