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Tree Description: The Barbados Cherry is a fast growing bushy tree that can be trained as a standard or shaped as a hedge. The fruit are sweet to sub-acid, and they are used extensively in juices throughout Latin America. The cherries are extremely high in Vitamin C, and just one has the equivalent Vitamin C content of 12 oranges combined. They are also used in jellies, jams, and they freeze without losing their Vitamin C content. Average height 12ft. Fruits May-November, sparsely most of the year. Damage Temp: 28°F
Scientific Name: Malpighia punicifolia, M. glabra
Common Names: Barbados Cherry, Acerola Cherry, West Indian Cherry, Wild Crepe Myrtle
Relatives: Pitangatuba, Suriname Cherry
Origin: West Indies, Central America
Distribution: Barbados Cherry is cultivated as an ornamental plant and for its tart edible fruits. The fruits are very rich in vitamin C and are used in preserves and commercial vitamin production.
History: The plant is thought to have been first brought to Florida from Cuba by Pliny Reasoner because it appeared in the catalog of the Royal Palm Nursery for 1887-1888. ... The plant was casually grown in southern and central Florida until after World War II when it became more commonly planted.
Importance: Barbados Cherry provides food for birds and produces enough fruits for humans also to enjoy. These versatile plants help attract birds to the yard for food and keep them there to nest when they are planted with mid-size native plants and small trees to form an understory.