Plinia cauliflora
Common Name: jaboticaba 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Myrtaceae
Native Range: Southeastern Brazil
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 10.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12 where it is best grown in deep, rich, acidic, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Consistent and even moisture is best. Plants perform best in frost free climates, but will tolerate an occasional light frost. Plants are intolerant of temperatures below 26 degrees F. Best fruit crop appears with cross-pollination. Plants may be propagated by seed and grafting. Seed grown plants may not bear fruit for the first 8-10 years. In colder climates, it may be grown in containers that are overwintered indoors.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Plinia cauliflora, commonly called jaboticaba (also known as Brazilian grape tree), is a tropical to subtropical evergreen tree or large shrub that bears edible, thick-skinned, grape-like purple fruits with a sweet, juicy, gelatinous, white pulp. It is native to the Minas Gerais region of Brazil. Jaboticaba fruits are very popular in Brazil. It is a cauliflorous (flowers and fruits grow directly from the trunks and large branches) member of the myrtle family. It typically grows to 10-25' tall with a dense, bushy, rounded form. Lanceolate to elliptic, leathery, opposite, evergreen leaves (to 1-4" long) are glossy dark green. Yellowish-white flowers emerge in clusters on the trunks and branches. Flowers are followed by globose purple fruits (average 1" diameter) that appear singly or in clusters. Trees may flower and fruit multiple times throughout the year (up to 5-6 times per year in native Brazil). Fruit is edible fresh off the tree (pinch each fruit between thumb and forefinger to squeeze out the flavorful pulp without eating the skin which is edible but high in tannin). Fruits are sometimes made into marmalades, jellies and wine.

Synonymous with Myrciaria cauliflora and Eugenia cauliflora.

Specific epithet refers to flowers and fruits which grow directly from the trunks and large branches.

Jaboticaba comes from the Tupi word jabotim meaning turtle (as in like turtle fat) in probable reference to the consistency of fruit pulp.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Aphids and spider mites may occur.

Garden Uses

Excellent fruit tree for frost free climates. Interesting container plant for colder climates. Bonsai.