Friday, June 3, 2011

Barbados Cherry

I have this bush in the garden which I really like for the flowers and the fruits and is very attractive to bees, butterflies and birds but was not able to identify the plant until recently. I asked at the GCS Forum and Wisteria told me that it was Barbados Cherry (Malpighia glabra). It is also variously known as Acerola or West Indian Cherry.

This is the Barbados Cherry bush in my garden.

I think I got it more than two years ago from the Satok Market in Kuching. It took a while to get established and is very slow growing. Only in the last year or so, did it started branching out profusely and is now a nice bush - not having been pruned at all.

When it blooms, the plant is really beautiful with masses of small but beautiful pink flowers. Lots of bees and butterflies visited this bush.

The fruits are the size of small cherries and they looked like cherries. Birds seem to like them!

Close-up of the fruits ....

The plant with the fruits looks really nice and is very popular with our visitors. I have eaten the fruits - really sour but edible and I have tried making juice with it - nice cold drink for a hot day! According to a University of Florida report :

The flesh is yellow-orange and very high in vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Vitamin C content ranges from 1000 to 2000 mg per 100 gm in the edible portion of fully ripe fruit and may be as high as 4500 mg per 100 gm in partially ripe fruit. A single fruit of some selections could supply the daily adult requirement of vitamin C. The fruit from most seedlings is rather tart but from some it is sub-acid to almost sweet. The more acid fruit has the higher vitamin C content. 

The plant self-sows but you can use the stones from the fruits. It takes a while - just be patient!!

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