Jaboticaba

Botanical Name:Myrciaria cauliflora
Family:    Myrtaceae
Genus:    Plinia
Species:P. cauliflora
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:   Myrtales

Synonyms:Plinia cauliflora

Common Name:Jaboticaba

Other Common Names:Brazilian Grape Tree, Jaboticaba, Jabotica, Jabuticabeira, Guaperu, Guapuru, Hivapuru, Sabará and Ybapuru (Guarani).

Habitat: Jaboticaba is native to Minas Gerais and São Paulo states in southeastern Brazil. Related species in the genus Myrciaria, often referred to by the same common name, are native to Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Bolivia.

Description:
Jaboticaba is a slow growing large shrub or small, bushy tree. It reaches a height of 10 – 15 feet in California and 12 – 45 feet in Brazil, depending on the species. The trees are profusely branched, beginning close to the ground and slanting upward and outward so that the dense, rounded crown may attain an ultimate spread as wide as it is tall. The thin, beige to reddish bark flakes off much like that of the guava.

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The evergreen, opposite leaves are lanceolate to elliptic, 1 – 4 inches in length and 1/2 – 3/4 inch wide. In color they are a glossy dark green with a leathery texture. The size, shape and texture varies somewhat from one species to another.

Small yellow-white flowers dramatically emerge from the multiple trunks, limbs and large branches in groups of four. It has been reported from Brazil that solitary jaboticaba trees bear poorly compared with those planted in groups, which indicates that cross-pollination enhances productivity.

The fruit is grape-like in appearance and texture but with a thicker, tougher skin. Most California fruit is dark purple to almost black in color. Averages size is one inch in diameter but can run from 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches, depending on species and variety. The gelatinous whitish pulp contains from one to four small seeds and has a pleasant, subacid flavor markedly similar to certain muscadine grapes. The skin has a slight resinous flavor that is not objectionable. Fruit may be produced singly or in clusters from the ground up all over the trunk and main branches, and the plant may fruit up to five times per year. Fresh fruit is delicious eaten out-of-hand and can be made into jellies, jams and wine. The skin is high in tannin and should not be consumed in large quantities over a long period of time.

Propagation: Most seeds are polyembryonic, producing a plant that is true or close to the parent plant. The seeds germinate in about one month. A suggested potting mixture is 2 parts peat, 2 parts coarse sand and 1 part coarse perlite, wood shavings or compost. Selected strains can be reproduced by inarching (approach grafting) or air-layering. Budding is not easily accomplished because of the thinness of the bark and the hardness of the of the wood. Veneer or side grafts are fairly successful. The grafted plant will fruit considerably earlier than a seedling. One may expect a grafted plant to produce fruit within three years, It can take from 8 to 15 years for a seedling to mature into a fruiting tree. It is this very slow growth that has kept this plant from becoming as popular as it deserves to be. Grafting older trees over to a different variety is inadvisable because it is the trunk and inner branches which produce the fruit. One would have to cut the tree back to a one-inch stump in order to change its fruiting nature.

Edible Uses:
The Jaboticaba fruit is purple-black in color with plum-sized fruits cluster which is directly around the stem and main branches of the tree. These fruits are grape-like in appearance and also the flavor tastes as that of grapes, being sweet with an attractive sub acid tang. The fruits skin is tougher than grapes and this aids storage and handling.

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The jabuticaba is a fresh juicy fruit that can be eaten fresh off the tree. It is also used in jellies, or left to ferment and become wine and hard liquor.

Taste-The fruit Jaboticaba’s appearance invited Trubus to taste those ripe fruits. Rosy Nur Apriyanti, Trubus reporter, picked up from the fruits. ‘It tastes sweet,’ as the grape like fruit flesh with soft texture was enjoyed by the tongue. “On the first day of the fruit picked, its flavour is like guava, and the second day it is like mangosteen, and the third day is lychee taste, the forth is passion fruit taste, the fifth is sweetsop fruit; the sixth up to the eighth is grape fruit nature of taste.” The best flavor impression is on the ninth day when fruit becomes perfectly ripe and it tastes sweet and smells good.

Medicinal Uses:
Jaboticaba is used for the treatment of hemoptysis, asthma, diarrhea and dysentery also as a gargle for chronic inflammation of the tonsils are by the caustic decoction of the sun-dry skins is agreed in Brazil. Such use of fruit also may lead to excessive consumption of tannin.

The fruit of Jaboticaba contain compounds similar to known to have positive biological effects in cranberries, grapes and other related species, including anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and the antioxidant qualities.

It is discovered that several anticancer compounds in this fruit , so scientists hope to be useful in the fight against this disease.

Other Uses: The jaboticaba makes an attractive landscape plant.
Cultural aspects:
The name jabuticaba, derived from the Tupi word Jabuti (tortoise) + Caba (place), meaning the place where you find tortoises. The Guarani name is “Yvapuru”, where yva means fruit, and the onomatopoeic word pur? for the crunching sound the fruit produces when bitten.

A traditional song from the eastern region of Bolivia refers to a young woman as having “eyes like the guapuru” (because of their soft blackness) and a mouth “as sweet as the achachairu.”

The jabuticaba tree, which appears as a charge on the coat of arms of Contagem, Minas Gerais, Brazil, has become a widely used species in the art of bonsai, particularly in Taiwan and parts of the Caribbean.

In Brazil, it is common to refer to something allegedly unique to the country as a “jabuticaba” since the tree supposedly only grows in Brazil. It is usually a pejorative expression.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.fruitsinfo.com/Jabotacaba-Exotic-fruits.php
http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/jaboticaba.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabuticaba
http://www.thegardenguru.net/edible-fruiting-tropical-plants/jaboticaba-the-brazilian-tree-grape/

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