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What is so Fascinating About the Jabuticaba Tree?

Trees are some of the amazing things on our planet. They don’t move, but they are classified as living organisms. In addition to this, they are highly beneficial to humans. But have you heard about the Jabuticaba tree? What makes it so unusual?

The Jabuticaba Tree or the Brazilian Grape Tree is unique for growing the berries on their trunk. They are quite popular in Brazil, that the sidewalks of some towns are stained from the discarded skins of the fruit.

Facts About the Jabuticaba

The Jabuticaba or Plinia cauliflora is part of the myrtle family with edible fruits. The tree is native to southeastern Brazil. Over the years, they have been introduced to other regions like the western and southern states of America. The fruits of the Jabuticaba can be eaten raw. In Brazil, locals use them to make wine and jelly.

The trees form a dome-shaped top, and they can grow as tall as 40 feet in height. The leaves are smooth and oval. They also vary in size; some leaves are as small as 0.75 inches, while others are as big as 3 inches. The tree also has tiny flowers that grow in clusters directly on the branches and trunk of the tree. The berry itself has a purplish maroon tone. Each fruit would have one to four seeds and a juicy translucent pulp. (Source: Britannica)

How Did The Jabuticaba Tree Get Its Name?

The name Jabuticaba is derived from the Tupi word jabuti and caba, which literally translates to tortoise and place, respectively. Loosely, the term was meant to say the place where tortoises are found. Others have interpreted the name to mean like turtle fat, which refers to the white translucent pulp of the fruit. (Source: College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources)

What is the Ideal Environment for the Jabuicaba Tree?

The Jabuticaba Tree relies on a large amount of water. In order for the tree to flower, rain or proper irrigation is essential. It is also important to plant these trees deeply in well-draining soil. This is exactly why the tree thrives in more tropical conditions. Trees in Hawaii can produce a maximum of six crops a year; depending on the weather, the size of the fruit is affected.

Wilson Popenoe, a plant explorer, and horticulturist wrote about the Jabuticaba Tree in the early 1900s. He noted that the trees in Brazil were 15 feet apart and were technically too close to each other, which restricted its growth. He felt that they should be at least 30 feet apart to maximize their potential. (Source: College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources)

How Can You Utilize the Fruits of the Jabuticaba Tree?

The fruits of the Jabuticaba Tree grow uniquely. Instead of hanging on a branch like most fruits, the Jabuticaba fruit grows directly on the trunk.

In Brazilian markets, the Jabuticabas are consumed as fresh fruits. They begin to ferment after 3 or 4 days from harvesting; at that point, they turn them into jelly, tarts, wine, and liqueurs. Since they have a short shelf-life, fresh Jabuticabas are rare to find in markets that do not grow the tree within the area. (Source: College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources)

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