"The Tropical Acerola"
The Barbados cherry is a bright red
fruit that is round in shape and very acid to taste. When
bitten, an orange pulp is revealed surrounding 3 small seeds.
There are numerous names for this cherry, including Acerola and Wild Crapemyrtle.
However the true scientific name for this Barbados fruit is Malpighia
punicifolia L as it is a member of the Malpighiaceae
flowering plant family.
is not the only place the Acerola cherry is
There are a number of other regions where this tasty fruit can
be found including many of the other Caribbean islands in the
Lesser Antilles, Central America, South America, Southern Florida and
The Barbados cherry is found growing
on the slender
branches of the bushy, cherry shrub or
branches have smooth evegreen leaves that are dark
color. The Barbados cherry tree can reach as high as 15 feet
is typically 8 to 10 feet tall.
The Nutritional Value
of this Caribbean Cherry
cherries have been found to provide much nutritional
value. The most dominant of these is its high
vitamin C or ascorbic acid content, containing
up to 4500 mg per 100 g (4.5%) of
This has made this cherry one of the
richest sources of vitamin C as compared to a peeled orange
which only contains 50 mg per 100g (0.05%).
To put these values into better perspective, a glass of raw Barbados
cherry juice contains approximately 32
times more vitamin C than a glass of raw orange
This Barbados fruit also
contains high levels of vitmin A of about
12,500 IU per 100 g which
is almost the same level of vitamin A found in carrots and 8
times more than that found in orange juice.
A third health benefit of the Acerola
cherry is its high content of the
Trolox is an antioxidant derivative of vitamin E.
acid, which is known to reduce peroxynitrite mediated
For many years the acerola
been heavily used in Brazil and many other
countries as a natural health drink to cure an array of
ailments. These include dysentery
Here are some of the most common
health-promoting reasons to eat Barbados cherries:
Skin maintenance /
Common Colds and Flus
The Growth of the Barbados Cherry Tree
trees love lots of sunshine and well draining soil. It
is also a drought resistant shrub. This makes
perfect fit for the growth of the cherry tree
tropical sunshine and limestone base.
Barbados plant is commonly proprogated by cuttings
due to its
ease and effectiveness, however air-layering
practiced. Cutting is performed by removing a vegetative part
of the fully grown acerola tree and planting it.
This allows the formation of a new identical acerola
trees are best planted well spaced out, 10 to 15 feet apart,
and in rows. As these cherry plants like warmth and
they should be planted during the spring time after the winter
season has past. As the cuttings grow they will
get taller and the shrub will begin to spread out.
takes almost a year for Barbados cherry trees to start producing the
cherry fruit, with optimal bearing at about 3
later. Having been planted in the spring the cherries will
and be ready for picking in the winter or spring each year.
Barbados cherry changes from a yellowish to bright red colour as they
become ripe. The fruit can be picked directly from
and be eaten. It is also possible to pick the
they are yellow and leave them to ripen in a basket or
As well as eating the
cherries straight from the tree many locals use these cherries to make
juice, jam and puree.