The Jamaica Cherry

Jamaica Cherry

Jamaica Cherry


Morton, J. 1987. Jamaica Cherry. p. 65–69. In: Fruits of heat climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.

Muntingia calabura L.

It is a minor however well-known and healthful fruit, borne by a multipurpose tree and due to this fact deserves inclusion. The Jamaica cherry, Muntingia calabura L., is a member of the household Elaeocarpaceae. It has acquired a large assortment of vernacular names, amongst them capuli or capulin that are higher restricted to Prunus salicifolia (q.v.). In Florida, it has been nicknamed strawberry tree as a result of its blooms resemble strawberry blossoms, however strawberry tree is a well-established title for the European decorative and fruit tree, Arbutus unedo L., typically cultivated within the western and southern United States, and shouldn’t be transferred to the Jamaica cherry.
In Mexico, native names for the latter are capolin, palman, bersilana, jonote and puan; in Guatemala and Costa Rica, Muntingia calabura is referred to as capulin blanco; in El Salvador, capulin de comer; in Panama, pasito or majagüillo; in Colombia, chitató, majagüito, chirriador, acuruco, tapabotija and nigua; in Venezuela, majagua, majaguillo, mahaujo, guácimo hembra, cedrillo, niguo, niguito; in Ecuador, nigüito; in Peru, bolina, iumanasa, yumanaza, guinda yunanasa, or mullacahuayo; in Brazil, calabura or pau de seda; in Argentina, cedrillo majagua; in Cuba, capulina, chapuli; in Haiti, bois d’ orme; bois de soie marron; within the Dominican Republic, memiso or memizo; in Guadeloupe, bois ramier or bois de soie; within the Philippines, datiles, ratiles, latires, cereza or seresa; in Thailand, takop farang or ta kob farang; in Cambodia, kakhop; in Vietnam, cay trung ca; in Malaya, buah cheri; kerukup siam or Japanese cherry; in India, Chinese language cherry or Japanese cherry; in Ceylon, jam fruit.

The Jamaica Cherry
Fig. 78: The Jamaica cherry (Muntingia calabura) is a fast-growing, helpful tree and the candy fruit is widespread in tropical America and Southeast Asia.


It is a very fast-growing tree of slender proportions, reaching 25 to 40 ft (7.5-12 m) in peak, with spreading, almost horizontal branches. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, lanceolate or rectangular, long-pointed on the apex, indirect on the base; 2 to five in (5-12.5 cm) lengthy, dark-green and minutely bushy on the higher floor, gray- or brown-hairy on the underside; and irregularly toothed. The flowers, borne singly or in 2’s or 3’s within the leaf axils, are 1/2 to three/Four in (1.25-2 cm) huge with 5 inexperienced sepals and 5 white petals and plenty of outstanding yellow stamens. They final solely sooner or later, the petals falling within the afternoon. The ample fruits are spherical, 3/eight to 1/2 in (1-1.25 cm) huge, with crimson or generally yellow, clean, skinny, tender pores and skin and light-brown, comfortable, juicy pulp, with very candy, musky, considerably fig-like taste, full of exceedingly minute, yellowish seeds, too fantastic to be observed in consuming.

Origin and Distribution

The Jamaica cherry is indigenous to southern Mexico, Central America, tropical South America, the Larger Antilles, St. Vincent and Trinidad. The kind specimen was collected in Jamaica. It’s broadly cultivated in heat areas of the New World and in India, southeast Asia, Malaya, Indonesia, and the Philippines, in lots of locations so completely naturalized that it’s thought by the native individuals to be native.

Macmillan says that it was first planted in Ceylon about 1912. A number of timber had been launched into Hawaii by america Division of Agriculture in 1922. Dr. David Fairchild collected seeds of a yellow-fruited type within the Peradeniya. Botanic Gardens, Ceylon, in 1926 (S.P.I. #67936). The tree has been grown in southern Florida for its fruits and as fast shade for nursery vegetation. It’s seldom planted at current. Volunteers from bird-distributed seeds spring up in disturbed hammocks and pinelands. The writer provided seeds requested by the Kenya Agriculture Analysis Institute, Kihuyu, in 1982. The Jamaica cherry is alleged to develop higher than another tree within the polluted air of Metropolitan Manila. It runs wild on denuded mountainsides and on cliffs and is being evaluated for reforestation within the Philippines the place different timber have did not develop and likewise for wildlife sanctuaries since birds and bats are a fan of the fruits.

The fruits are offered in Mexican markets. In Brazil, they’re thought of too small to be of business worth however it’s endorsed that the tree be planted on river banks in order that the abundance of flowers and fruits falling into the water will function bait, attracting fish for the good thing about fishermen. In Malaya, the tree is taken into account a nuisance within the house backyard as a result of fruit-bats devour the fruits after which spend the day underneath the eaves of homes and disfigure the porch and terrace with their pink, seedy droppings.

Local weather

The Jamaica cherry is tropical to near-tropical. The mid-19th Century botanist, Richard Spruce noticed it in Ecuador “within the plains on each side of the Cordillera” rising “abundantly by the Rio San Antonio, as much as 2,500 ft” (760 m). It’s discovered as much as 4,000 ft (1,300 m) in Colombia. When well-established, it’s not harmed by occasional low winter temperatures in southern Florida.


The tree has the popularity of thriving with no care in poor soils and it does effectively in each acid and alkaline areas, and even on previous tin tailings in Malaya. It’s drought-resistant however not salt-tolerant.


Brazilian planters sow straight into the sector contemporary seeds blended with the candy juice of the fruit. To arrange seeds for future planting, water is added repeatedly to the squeezed-out seeds and juice and, because the seeds sink to the underside of the container, the water is poured off a number of instances till the seeds are clear sufficient for drying within the shade.


The planting gap is ready with a mix of natural fertilizer and soil and with a fungicidal answer to stop the younger seedlings from damping-off. To guarantee good distribution of the seeds, they’re blended with water and sown with a sprinkling can. When effectively fertilized and watered, the seedlings will start fruiting in 18 months and will probably be 13 ft (Four m) excessive in 2 years.


Wherever it grows, fruits are borne almost all yr, although flowering and fruiting are interrupted in Florida and Sao Paulo, Brazil, through the Four coolest months. Ripe fruits can simply be shaken from the branches and caught on fabric or plastic sheets.

Pests and Illnesses

In Florida, in recent times, the fruits are infested with the larvae of the Caribbean fruit fly and are accordingly hardly ever match to eat.

The foliage is topic to leaf spot brought on by Phyllosticta sp. and Pseudocercospora muntingiae (previously Cercospora muntingiae), and the tree is topic to crown gall brought on by Agrobacterium tumefaciens.

Meals Makes use of

The Jamaica cherry is broadly eaten by youngsters out-of-hand, although it’s considerably sticky to deal with. It’s typically cooked in tarts and made into jam.

The leaf infusion is drunk as a tea-like beverage.

Meals Worth Per 100 g of Edible Portion
Moisture 77.eight g
Protein 0.324 g
Fats 1.56 g
Fiber 4.6 g
Ash 1.14 g
Calcium 124.6 mg
Phosphorus 84.Zero mg
Iron 1.18 mg
Carotene 0.019 mg
Thiamine 0.065 mg
Riboflavin 0.037 mg
Niacin 0.554 mg
Ascorbic Acid 80.5 mg

*Analyses made in El Salvador.

Different Makes use of

Wooden: The sapwood is yellowish, the heartwood red-dish-brown, agency, compact, fine-grained, reasonably sturdy, mild in weight, sturdy indoors, simply labored, and helpful for inside sheathing, small containers, casks, and common carpentry. It’s valued principally as gas, for it ignites shortly, burns with intense warmth and provides off little or no smoke. Jamaicans hunt down timber blown down by storms, allow them to dry for some time after which lower them up, preferring this to another wooden for cooking. It’s being evaluated in Brazil as a supply of paper pulp.

Bark: The bark is usually used for lashing collectively the helps of rural homes. It yields a really sturdy, comfortable fiber for twine and enormous ropes.

Medicinal Makes use of: The flowers are mentioned to own antiseptic properties. An infusion of the flowers is valued as an antispasmodic. It’s taken to alleviate headache and the primary signs of a chilly.

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