A large shrub or small tree.
Slow to moderate.
8-20' high and 6-15' wide.
Long-stalked, in clusters of 1-4 in the leaf axils, four white petals, many long,
pale-yellow tipped, white stamens, fragrant. Flowers have abundant pollen but little nectar.
Spring and fall for two crops.
Years before fruiting:
2-6 years depending on location. Typically 5-6 years.
Round, slightly flattened at ends, seven to eight deep ribs, turning bright
red or almost red-black when fully ripe. Thin skin, orange-red flesh, very juicy; sour
to sweet, with a touch of resin and slight bitterness. Dark colored fruit varieties are
sweeter and contain little to no resin. The non-cherry flavor is either loved or hated. Fruit size,
one-half to two inches, depends on water. Contains one to three seeds.
Months for fruit to ripen:
Three weeks after flowering. Individual fruits ripen at different
times and must be harvested once or twice a day. The fruit must not be picked until they
fall off the stem easily or they will be resinous and bitter. Pruned bushes can yield 6-8 pounds
of fruit per plant. Unpruned plants can yield up to twice that amount.
Storage after harvest:
Fruit last one day at room temperature and up to one week refrigerated.
Resinous, aromatic, oval to lance shaped, bronze when young, green and
glossy at maturity, turning red in cold, dry weather. Dense shade.
Slender, containing resinous sap.
Deep. Invasive in wet climates.
Cultivars of Note:
The species appears as two varieties: the common one producing bright-red fruit,
and the rarer one producing red-black fruit which have less resin and are sweeter.
'Black Star' Fruit are black when fully ripe. USDA hardiness 10-11.
Attracts bees, birds, mammals.
Toxic / Danger:
Seeds are very resinous and should not be eaten. Fruit causes diarrhea in dogs.
Smell of freshly cut stems can irritate respiratory passages of sensitive individuals.
East coast of South America.