A member of the tropical and subtropical Barbados Cherry family (Malpighiaceae), the genus
Bunchosia contains about 75 species of shrubs and trees. Bunchosia glandulifera is the
most widely cultivated.
A large shrub or small tree.
Moderate to rapid.
10-15' high and as wide; usually 6-12' in dry climates.
Yellow, small, clustered.
Years before fruiting:
2-3 from seed.
Thin orange or red skin, 1" long, edible, with a soft, sticky, dense pulp tasting like
peanut butter and sweet jelly, normally containing one seed, occasionally two. The fruit
pulp contains lycopene, vitamin C, beta-carotene and caffeine.
Months for fruit to ripen:
The fruit ripen a few at a time and need to be harvested daily. Harvest as soon as the fruit
turn dark orange or dark red and the flesh is still firm. The flavor changes the next day
if a fruit is left on the plant after becoming ripe. Dried fruit have been compared to dried
figs or persimmons.
Storage after harvest:
If picked when the flesh is hard, they can be left on the counter at room temperature to
become soft. Once soft, they can be refrigerated for a few days. The fruit are highly
perishable, and should be eaten raw, cooked, frozen, or subjected to a drying process quickly.
Dark green, wavy margins, lighter green with sparse hairs on the underside.
The flowers attract bees. The fruit attracts birds and mammals.
Toxic / Danger:
None. Reports that the seed is poisonous are incorrect.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones:
10. Young plants should be protected from freezing. Mature plants are hardy to 28°F.
Chill hours: None.
Heat tolerant: Extra shade and water are needed.
Drought tolerant: No.
Full sun to part shade with full afternoon shade.
Locate this plant where it will have early morning sun and full afternoon shade. It can
be grown in a large, well-draining container, with changes of soil every few years.
Well drained, moist, high organic content, pH 6.1-7.5 (slightly acidic to neutral).
Apply a tropical plant/citrus micronutrient product to irrigation water, or sprinkled on
the ground, mid-winter. Apply organic fertilizer every two months. This plant is a moderate
Water after becoming established:
Irrigate for a short period daily during the growing season. Higher temperatures will require
more water. This plant will tolerate less water after 3 years in the ground. The plant needs
more water when its leaves start to cup.
Spread organic mulch under the canopy and 8" away from the trunk to reduce moisture loss and
lessen root temperature extremes.
First Year Care:
Provide extra shade and keep the soil slightly moist. Protect from freezing.
In winter, prune to shape. This plant can be kept at 6' tall for easier harvesting by cutting
the central trunk low. Flowers appear on new growth.
Low: spent flowers, fruit if not harvested.
Seed and rooted cuttings. Dried seeds typically sprout in 2-4 weeks.
Ornamental, edible fruit.
This plant is often misidentified as Bunchosia argentea, which has flat, not wavy, leaves
with dense hairs on the underside giving them a silvery appearance.
Do you have additional information or a different experience for these plants that you would
like to share? Email info@GardenOracle.com. All contributions are welcome and appreciated.