A multi-trunked shrub or small tree.
Up to 40 productive years, but a decline in productivity after 15-20 years is common.
Evergreen but drought deciduous.
Typically 7-10' high and wide but may attain 20' in its native environment.
Five pink to red, paddle-shaped petals.
Often in response to rain. May flower for seven months with regular irrigation.
Usually yes. Depends on cultivar.
Years before fruiting:
Round, 1/2"-3/4" wide, slightly 3-lobed, bright red to purple, glossy skin, juicy,
orange-colored pulp, three inedible seeds. Vitamin C content is 15 times higher than an orange.
Months for fruit to ripen:
30 days. Harvest every one to three days, only when darkened to a
purple hue so as to be fully ripe.
Storage after harvest:
Fruit should be used within one day at room temperature and within one week
Green, lance-shaped, glossy, smooth wavy margins. Young leaves and leaf stems have
small stinging hairs that cause skin irritation. Moderate shade.
Brittle, easily broken. Wood is hard, heavy, not flammable.
Shallow, short, little tolerance for high winds which can uproot plant. Subject to
root rot in poorly draining soil.
Cultivars of Note:
'B-17': Tart flavor.
'Fairchild' / 'Dwarf Barbados Cherry': Grows 2-3' high with weeping
branches. Small fruit 1/2" diameter.
'Florida Sweet': Apple-like, semi-sweet flavor.
'Manoa Sweet': Sweet flavor.
Attracts butterflies, birds. Host plant for caterpillars of several butterfly species.
Toxic / Danger:
Stinging hairs on leaf stems and young leaves. Gloves and long sleeves are
recommended when handling the plant.
Eating large quantities of fruit and seed may cause gastric upset in small children.
Southern Mexico and Central America.