A member of the Myrtle family (Myrtaceae), the Plinia genus contains 69 tropical species
worldwide. Plinia cauliflora, Jaboticaba, is one of the most well known due to the striking
appearance of dark, grape-like fruit growing directly from its trunks and older branches.
A multi-branched large shrub or small tree.
10-30' high and as wide, but it usually does not exceed 15' in temperate regions.
Small, white, in clusters of three or four, with many long, yellow-tipped stamens, growing
directly on trunks and older branches.
One to five times a year depending on climate and irrigation. In temperate regions, blooming
usually occurs no more than three times a year. Consistently moist soil produces the most
Yes, but cross pollination with another plant greatly enhances yield.
Years before fruiting:
3 grafted, 4 layered, 6-10 from seed.
Grape-like, with a thick, tough, purple-black, astringent skin covering a sweet, white to pink,
gelatinous pulp containing one to four seeds.
Months for fruit to ripen:
20-25 days. The fruit are ripe when they are fully colored and slightly soft to the touch.
They should be harvested within one or two days of becoming ripe. A mature tree can produce
100 pounds of fruit in one year.
Storage after harvest:
The fruit begin to ferment 2-4 days after harvest and should be consumed or processed
immediately. The skin is usually discarded.
Lance-shaped to oval, pinkish-yellow when new, changing to green and leathery.
Densely branched, without thorns. The thin, reddish to brown bark flakes off easily and
lends the tree an attractive appearance.
Fibrous, shallow, not invasive.
The flowers attract pollinating insects. The fruit attracts birds and mammals.
Toxic / Danger:
The fruit skin is high in tannin and should not be consumed in large amounts.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones:
10-12. Mature trees can withstand 26°F. Seedlings and young trees must be protected from
This plant may need part shade most of the day above 100°F.
Mature trees have moderate drought tolerance.
Full sun to part shade, especially afternoon shade.
In regions with summers over 100°F, locate this tree where it will receive part to full
shade most of the day, and full afternoon shade. It is easily grown in a container and is
often used in bonsai.
Well drained, moderate to high organic content. While pH 5.6-6.5 (acidic to slightly acidic)
produces the best results, this plant tolerates neutral to slightly alkaline soil with
frequent irrigation, extra nutrient application, and mulching.
Apply organic fertilizer every month from mid-February to late September on soils that are
pH 6.6 (neutral) or higher. This plant needs an iron supplement three times a year.
Water after becoming established:
Basin or flood irrigate every week or two during the growing season.
Spread organic mulch under the canopy and 8" away from the trunk to reduce moisture evaporation
and protect the roots from temperature extremes.
First Three Years' Care:
Young plants are tropical understory trees and need all day part to full shade, especially
in hot months; they must be protected from freezes; and the soil should be watered frequently
and mulched to stay moist.
This plant can be easily pruned as a hedge without reducing the fruit crop. To grow as a
tree, remove the lowest branches. Flowers and fruit appear on old wood. Thinning the fruit
when they are small and green by half results in the remaining fruit growing larger.
Fruit if not harvested. Leaf drop at certain times of the year after heavy rains.
Grafted cuttings, layering, and seed. Fresh seed will germinate in 20-40 days in slightly
moist soil sealed in a plastic bag, one or two seeds per bag. The soil should be high in
organic material with mycorrhizal fungi. The bag should be placed in an area that receives
indirect sunlight. This is a tropical plant and cold stratification will kill the seed. Dried
seed may not be viable.
Edible fruit, ornamental, bonsai. The fruit is used to make jams, jellies, juice and wine,
or is eaten raw.
Another spelling of its name is Jabuticaba. It is also known as the Brazilian Grape Tree.
Do you have additional information or a different
experience for this plant that you would like to share?
Email email@example.com. All contributions
are welcome and appreciated.