Jaboticaba - Myrciaria cauliflora
Jaboticaba, pronounced in five syllables just as it is
spelled, is a member of the Myrtaceae (Myrtle) family
and is known botanically as Eugenia cauliflora. ("Cauliflora"
means that it flowers and bears fruit on the trunk,
mature branches and exposed roots.) It is a relative of
the guava and true myrtle. Its native range is from
southern Brazil to southern California, southern Florida
and Hawaii,(Tropical) Takes long time to begin flowering
after potting as a bonsai. The bark of the Jaboticaba is
very smooth, creamy tan with a pinkish tint and patches
of soft gray. Its habit of peeling off in curls as the
trunk and branches expand is similar to the guava and
crape myrtle. It is evergreen but sheds half its leaves
each spring before new growth begins. The new leaves are
pinkish but change to light to medium green. They are
closely packed and are narrow and tapering. It blooms
several times a year during warm months. The flower has
delicate white petals with stamens and comes in clusters
on the trunk, large branches and exposed roots. The tree
begins to bear fruit when it is ten to fifteen years
old. Its edible purple berries are globular shaped, 3/4"
to 1 1/2" in diameter, have a tough skin and a juicy
pulp. The fruit grows directly from the hard wood of the
tree and develops very quickly; from open flower to ripe
fruit in about three weeks. It is good to eat fresh, in
preserves or in ice cream.
Lighting: It thrives
in partial shade but will tolerate full sun if kept well
it is native to a warm climate, it must be protected
from freezing temperatures.
adequately and frequently. It will not tolerate salt.
fertilizer is best but Jaboticaba likes lots of food and
will be thankful for just about anything you give it.
Pruning and wiring:
Early care must be given to avoid heavy branches on the
upper portion of the tree as it sets heavy wood very
quickly, especially toward its top. If nursery stock is
obtained with heavy upper branches, remove them and
train the new growth which will appear. Wounds tend to
heal quickly. Any wiring should be done loosely and
early in the growing season.
Propagation: It is
best propagated by air layering and by seed, but root
cuttings will grow well too.
only in warm weather. If the plant is healthy it is safe
to remove up to two thirds of its roots. Jaboticaba
prefers fertile, well drained but moisture retentive
soil; azalea soil works well. The traditional brown
bonsai container contrasts well with the light mottled
bark and seems to highlight the new pink leaves. A soft
blue green glaze is nice too with the bark and leaves.