Little known outside their natural range, these members of the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, are perhaps the most popular native fruit-bearers of Brazil. Generally identified as Myrciaria cauliflora Berg. (syn. Eugenia cauliflora DC.), the names jaboticaba, jabuticaba or yabuticaba (for the fruit; jaboticabeira for the tree) actually embrace 4 species of very similar trees and fruits: M. cauliflora, sabará jaboticaba, also known as jabuticaba sabará, jabuticaba de Campinas, guapuru, guaperu, hivapuru, or ybapuru; M. jaboticaba Berg., great jaboticaba, also known as jaboticaba de Sao Paulo, jaboticaba do mato, jaboticaba batuba, jaboticaba grauda; M. tenella Berg., Jaboticaba macia, also known as guayabo colorado, cambui preto, murta do campo, camboinzinho; M. trunciflora Berg., long-stemmed jaboticaba, also called jaboticaba de Cabinho, or jaboticaba do Pará. 1
M. cauliflora differs mainly from the other species in the large size of the tree and of the fruits. The well-known variety 'Coroa' is believed to belong to this species, also 'Murta' which has smaller leaves and larger fruits. The latter was among those sent to California in 1904. 1
Among commercial sorts in Brazil are:
'Sabará, a form of M. cauliflora, is the most prized and most often planted. The fruit is small, thin-skinned and sweet. The tree is of medium size, precocious, and very productive. Early in season; bears 4 crops a year. Susceptible to rust on flowers and fruits. 1
'Paulista'–fruit is very large, with thick, leathery skin. The tree is a strong grower and highly productive though it bears a single crop. Later in season than 'Sabará' Fruits are resistant to rust. Was introduced into California in 1904. 1
'Rajada'–fruit very large, skin green-bronze, thinner than that of 'Paulista'. Flavor is sweet and very good. The tree is much like that of 'Paulista'. Midseason. 1
'Branca'–fruit is large, not white, but bright-green; delicious. Tree is of medium size and prolific; recommended for home gardens. 1
'Ponhema'–fruit is turnip-shaped with pointed apex; large; with somewhat leathery skin. Must be fully ripe for eating raw; is most used for jelly and other preserves. Tree is very large and extremely productive. 1
'Rujada'–fruit is striped white and purple. 1
'Roxa'–an old type mentioned by Popenoe as being more reddish than purple, as the name (meaning "red") implies. 1
'Sao Paulo' (probably M. jaboticaba)–tree is large-leaved. 1
'Mineira'–was introduced into California in 1904.
'Coronado' a jaboticaba of excellent flavor and eating quality. 2
'De cabinho' which bears small pink fruit on elongated stalks. 2
'De cipo' a rare variety that produces fruit toward the branch tips. 2
'Jabotica-tuba' a variety that produces very large fruit of very good flavor. 2
'Olho do Boi' which bears enormous fruit of indifferent quality. 2
Several strains are available in Florida. Most nurseries carry a small-leaved variety that has been grown in Florida for 75 years. A large-leafed variety that bears large, thin-skinned fruit of excellent quality is occasionally available. Another large-leafed strain, with a stout and sparse habit of growth, produces a thick-skinned fruit of fair quality. A rare 'weeping' strain produces a small fruit of good quality, but has extremely high water needs. 2
1 Morton, J. "Jaboticabas." hort.purdue.edu. Fruits of Warm Climates, p. 371-374. 1987. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.
2 Boning, Charles R. Florida's Best Fruiting Plants- Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Pineapple Press, Inc. sarasota, Florida. pp. 102-105.
Published 28 Jan. 2017 LR