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Eugenia uniflora - L.

Common Name Brazil Cherry
Family Myrtaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The seeds are extremely resinous and toxic[ 303 ].(Pollen may cause allergic reaction)
Habitats Light sandy stream banks [200]. Limestone thickets in lowland areas [307]. Semi-deciduous forests and also on coastal levees [416].
Range S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, southern central and eastern Brazil, Bolivia.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Eugenia uniflora Brazil Cherry


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Eugenia uniflora Brazil Cherry
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Summary

Eugenia uniflora, the Brazilian Cherry is a small tree/large bush with an oval, vase form growing to 7m high. Branches often develop close to the ground. The branches are thin and wiry. It has attractive dark green and shiny oval and pointed leaves about 2.5-6 cm long by 1.5-3 cm wide. New leaves are dark purple or red. Flowers are small and white and the fruit is lobed and red with a single large seed inside. A great plant having medicinal, edible and other uses. The fruit are very tasty and high in vitamin C. The ripe fruit is eaten raw. It can be cooked or used for jams and other products. The leaves are used as a substitute for tea. Unripe fruits can be used to make relishes and chutneys. Several crops of fruit are produced each year. Flowers or fruit can be on the tree throughout the year in tropical locations. Trees start to produce fruit after about 3-4 years. There are about 550 Eugenia species located mostly in tropical and subtropical South America.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Eugenia uniflora is an evergreen Shrub growing to 6 m (19ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, butterflies, birds.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Eugenia arechavaletae Herter Eugenia costata Cambess. Eugenia dasyblasta (O.Berg) Nied. Eugenia deci

Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves
Edible Uses:

The ripe fruit is eaten fresh. It can be cooked or used for jams and other products. The leaves are used as a substitute for tea. Unripe fruits can be used to make relishes and chutneys. Fruit - used when fully ripe, it is delicious when eaten raw, and can also be made into jams, jellies, pies, juices, sherbets etc [301]. The ripe fruit is crimson to purplish-black in colour with a juicy, aromatic, subacid flesh [301]. Very rich in pectin and vitamin C [296,307], it has a tangy and sometimes rather bitter flavour with a weird aftertaste [296] Opinions on the quality of the fruit seem to be mixed with some people finding it utterly delicious, sweet, juicy and slightly spicy, whilst others find it too peppery, sour or resinous [307]. Much of this difference is due to the variation in the fruit itself, with some forms quite acid and others very sweet, and the degree of resin in the flavour also varying [416]. One fruit a day is said to provide all the vitamin C a body requires [296]. Unripe fruits can be used to make relishes and chutneys [301]. Some forms can fruit for up to 7 months a year [296]. The fruit is 15 - 30mm long [302]. The aromatic leaves are used as a tea substitute [301].

Medicinal Uses

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The leaves are astringent, febrifuge, stomachic and tonic [ 303 , 348 ]. An infusion is used to remedy head colds, influenza, chest colds, coughs and fevers [ 348 ]. An infusion is drunk shortly before childbirth [ 348 ]. Crushed and steeped in boiling water, they are used as a wash to soothe irritated skin [ 307 ]. The fruits are used to reduce blood pressure [ 303 ]. They are made into a syrup that is used to treat influenza [ 348 ]. Compounds in the stems and leaves show possible antimicrobial activity [ 348 ].

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Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

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Edible Shrubs Book

Other Uses

Container, Pest tolerant, Hedge, Screen, Standard, Superior hedge, Specimen. Agroforestry Uses: Plants are tolerant of shearing and can be grown as a hedge[ 302 ]. The plant becomes densely branched when trimmed regularly[ 303 ]. Other Uses The leaves are used as an insect repellent[ 200 ]. The crushed leaves release a pungent oil which is used as an insect repellent[ 46 , 303 ]. The bark is rich in tannin, containing 20 - 28% tannin[ 303 ]. The wood is moderately heavy, hard, compact and very durable[ 419 ]. Of small dimensions, it is only used locally for items such as tool handles[ 419 ]. Can be used as a house plant.

Cultivation details

Brazil cherry succeeds in warm temperate to tropical areas, up to an elevation of 1,800 metres in the tropics [ 303 ]. The temperature range for growth is reported to be 12 - 32°c, with the optimum between 21 - 27°c[ 303 ]. It is rather cold-tolerant and will stand several degrees of frost unharmed, with older plants suffering only superficial injury at -5°c [ 303 ]. The annual rainfall range for growth is reported to be 700 - 2,700mm, with the optimum between 1,200 - 2,000mm [ 303 ]. It is well adapted to areas of high relative humidity but can also withstand a long dry season[ 303 ]. Prefers a fertile, moist soil in a sunny to partially shaded position[ 302 ]. Adaptable to a range of soil types, but intolerant of alkaline soils[ 200 ]. Succeeds in alkaline soils according to another report[ 307 ]. Prefers high levels of organic matter in the soil [ 200 ]. A position in full sun is required for the plant to maintain its best shape [ 302 ]. Plants are deep rooted and can withstand drought [ 303 , 307 ]. Plants can become invasive in some areas, spreading by means of their roots[ 307 ]. A fairly slow-growing plant [ 419 ]. Flowering and fruiting may start when plants are 2 years old under favourable circumstances, usually it starts when 3 - 6 years old, on the flushes of the previous season or basal part of the shoots of the current season [ 303 ]. Flowering and fruiting continue over an extended period (6 - 8 weeks) and, depending on the climate, there may be several crops in a year [ 303 ] In India pruned bushes yielded 2.7 - 3.6 kg fruit per plant[ 303 ]. The highest yield obtained in Israel was 11 kg fruit from one untrimmed plant [ 303 ]. Two main types are distinguished: the most common form has bright cerise fruit and red-tinged foliage; the other form has dark-red to black berries and similarly tinted leaves; the latter form is rarer and tends to be sweeter and less resinous[ 303 , 416 ]. There are several named varieties [ 301 ]. Fruit are mature 5-6 weeks after flowering. The fruit is about 3 cm across. Plant Spacing 10 -12 ft. (3 - 3.6 m).

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Propagation

Seed - Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds. Keeps its viability for only about 1 month[ 303 ]. It is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in individual containers. A germination rate of around 80 % can be expected, with the seed sprouting within 20 - 50 days[ 419 ]. Seed can be planted 1-2 cm deep in nursery beds than transplanted when 20-30 cm tall. Layering. Grafting. Ground layering and suckers could probably be used to produce new plants. Tips from trees with better fruit types can be grafted onto seedling root stocks. It can be trained as a hedge.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Also Known As: Stopper Cherry. Surinam. Surinam Cherry. Pitanga. Brazilian Cherry. Cayenne Cherry. Florida Cherry. Ceremai belanda. Cereza de cayena. Cereza de Surinam. Cerise de cayenne. Dewandaru. Guinda. Hong zi guo. Mayom-farang. Pendanga. Pitanga de Praia. Kirschmyrte. Surinamkirsche.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Eugenia uniflora, Brazil Cherry can be found In: Africa, Amazon, Argentina, Asia, Australia, Bahamas, Bermuda, Brazil, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central America, China, Colombia, Cook Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, East Africa, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, French Guiana, Ghana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Jamaica, Malawi, Malaysia, Martinique, Mozambique, Norfolk Island, Pacific, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, PNG, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Samoa, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, South America, St Lucia, Suriname, Thailand, Tonga, Uganda, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

eeds in the sweet and attractive fruit are spread by birds and small mammals, and it has become invasive in several areas around the world. It is notably invasive in Florida, Bermuda and the Bahamas where it has formed dense thickets crowding out native species. It is also reported as invasive in Queensland, Australia and many Pacific islands including Hawaii, and also in the Indian Ocean in Mauritius and Reunion [1d].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

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