Jaboticaba!

No, it’s not a Latin-American cry of encouragement, nor the Argentinean answer to polo, nor a hooded mediaeval gown. It’s an exotic tropical fruit we have been enjoying recently.

Jaboticaba fruit on the tree
Jaboticaba fruit on the tree

We planted the tree years ago and have mostly ignored it ever since, but it has produced worthwhile numbers of blossoms and some fruit in the last few weeks. Buds, flowers and finally fruit emerge directly from the stems. The cherry-sized fruit go from green to purple-brown to black and have a single seed a bit smaller than a cherry pip. The flesh is very soft and sweet, more like a grape than anything else; the skin is thin and edible, but tough and bitter enough that we tend to spit it out.

The tree, Myrciara cauliflora, ‘grows to 10 to 12 metres in its native southern Brazil,’ according to Glenn Tankard’s invaluable Tropical Fruit, ‘but is more commonly seen in Australian gardens as a large bush growing up to 5 metres high.’ From the description of ideal growing conditions I suspect ours doesn’t get as much sun as it should – I will see what I can do about that.

Jaboticaba buds and flowers
Buds and flowers