Eugenia uniflora

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Surinam cherry
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Eugenia
E. uniflora
Binomial name
Eugenia uniflora
    • Eugenia arechavaletae Herter
    • Eugenia costata Cambess.
    • Eugenia dasyblasta (O.Berg) Nied.
    • Eugenia decidua Merr.
    • Eugenia indica Nicheli
    • Eugenia lacustris Barb. Rodr.
    • Eugenia michelii Lam.
    • Eugenia microphylla Barb. Rodr.
    • Eugenia myrtifolia Salisb.
    • Eugenia oblongifolia (O.Berg) Arechav.
    • Eugenia oblongifolia (O.Berg) Nied. nom. illeg.
    • Eugenia strigosa (O.Berg) Arechav.
    • Eugenia willdenowii (Spreng.) DC. nom. illeg.
    • Eugenia zeylanica Willd.
    • Luma arechavaletae (Herter) Herter
    • Luma costata (Cambess.) Herter
    • Luma dasyblasta (O.Berg) Herter
    • Luma strigosa (O.Berg) Herter
    • Myrtus brasiliana L.
    • Myrtus willdenowii Spreng.
    • Plinia pedunculata L.f.
    • Plinia petiolata L. nom. illeg.
    • Plinia rubra L.
    • Plinia tetrapetala L.
    • Stenocalyx affinis O.Berg
    • Stenocalyx brunneus O.Berg
    • Stenocalyx costatus (Cambess.) O.Berg
    • Stenocalyx dasyblastus O.Berg
    • Stenocalyx glaber O.Berg
    • Stenocalyx impunctatus O.Berg
    • Stenocalyx lucidus O.Berg
    • Stenocalyx michelii (Lam.) O.Berg
    • Stenocalyx nhampiri Barb. Rodr.
    • Stenocalyx oblongifolius O.Berg
    • Stenocalyx rhampiri Barb.Rodr.
    • Stenocalyx ruber (L.) Kausel
    • Stenocalyx strigosus O.Berg
    • Stenocalyx uniflorus (L.) Kausel
    • Syzygium michelii (Lam.) Duthie
Pitanga, (surinam-cherry), raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy138 kJ (33 kcal)
7.49 g
0.4 g
0.8 g
Vitamin A equiv.
75 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.03 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.04 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.3 mg
Vitamin C
26.3 mg
9 mg
0.2 mg
12 mg
11 mg
103 mg
3 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA FoodData Central

Eugenia uniflora, the pitanga,[3] Suriname cherry,[4] Brazilian cherry,[3] Cayenne cherry,[5] cerisier carré,[6] monkimonki kersie, ñangapirí,[7] or shimarucu[8] is a flowering plant in the family Myrtaceae, native to tropical South America’s east coast, ranging from Suriname, French Guiana to southern Brazil, as well as Uruguay and parts of Paraguay and Argentina.[6][9][10] It is often used in gardens as a hedge or screen. The tree was introduced to Bermuda for ornamental purposes but is now out of control and listed as an invasive species.[11] The tree has also been introduced to Florida.[12]


Eugenia uniflora is a large shrub or small tree with a conical form, growing slowly to 8 metres (26 ft) high. When bruised, crushed, or cut, the leaves and branches have a spicy resinous fragrance, which can cause respiratory discomfort in susceptible individuals. The leaves are without stipules, ovate, glossy, and held in opposite pairs.[5] New leaves are bronze, copper, or coppery-pinkish in color, maturing to deep glossy green, up to 4 centimetres (1.6 in) long. During winter, the leaves turn red.

Flowers have four white petals and are borne on long slender stalks, with a conspicuous central cluster of white stamens ending in yellow anthers. Flowers develop into ribbed fruits 2 to 4 centimetres (0.79 to 1.57 in) long, starting as green, then ranging through orange, scarlet, and maroon as they ripen. Because fruit-eating birds distribute the seeds, they can become a weed in suitable tropical and sub-tropical habitats, displacing native flora.[5]


Culinary uses[edit]

The edible fruit is a botanical berry. The taste ranges from sweet to sour, depending on the cultivar and level of ripeness (the darker red to black range is quite sweet, while the green to orange range is strikingly tart). Its predominant food use is as a flavoring and base for jams and jellies.[13] The fruit is high in vitamin C and a source of provitamin A.

The leaves are also used for tea in certain parts of Uruguay.[citation needed]

Use as an insect repellent[edit]

The leaves are spread on some house floors in Brazil so that they exude a smell that repels flies when crushed underfoot.[citation needed]

Medical uses[edit]

Eugenia uniflora has several significant pharmacological properties.[14] Its essential oil is antihypertensive,[14][15] antidiabetic,[16] antitumor[17] and analgesic,[18] and it has shown antiviral and antifungal activity.[19] It has performed against microorganisms such as Trichomonas gallinae (in vitro),[20] Trypanosoma cruzi[21] and Leishmania amazonensis.[14][22]

It also shows significant anti-inflammatory properties,[14][23] and is used extensively as a folk remedy in South America against stomach diseases.[14][24]



  1. ^ Macdonald, F.; Canteiro, C. (2021). "Eugenia uniflora". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021: e.T60330325A60330335. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-1.RLTS.T60330325A60330335.en. S2CID 243497699.
  2. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Nascimento e Santos, Débora; Lima de Souza, Larissa; Nilson José Ferreira; Lopes de Oliveira, Alessandra (2015). "Study of supercritical extraction from Brazilian cherry seeds (Eugenia uniflora L.) with bioactive compounds". Food and Bioproducts Processing. Elsevier. 94: 365–374. doi:10.1016/j.fbp.2014.04.005.
  4. ^ Setzer, Kenneth (May 12, 2018). "Yes, the Surinam cherry is edible, but that doesn't mean you're going to like it". Miami Herald. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Weeds of Australia: Eugenia uniflora". Queensland Government. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Duke, James A. (2009). Duke's Handbook of Medicinal Plants of Latin America. p. 309. ISBN 9781420043174.
  7. ^ "A curious crop". The Honolulu Advertiser. February 28, 2007. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  8. ^ Proosdij, A.S.J. van (2012). Arnoldo's Zakflora: Wat in het wild groeit en bloeit op Aruba, Bonaire en Curaçao (in Dutch). Zutphen: Walberg Pers. ISBN 978-9057301629.
  9. ^ Karp, David (February 7, 2007). "Berry Helped to Put Reality Show Chef on Top". The New York Times. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  10. ^ Morton, Julia (1987). "Surinam cherry". Fruits of warm climates. pp. 386–8. ISBN 9780961018412.
  11. ^ "Bermuda Conservation - Surinam Cherry". Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  12. ^ "Surinam Cherry: Only Ripe Need Apply". 24 September 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  13. ^ Hargreaves, Dorothy; Hargreaves, Bob (1964). Tropical Trees of Hawaii. Kailua, Hawaii: Hargreaves. p. 61. ISBN 9780910690027.
  14. ^ a b c d e Lim, TK (2012). "Eugenia Uniflora". Fruits. Edible Medicinal And Non Medicinal Plants. Vol. 3. Springer. pp. 620–9. ISBN 978-9400725348.
  15. ^ Consolini AE, Baldini OA, Amat AG (1999). "Pharmacological basis for the empirical use of Eugenia uniflora L. (Myrtaceae) as antihypertensive". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 66 (1): 33–9. doi:10.1016/s0378-8741(98)00194-9. PMID 10432205.
  16. ^ Matsumura, T; Kasai, M; Hayashi, T; Arisawa, M; Momose, Y; Arai, I; Amagaya, S; Komatsu, Y (2000). "a-glucosidase Inhibitors From Paraguayan Natural Medicine, Nangapiry, The Leaves Of Eugenia Uniflora". Pharmaceutical Biology. 38 (4): 302–7. doi:10.1076/1388-0209(200009)3841-AFT302. PMID 21214481. S2CID 21363070.
  17. ^ Ogunwande IA, Olawore NO, Ekundayo O, Walker TM, Schmidt JM, Setzer WN (2005). "Studies on the essential oils composition, antibacterial and cytotoxicity of Eugenia uniflora L.". International Journal of Aromatherapy. 15 (3): 147–152. doi:10.1016/j.ijat.2005.07.004.
  18. ^ Amorim AC, Lima CK, Hovell AM, Miranda AL, Rezende CM (2009). "Antinociceptive and hypothermic evaluation of the leaf essential oil and isolated terpenoids from Eugenia uniflora L. (Brazilian Pitanga)". Phytomedicine. 16 (10): 923–8. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2009.03.009. PMID 19423309.
  19. ^ Costa DP, Filho EG, Silva LM, et al. (2010). "Influence of fruit biotypes on the chemical composition and antifungal activity of the essential oils of Eugenia uniflora leaves" (PDF). Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society. 21 (5): 851–8. doi:10.1590/s0103-50532010000500012.
  20. ^ Ibikunle GF, Adebajo AC, Famuyiwa FG, Aladesanmi AJ, Adewunmi CO (2011). "In-vitro evaluation of anti-trichomonal activities of Eugenia uniflora leaf". Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 8 (2): 170–6. PMC 3252693. PMID 22238499.
  21. ^ Santos KK, Matias EF, Tintino SR, Souza CE, Braga MF, Guedes GM, Rolón M, Vega C, de Arias AR, Costa JG, Menezes IR, Coutinho HD (2012). "Anti-Trypanosoma cruzi and cytotoxic activities of Eugenia uniflora L." Exp. Parasitol. 131 (1): 130–2. doi:10.1016/j.exppara.2012.02.019. PMID 22426246.
  22. ^ Rodrigues KA, Amorim LV, de Oliveira JM, Dias CN, Moraes DF, Andrade EH, Maia JG, Carneiro SM, Carvalho FA (2013). "Eugenia uniflora L. Essential Oil as a Potential Anti-Leishmania Agent: Effects on Leishmania amazonensis and Possible Mechanisms of Action". Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013: 279726. doi:10.1155/2013/279726. PMC 3590759. PMID 23533469.
  23. ^ Schapoval, E E; Silveira, S M; Miranda, M L; Alice, C B; Henriques, A T (Dec 1994). "Evaluation of some pharmacological activities of Eugenia uniflora L". J Ethnopharmacol. 44 (3): 137–42. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(94)01178-8. PMID 7898120.
  24. ^ Tábata. T. Garmus; L.C. Paviani; F. A. Cabral (2013). "Extracts From Pitanga Leaves (Eugenia Uniflora L.) With Sequential Extraction In Fixed Bed Using Supercritical Co2, Ethanol And Water As Solvents" (PDF). Department of Food Engineering, University of Campinas.

External links[edit]