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Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Plinia
P. cauliflora
Binomial name
Plinia cauliflora
(Mart.) Kausel
  • Eugenia cauliflora (Mart.) DC.
  • Eugenia jaboticaba (Vell.) Kiaersk.
  • Myrcia jaboticaba (Vell.) Baill.
  • Myrciaria cauliflora (Mart.) O.Berg
  • Myrciaria jaboticaba (Vell.) O.Berg
  • Myrtus cauliflora Mart.
  • Myrtus jaboticaba Vell.
  • Plinia jaboticaba (Vell.) Kausel

Jabuticaba (Brazilian Portuguese: [ʒabutʃiˈkabɐ]), also spelled Jaboticaba,[3] is the edible fruit of the jabuticabeira (Plinia cauliflora) or Brazilian grapetree. The purplish-black, white-pulped fruit grows directly on the trunk of the tree, making it an example of 'cauliflory'. It is eaten raw or used to make jellies, jams, juice or wine.[4] The tree, of the family Myrtaceae, is native to the states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Goiás and São Paulo in Brazil.[5][6] Related species in the genus Myrciaria, often referred to by the same common names, are native to Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Bolivia.[7]


The name jabuticaba derives from the Tupi word îaboti Lusitanized jaboti/jabuti (tortoise) + kaba (place), meaning "the place where tortoises are found";[8] it has also been interpreted to mean 'like turtle fat', referring to the fruit's white pulp.[9][10][11] It could also derive from ïapotï'kaba meaning "fruits in a bud".[12]

The Guarani name is yvapurũ: yva means fruit and the onomatopoeic word purũ, from pururũ,[13] describes the crunching sound the fruit produces when bitten.[14]


Jabuticaba tree
Leaves of Plinia cauliflora


The tree is a slow-growing evergreen that can reach a height of 15 meters if not pruned. The leaves are salmon-pink when young, turning green as they mature.[15]

The tree prefers moist, rich, lightly acidic soil. It is widely adaptable, however, and grows satisfactorily even on alkaline beach-sand type soils, so long as it is tended and irrigated. Its flowers are white and grow directly from its trunk in a cauliflorous habit.[16] In its native habitat jaboticabeiras may flower and fruit 5-6 times throughout the year. Jabuticabeira are tropical to subtropical plants and can tolerate mild, brief frosts, not below 26 °F (-3 °C).[9]

The tree has a compact, fibrous root system, that makes it suitable for growing in pots or transplanting.[17]


The fruit is a thick-skinned berry and typically measures 3–4 cm in diameter. The fruit resembles a slip-skin grape. It has a thick, purple, astringent skin that encases a sweet, white or rosy pink gelatinous flesh. Embedded within the flesh are one to four large seeds, which vary in shape depending on the species.[18] Jabuticaba seeds are recalcitrant and they become unviable within 10 days when stored at room temperature.[19]

In Brazil, the fruit of several related species, including Myrciaria tenella and Plinia peruviana, share the same common name.[20]

Production and cultivation[edit]

Jabuticaba has been cultivated in Brazil since pre-Columbian times. Today it is commercial crop in the center and south of the country.[21]

Commercial cultivation of the fruit in the northern hemisphere is more restricted by slow growth and the short shelf-life of fruit than by temperature requirements.[22] Grafted plants may bear fruit in five years, while seed-grown trees may take 10 to 20 years to bear fruit.[19]

Jabuticabeiras are fairly adaptable to various kinds of growing conditions, tolerating sand or rich topsoil. They are intolerant of salty soils or salt spray.[23] They are tolerant of mild drought, though fruit production may be reduced, and irrigation will be required in extended or severe droughts.[20]

Jabuticabeiras are vulnerable to the rust, Austropuccinia psidii.[24] particularly when the tree flowers during heavy rain. Other important diseases that affect jabuticabeiras are canker (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides), dieback (Rosellinia), and fruit rot (Botrytis cinerea).[25]


Jaboticaba bonsai


Common in Brazilian markets, jabuticabas are largely eaten fresh.[26] Fruit may begin to ferment 3 to 4 days after harvest, so it is often used to make jams, tarts, strong wines, and liqueurs. Due to the short shelf-life, fresh jabuticaba is rare in markets outside areas of cultivation.[21]

The fruit has been compared to Muscadine grapes,[17] and in Japan the flavor of jabuticaba has been described as similar to that of Kyoho grapes.[27]


Their slow growth and small size when immature make jabuticabeiras popular as bonsai or container ornamental plants in temperate regions.[28] It is a widely used bonsai species in Taiwan and parts of the Caribbean.[29]

Jabuticaba wine, a traditional wine from Varre-Sai produced by Italian Brazilians since the 19th century.[30]

Cultural significance[edit]

The jabuticabeira appears as a charge on the coat of arms of Contagem, Minas Gerais, Brazil.[31]

In Brazilian politics, and less commonly in everyday speech, "jabuticaba" is a slang that describes a political or legal setting that is considered absurd, unusual, or needlessly complex, among others, that could only exist in a country like Brazil. It is a reference to the popular wisdom that jabuticaba trees can only grow in Brazil.[32][33]

Related species[edit]

A number of similar species of plant in the family Myrtaceae produce fruit that is also known by the common name Jabuticaba.[20][26]


  1. ^ "Plinia cauliflora (Mart.) Kausel". gbif.org. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  2. ^ The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species, retrieved 23 April 2016
  3. ^ Popenoe, Wilson (July 1914). "The Jaboticaba". Journal of Heredity. 5 (7): 321. Retrieved 14 December 2023 – via Biodiversity Heritage Library.
  4. ^ "Marianna shares Brazilian treegrape jam recipe". Bundaberg Now. 23 August 2020. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  5. ^ "Plinia cauliflora". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
  6. ^ Pimentel Gomes (1973). Fruticultura brasileira (in Brazilian Portuguese). Nobel. pp. 263–368. ISBN 9788521301264.
  7. ^ "Brazilian grapetree". Eden Project. Archived from the original on February 14, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  8. ^ Rodrigues, Sueli; de Oliveira Silva, Ebenezer (January 5, 2018). Exotic Fruits Reference Guide. Academic Press. p. 237. ISBN 9780128031537.
  9. ^ a b "Plinia cauliflora". Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  10. ^ Love, Ken; Paull, Robert E. (June 2011). "Jaboticaba" (PDF). University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
  11. ^ Navarro, Eduardo de Almeida (2013). Dicionário de tupi antigo: a língua indígena clássica do Brasil. São Paulo. Global. p. 152.
  12. ^ Ferreira, A. B. H. (1986). Novo Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa (second ed.). Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira. p. 977.
  13. ^ Goodwin Gómez, Gale; van der Voort, Hein, eds. (April 17, 2014). Reduplication in Indigenous Languages of South America. Brill's Studies in the Indigenous Languages of the Americas. Vol. 7. Brill. p. 22974. ISBN 978-90-04-27241-5.
  14. ^ "Yvapurũ, guapuru, jabuticaba". jungledragon.com. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  15. ^ Marchiori, Jose Newton Cardosa; Sobral, Marcos (1997). Dendrologia das angiospermas: Myrtales (in Portuguese). Federal University of Santa Maria. p. 304. ISBN 9788573910094.
  16. ^ Brown, Stephen H. "Myrciaria cauliflora: Jaboticaba; Brazilian grapetree; jabuticaba; ybapuru" (pdf). deerfield-beach.com. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Retrieved January 3, 2021.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ a b Margaret Barwick (2004). Tropical & Subtropical Trees: An Encyclopaedia. Timber Press. p. 290. ISBN 978-0881926613.
  18. ^ Boning, Charles (2006). Florida's Best Fruiting Plants: Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs and Vines. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. p. 104.
  19. ^ a b Antonio Alberto da Silva1, José; Henrique de Almeida Teixeira, Gustavo; Baldo Geraldo Martins, Antonio; Citadin, Idemir; Wagner Júnior, Américo; Andrigo Danner, Moeses (July 1, 2019). "Advances in the propagation of Jabuticaba tree". Revista Brasileira de Fruticultura. 41 (3). doi:10.1590/0100-29452019024. hdl:11449/185866.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ a b c Duarte, Odilo; Paull, Robert (2015). Exotic Fruits and Nuts of the New World. Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International. p. 51. ISBN 9781780645056.
  21. ^ a b Hernández Bermejo, J. Esteban; León, J. (1994). Neglected crops: 1492 from a different perspective. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. p. 229. ISBN 9789251032176.
  22. ^ Suívie (November 10, 2020). "What are jabuticaba berries? Six things you need to know". Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  23. ^ Van Atta, Marian (2002). Exotic Foods A Kitchen and Garden Guide. Pineapple Press. p. 78. ISBN 9781561642151.
  24. ^ "Spots on Fruit and Flowers". University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  25. ^ de Almeida Teixeira, G.H.; Berlingieri Durigan, M.F.; Durigan, J.F. (2011). "11 - Jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora (Mart.) O.Berg. [Myrtaceae])". Postharvest Biology and Technology of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits: Cocona to Mango. Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition. Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition. pp. 246–274. doi:10.1533/9780857092885.246. ISBN 9781845697358.
  26. ^ a b Janick, Jules; Paull, Robert E., eds. (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruit & Nuts. Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International. p. 536. ISBN 9780851996387.
  27. ^ Baseel, Casey (20 December 2013). "Are these grapes growing on a tree trunk? Nope! They're Jabuticaba, the otherworldly fruit with an awesome name". Sora News 24. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  28. ^ Bender, Richard (January 13, 2015). Bountiful Bonsai: Create Instant Indoor Container Gardens with Edible Fruits, Herbs and Flowers. Tuttle Publishing. p. 59. ISBN 9781462916221.
  29. ^ Lim, T.K. (February 9, 2012). Edible Medicinal And Non Medicinal Plants: Volume 3, Fruits. Springer Netherlands. p. 669. ISBN 9789400725348.
  30. ^ Motta, Débora (April 8, 2019). Vinho artesanal de jabuticaba: uma alternativa para o desenvolvimento do Noroeste Fluminense Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro in Portuguese. Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  31. ^ Brazilian Flags Archived 2007-10-01 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "Jabuticaba Política". Istoé. 2013-05-15.
  33. ^ "A jabuticaba e os vira-latas nacionais". Valor Econômico. 2012-10-22. "Existe só no Brasil e não é jabuticaba? Não presta". Poucos ditados concentram tão bem, em mensagem tão convincente, uma ideia tão equivocada. Translation: "Does it exist only in Brazil and is it not a jabuticaba? It is no good."

External links[edit]