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Jabuticaba fruto.jpg
Scientific classification edit
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

Plinia cauliflora, the Brazilian grapetree, jaboticaba or jabuticaba, is a tree in the family Myrtaceae, native to the states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Goiás and São Paulo in Brazil.[3] Related species in the genus Myrciaria, often referred to by the same common names, are native to Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Bolivia.[4] The tree is known for its purplish-black, white-pulped fruits which grow directly on the trunk; they can be eaten raw or be used to make jellies, jams, juice or wine.[5]


The name jabuticaba, derived from the Tupi word jaboti/jabuti (tortoise) + caba (place), meaning "the place where tortoises are found".[6] The name has also been interpreted to mean 'like turtle fat', referring to the fruit's white pulp.[7][8]

The Guarani name is yvapurũ: yva means fruit and the onomatopoeic word purũ, from pururũ,[9] describes the crunching sound the fruit produces when bitten.[10]


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.[11]

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.[12] In its native habitat Jaboticabas may flower and fruit 5-6 times throughout the year. Jabuticaba are tropical to subtropical plants and can tolerate mild, brief frosts, not below 26°F (-3°C).[7]

The tree has a compact, fibrous root system, that makes it suitable for growing in pots or transplanting.[13]


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.[14] Jabuticaba seeds are recalcitrant and they become unviable within 10 days when stored at room temperature.[15]

In Brazil, the fruit of several related species, namely Myrciaria tenella and Myrciaria trunciflora, share the same common name.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18] Grafted plants may bear fruit in five years, while seed-grown trees may take 10 to 20 years to bear fruit.[15]

Jabuticabas are fairly adaptable to various kinds of growing conditions, tolerating sand or rich topsoil. They are intolerant of salty soils or salt spray.[19] They are tolerant of mild drought, though fruit production may be reduced, and irrigation will be required in extended or severe droughts.[16]

Jabuticabas are vulnerable to the rust, puccinia psidii.[20] particularly when the tree flowers during heavy rain. Other important diseases that affect jabuticabas are canker (colletotrichum gloeosporioides), dieback (rosellinia), and fruit rot (botrytis cinerea).[21]


Jaboticaba bonsai


Common in Brazilian markets, jabuticabas are largely eaten fresh.[22] 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 fruit is rare in markets outside areas of cultivation.[17]

The fruit has been compared to Muscadine grapes,[13] and in Japan the flavor of jabuticaba has been described as similar to that of Kyoho grapes.[23]


Their slow growth and small size when immature make jabuticabas popular as bonsai or container ornamental plants in temperate regions.[24] It is a widely used bonsai species in Taiwan and parts of the Caribbean.[25]

Cultural significance[edit]

The jabuticaba tree appears as a charge on the coat of arms of Contagem, Minas Gerais, Brazil.[26]

Related species[edit]

There are a number of similar species of plant in the family Myrtaceae that are known by the common name Jabuticaba.


  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. ^ "Plinia cauliflora". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2016-04-23.
  4. ^ "Brazilian grapetree". Eden Project. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  5. ^ "Marianna shares Brazilian treegrape jam recipe". Bundaberg Now. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  6. ^ Rodrigues, Sueli; de Oliveira Silva, Ebenezer (January 5, 2018). Exotic Fruits Reference Guide. Academic Press. p. 237. ISBN 9780128031537.
  7. ^ a b "Plinia cauliflora". Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  8. ^ Love, Ken; Paull, Robert E. (June 2011). "Jaboticaba" (PDF). University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
  9. ^ 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. 7. Brill. p. 22974. ISBN 978-90-04-27241-5.
  10. ^ "Yvapurũ, guapuru, jabuticaba". jungledragon.com. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  11. ^ Marchiori, Jose Newton Cardosa; Sobral, Marcos (1997). Dendrologia das angiospermas: Myrtales (in Portuguese). Federal University of Santa Maria. p. 304. ISBN 9788573910094.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ a b Margaret Barwick (2004). Tropical & Subtropical Trees: An Encyclopaedia. Timber Press. p. 290. ISBN 978-0881926613.
  14. ^ Boning, Charles (2006). Florida's Best Fruiting Plants: Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs and Vines. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. p. 104.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ a b Duarte, Odilo; Paull, Robert (2015). Exotic Fruits and Nuts of the New World. CABI. p. 51. ISBN 9781780645056.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Suívie (November 10, 2020). "What are jabuticaba berries? Six things you need to know". Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  19. ^ Van Atta, Marian (2002). Exotic Foods A Kitchen and Garden Guide. Pineapple Press. p. 78. ISBN 9781561642151.
  20. ^ "Spots on Fruit and Flowers". University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  21. ^ de Almeida Teixeira, G.H.; Berlingieri Durigan, M.F.; Durigan, J.F. (2011). Postharvest Biology and Technology of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits: Cocona to Mango. Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition. pp. 246–274. doi:10.1533/9780857092885.246.
  22. ^ Janick, Jules; Paull, Robert E., eds. (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruit & Nuts. CABI. p. 536. ISBN 9780851996387.
  23. ^ Baseel, Casey. "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.
  24. ^ Bender, Richard (January 13, 2015). Bountiful Bonsai: Create Instant Indoor Container Gardens with Edible Fruits, Herbs and Flowers. Tuttle Publishing. p. 59. ISBN 9781462916221.
  25. ^ Lim, T.K. (February 9, 2012). Edible Medicinal And Non Medicinal Plants: Volume 3, Fruits. Springer Netherlands. p. 669. ISBN 9789400725348.
  26. ^ Brazilian Flags Archived 2007-10-01 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]