The Jaboticaba is a fruit-bearing tree in the family Myrtaceae native to Southeastern Brazil. Size can range depending on placement and maintenance provided 3 – 10m. The tree’s produce their fruit directly on the trunk making them usual and striking. Fruit is similar to a grape with a sweet and aromatic flavour. The new coppery growth makes it a very ornamental tree. Bears heavy crops of quality fruit that can be eaten fresh from the tree. is grown for its purplish-black, white-pulped fruits; they can be eaten raw or be used to make jellies and drinks (plain juice or wine). Other common names include Brazilian Grape Tree, Jabuticaba, Jabotica, Jabuticabeira, Guaperu, Guapuru, Hivapuru, Sabar and Ybapuru (Guarani).
The tree has salmon-colored leaves when they are young, turning green as they mature. It is a very slow growing tree which prefers moist, lightly acidic soils for best growth. It is widely adaptable, however, and grows satisfactorily even on alkaline beach-sand type soils, so long as they are tended and irrigated. Its flowers are white and grow directly from its trunk in a cauliflorous habit. Naturally the tree may flower and fruit only once or twice a year, but when continuously irrigated it flowers frequently, and fresh fruit can be available year round in tropical regions.
The fruit is 3?4 cm in diameter with one to four large seeds, borne directly on the main trunks and branches of the plant, lending a distinctive appearance to the fruiting tree. It has a thick, purple, astringent skin that covers a sweet, white or rosy pink gelatinous flesh. Common in Brazilian markets, jabuticabas are largely eaten fresh; their popularity has been likened to that of grapes in the US. Fresh fruit may begin to ferment 3 to 4 days after harvest, so they are often used to make jams, tarts, strong wines, and liqueurs. Due to the extremely short shelf-life, fresh jabuticaba fruit is very rare in markets outside of areas of cultivation. Traditionally, an astringent decoction of the sun-dried skins has been used as a treatment for hemoptysis, asthma, diarrhoea, and gargled for chronic inflammation of the tonsils.
In Brazil the fruit of several related species, namely Myrciaria tenella and M. trunciflora, share the same common name. While all jabuticaba species are subtropical and can tolerate mild, brief frosts, some species may be marginally more cold-tolerant. Cropping can begin at 5 – 8 years with several crops maturing from spring to autumn, some seed grown trees may take 10 to 20 years to bear fruit, though their slow growth and small size when immature make them popular as bonsai or container ornamental plants in temperate regions. They are fairly adaptable to various kinds of growing conditions, tolerating sand or rich topsoil. Intolerant of salty soils or salt spray and are tolerant of mild drought, though fruit production may be reduced, and irrigation will be required in extended or severe droughts.