The jaboticaba has been grown in Florida for a long time. It is only recently however, that the first commercial grove has been planted out, which consists of just under five acres. While considerable confusion exists as to which variety belongs to which botanical name, the writer observes that probably over 95% of the jaboticabas grown in Florida are almost identical and are probably of the 'Sabara' variety.
There is a strong likelihood of the same being true in other regions where this Brazilian fruit is grown. Other varieties such as the 'Paulista', 'Branca' (white), etc. may have larger size fruit but are usually of inferior flavor or shy bearing. It therefore appears that the prevailing jaboticaba type seen so commonly everywhere is superior to others and not grown so extensively as it is because the other strains were not introduced.
The Miami-based R. F. C. I.'s Yearbook lists seven different fruits under Myrciaria. Of these, the jaboticaba (M. cauliflora) is the most common. Several others are grown in South Florida. The M. glomerata can fruit as a small low bush producing inch-diam. (25mm), pleasant-tasting, orange-colored fruit. The M. paraensis, or Camu camu, grows wild on the banks of the Amazon River and its tributaries. In Florida, it makes a shrub or small tree with inch-diam. (25mm), very sour, dark-purple fruit used for beverages, jams, jellies and vitamin pills. An extract taken from the pulp of the vitamin C-rich camu camu is used in the manufacture of these tablets. The product sold under the brand name "Camu Plus" is available in U.S.A. health food stores.
M. vexator is about the same in appearance as the jaboticaba, except that its leaves are larger and the tree is not cauliflorous. The 1½"-diameter (38mm) fruit is dark purple when ripe, has a somewhat tough skin and a very pleasing flavor.
DATE: May 1987
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