Extension Service: Brazilian Cherry or Grumichama, Eugenia brasiliensis

Cherries in Florida? Certainly, and this is one fruit tree that should be seen more often.

It is a lovely evergreen ornamental with its shiny dark green leaves and striking white flowers in mid-March. The white flowers have about 100 white stamens with yellowish anthers. The new growth is an attractive rosy-burgundy red.

The fruit tastes like a Bing cherry. The seed is larger than a Bing cherry, which means that you just have to eat more grumichama fruit! Some people object to the little green sepals that remain on the fruit, but I say it is just like a little lettuce; enjoy.

These trees can grow to 25 or 35 feet, but can be kept pruned to a pickable 10 or 12 feet. The trees will reflower so that you will have fruit several times during the year, although the first crop is the largest. The tree is from sub-tropical areas of Brazil, but is reported to survive temperatures of 26 degrees F and produces more fruit if the winter is a little chilly.

The fruit keeps well frozen. Fruit flies and birds may compete for the harvest. This is one fruit you must try if you like cherries. For more info see:

www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/grumichama.html

This would also be a good choice to have in your yard in case citrus canker quarantines result in removal of your citrus fruit trees.

Doug Caldwell is commercial landscape horticulturist for the Collier County Extension Service. For more information on home gardening, contact the Collier County Master Gardener Plant Clinic, at 353-2872 visit the Web site: collier.ifas.ufl.edu. For specimen identification, the Extension Plant Clinic at 14700 Immokalee Rd. is open 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; call 353-2872.

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