When I first saw this fruit, I thought it was ordinary grapes, just like those we find in the supermarkets. It also tastes just like grapes! What surprised me is that even the seed inside the fruit resembled grape seeds.
A friend from the agriculture department encouraged me to plant this fruit tree because it is unique. I remembered how H.N. Ridley, a British Botanist in the late 1800s, tried persuading Malayan farmers to grow rubber plants from Brazil. Legend said; people laughed at him!
Brazilian Grapes or Jabuticaba is a plant native to Brazil. It is a slow-growing but evergreen tree that can reach a height of 15 meters if not pruned. The leaves are slightly pink when young, but turned green as they mature. As long as the soil is tended and adequately irrigated, the tree could grow in almost every soil.
Jabuticabas are reasonably adaptable to various kinds of growing conditions, tolerating sand or rich topsoil. They are intolerant of salty soils or salt spray.
Its flowers are white and grow directly from its trunk. Unattended, the tree may flower and fruit only once or twice a year. Continuously irrigated, the trees could flower frequently, and fresh fruit is available all year-round in tropical regions.
As Bonzai or Decorative Plants
Grafted plants may bear fruit in five years; seed-grown trees may take 10 to 20 years to bear fruit. However, due to their small size and slow growth, growers or hobbyists can turn this tree into bonzai or container ornamental plants. As we all know, gardening brings a lot of benefits.
The fruit is a thick-skinned berry resembling a purple or dark blue grape. The fruit has a sweet, white, or rosy pink gelatinous flesh. Just like the ordinary grapes, within the flesh are one to four seeds. In Brazilian markets, mostly eaten fresh, Jabuticaba popularity is likened to that of grapes in the United States. The fruits are often processed to make jams, tarts, wines, and liqueurs.
Any Future for this Tree?
We tried so hard to plant grapes in Malaysia and also here in Sabah. Because grapes are so sensitive to our environment, we find it too challenging to grow them here. However, people still tried because they like grapes.
Brazilian Grapes or Jabuticaba is a tropical tree. The trees are meant for our environment here in Malaysia, especially Sabah. If we plant this tree, not only do we have fruit resembling grapes, but also cultivation that encouraged tree planting. Tree planting is good for the environment. Brazilian grapes could be found at Likas Flora but supplies are limited.
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