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PLANT PROFILE

Plant: Jaboticaba (ja-BOT-uh-kah-bah) is the common name for Myrciaria cauliflora.Origin: Brazil.

Characteristics: Small, bushy evergreen tree can grow 15 feet high and 10 feet wide, but rate of growth is slow. Small white flowers on trunk or branch take a month to become grape-like fruit with tough purple skin. The fruit, to one inch in diameter, may appear five or six times a year. Juicy pulp with few small seeds is pleasant and grape-like.

Growing tips: Plant in soil fortified with plenty of organic matter, protected from cold and wind, and mulched. Propagation is from seeds, but expect no fruit for 10 years. Air layering is difficult but may yield fruit in 4-6 years, according to Lewis Maxwell's Florida Fruit. He says nutritional sprays for essential elements and added iron are needed for good growth.

Shown: Fruit and flowers at Alan's Tree Service, 1825 Ulmerton Road, Largo, where trees are sometimes for sale.

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