Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Archive: January 5, 2012

Jabuticaba: Fruit of a Different Sort

Posted in Around the Garden on January 5 2012, by Matt Newman

JabuticabaI had never seen a tree sprouting fruit from its trunk before. It seemed absurd. Why all the effort to push out those long, sprawling branches? Why not fruit like an apple, or an orange? The Jabuticaba I came upon while trolling Tumblr struck me as an evolutionary anomaly, at least up until the moment I was pointed toward a similarly peculiar tree in the NYBG’s own Conservatory.

But let’s first deal with the strange case of the Jabuticaba itself. Myrciaria cauliflora also goes by the simple but less entertaining alias of the Brazilian grape tree. (The native moniker has so much more rhythm to it, don’t you think?) And while to most North Americans it looks like something recently escaped from a genetics laboratory, our friends in South America are likely more familiar with the confused-looking tree and its delectable fruits.

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