Jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora)

Jaboticaba is the Brazilian term for four very similar species of Myrciaria that produce one of the more interesting-looking tropical fruit trees in the southern half of Florida.  The name of the best-known of those species, M. cauliflora, suggests why:  It is cauliflorous, meaning that its flowers and fruits are borne directly on the woody stems and trunk of the tree.  Jaboticaba is native to southeastern Brazil, as well as parts of Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina and, because of that southerly origin, mature specimens can tolerate periods of brief frost into the upper 20s.  It was introduced to Florida just over 100 years ago, reportedly in Brevard County.  It grows very slowly and, in the shallow soils of southern Florida, rarely exceeds 15 ft.  (The slow growth rate also makes Jaboticaba popular as a bonsai subject.)  While the tree prefers mildly acidic soils, it adapts fairly well to alkaline sites, especially when good nutrition is provided.  For best fruiting, trees should be grown in full sun, and the soil at the planting site should be well-aerated.  While good soil moisture is a must for Jaboticaba, good drainage is also essential, so be sure to plant the tree 2-3 in. above the surrounding soil.  This genus is not salt-tolerant.

Jaboticaba performs much better in cultivation than under natural conditions.  Although a tree may not begin to flower for eight years, given appropriate moisture and fertilization it will eventually flower and fruit several times a year.  The flowers are small and white, and the leathery skin of Jaboticaba fruit ripens in a range of color from purplish-maroon to almost black.  The period from flowering to fruit harvest is encouragingly short — 20-30 days.  The fruit, which ripens an inch or so in diameter, has a grapelike appearance, but contains just 1-4 large seeds.  The gelatinous flesh is white to pink, and its flavor ranges from sweet to subacid.  Since the fruit has a fairly short shelf life, it is usually eaten fresh, but is also used to make jams, jellies, pies, and alcoholic beverages.  Fruit skins are known to have medicinal value and are said to be processed for anti-cancer compounds.  However, consuming the raw skin more than occasionally is not recommended due to its high tannin content.

This very nice fruit tree is available at Richard Lyons’ Nursery in 4-in., 3-gal. and 15-gal. containers.

Myrciaria cauliflora (Jaboticaba)
Trained for Bonsai

Myrciaria cauliflora (Jaboticaba)
Trained for Bonsai

Myrciaria cauliflora (Jaboticaba)
4″ Pots

Myrciaria cauliflora (Jaboticaba)
3gal. Containers

Myrciaria cauliflora (Jaboticaba)
In Ground 15′

Myrciaria cauliflora (Jaboticaba)
Flower on Trunk

Myrciaria cauliflora (Jaboticaba)
Ripe Fruit

Colvillea racemosa (Colville’s Glory Tree)

Colville’s Glory Tree, like the Royal Poinciana Tree, is native to Madagascar.  It was named for a British Governor of Mauritius, Sir Charles Colville.  Unlike the spreading canopy of the Royal Poinciana Tree, Colville’s Glory tree is mostly upright, attaining a height of 30-50′.  It has bi-pinnate feathery leaves and spectacular orange flowers are born on large 1-2′ long cone shaped racemes that hang downward from the tips of the branches.  The yellow-orange stamens are the conspicuous part of the flower and attract honey bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.  They begin blooming in late October, and bloom well into November in S. Florida.  We currently have these spectacular trees in 3gal. containers as young seedlings.

Colvillea racemosa (Colville’s Glory Tree)

Colvillea racemosa (Colville’s Glory Tree)

Colvillea racemosa (Colville’s Glory Tree)

 

Stemmadenia litoralis (Milky Way Tree, Lechoso)

A very beautiful tree from Central America related to Frangipani (Plumeria).  It produces tubular white fragrant flowers throughout the year, which contrast nicely against the glossy dark green leaves.  It produces so many flowers that the fallen blossoms blanket the ground underneath the tree.  This tree can attain a height of 20′, is salt tolerant, grows in partial shade to full sun, and was Fairchild Tropical Garden’s plant of the year in 2009.  The nursery has 3 sizes, 3gal./7gal./15gal. containers.  The 15gal. containers are flowering size.

Stemmadenia litoralis (Milky Way)

Stemmadenia litoralis (Milky Way Tree)

Stemmadenia litoralis (Milky Way Tree)

Stemmadenia litoralis (Milky Way Tree)

Stemmadenia litoralis (Milky Way Tree)

Stemmadenia litoralis (Milky Way Tree)

Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow (Brunfelsia grandiflora)

Brunfelsia grandiflora is a member of the Solanaceae Family, which its most recognizable member is the Tomato Plant.  Its common name, Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow, is aptly named, as its flowers start out purple, fading to pale lavender, and then to white over a 3-4 day period.  When the shrub is in full bloom in late October – February, all three color shades will be present at the same time.  This shrub is native to tropical regions of South America and can attain a height of 7-10′.  It grows best in sun to partial shade.  It is unclear whether flowering is triggered by the dry season or shorter daylengths in S. Florida.  The nursery has this beautiful shrub available in 1gal./3gal./7gal./15gal. containers.

Brunfelsia grandiflora (Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow)

Brunfelsia grandiflora (Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow)

Brunfelsia grandiflora (Yesterday,Today,and Tomorrow)

Podranea ricasoliana (Pink Trumpet Vine)

One of the hardiest of vines introduced to the United States is Podranea ricasoliana, the Pink Trumpet Vine.  During the fall, winter and spring it bears fragrant pale pink, bell-shaped flowers highlighted by red stripes.  The glossy foliage is also attractive.  The plant is one of the Bignoniaceae family, which also includes  the Jacaranda Tree.

The vine is thought to be native to the eastern coast of South Africa, but some botanists believe that it may have been introduced there by merchants.  When left to its own devices, the plant can reach 16-20 ft. high and wide, but is very amenable to hard pruning following flowering.  In fact, annual pruning also serves to proliferate flowering the next time around.  It can be left as a ground cover or mounted to a trellis, pergola or chain link fence.  Since this species does not produce tendrils, it may be tied to its support in whatever arrangement the grower favors.

Podranea ricasoliana (Pink Trumpet Vine)

Podranea ricasoliana (Pink Trumpet Vine)

The Pink Trumpet Vine is hardy throughout Florida and in parts of Texas, Arizona and California, proof of its resistance to both heat and cold.  Frost may nip leaf tips, but regrowth is vigorous.  The vine favors good drainage, and regular composting will help it thrive by lowering soil pH.  P. ricasoliana is available at the nursery in 3-gallon containers.