Other: Barbados cherry, West Indian cherry
Malpighia emarginata Sesse & Moc. ex DC.
Plant Family: Malpighiaceae
Malpighia glabra, Malpighia punicifolia
Although acerola are now found growing in most sub-tropical regions of the world, linguistic evidence seems to point to the Yucatan as a point of origin for this fruit. Cultivated in southern Texas, Florida, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia, the largest plantings are in Brazil. Acerola is a fast growing bushy shrub or small tree with small pink and white flowers. The fruits are round and ovoid with three lobes, and are said to have a pleasant, tart taste. They are bright red when ripe, and come to maturity approximately 25 days after the first buds appear. The fruit of the acerola is the richest known source of natural vitamin C in the world. They are usually picked when still green, because in this state they have almost twice as much vitamin C as when fully ripened.
The fruit is the only part used.
The fruit itself is eaten when ripe, and it is sometimes made into a jelly, jam or syrup. The fruit, when picked, must be processed quickly before it starts to ferment and mold, and most of the nutritional use in the United States is from spray dried, freeze dried, or from concentrated fruits which are processed immediately at the site and exported accordingly.
Known as extremely high in vitamin C and antioxidants, acerola fruit is also high in iron, calcium, beta carotenes and phosphorus. Acerola juice is as popular in Brazil as orange juice is in America.
A study published in 2002 reported that the fruit of the acerola can cause an allergic reaction in people who are also allergic to latex. There are also several reports that the leaves may be irritating to some people, but this should not affect consumption of the powdered form.
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.