Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Malpighia glabra

Barbados Cherry, Wild Crapemyrtle, Acerola, Manzanita

Malpighiaceae (Barbados-Cherry Family)

Malpighia glabra (Barbados cherry)
Marcus, Joseph A.
Barbados Cherry develops into a thick, rounded canopy of fairly delicate foliage . Small pink flowers appear periodically from April to October and are followed about one month later by bright red, tart-tasting, 1-inch fruits which are high in vitamin C.

Image Gallery:

38 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Size Notes: To 2.5 meters in height.
Leaf: Pink
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec


Native Distribution: From south Texas south through Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean to South America as far as Peru and Brazil.
Native Habitat: Thickets, brushland (matorral), and palm groves

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone. Well-drained.
Conditions Comments: Half of the winters in the Austin area are mild enough for Barbados cherry to keep its leaves. It is useful as a dense screening hedge that may be left soft, sheared, or as a specimen. Birds quickly gobble up its bright, edible fruit and adult butterflies feed on the nectar. Standard tall and dwarf spreading varieties exist.


Use Ornamental: Blooms ornamental, Fruits ornamental, Attractive, Hedges, Accent tree or shrub, Patio pot plant, Ground cover, Mass planting
Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals, Browse.
Use Food: Fruit, referred to as acerola cherries, eaten and used for juice throughout the worlds tropics and increasingly in temperate areas as well. Very high in Vitamin C.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: No

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Malpighia glabra is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Brown-banded Skipper
(Timochares ruptifasciata)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
White-patched Skipper
(Chiomara georgina)

Larval Host
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Florida Duskywing
(Ephyriades brunnea)

Larval Host
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Cassius Blue
(Leptotes cassius)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2016-04-02