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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Malpighia glabra (Acerola)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Malpighia glabra

Malpighia glabra L.

Acerola, Barbados Cherry, Manzanita, Wild crapemyrtle

Malpighiaceae (Barbados-Cherry Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: MAGL6

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), VI (N?)

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.

 

Plant Characteristics

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

Bloom Information

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

Distribution

USA: TX
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.

Benefit

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
Learn more at BAMONA
Florida Duskywing
(Ephyriades brunnea)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Cassius Blue
(Leptotes cassius)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Propagation

Propagation Material: Softwood Cuttings
Description: New growth comes in summer usually. Take tip cuttings on new growth. Roots easily. Blooming triggered by drop in temperature.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Wrights Nursery - Briggs, TX
Hill Country Natives - Leander, TX
Far South Wholesale Nursery - Austin, TX

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Bibliography

Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Malpighia glabra in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Malpighia glabra in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Malpighia glabra

Metadata

Record Modified: 2007-08-01
Research By: TWC Staff, LAL

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