Acerola, Barbados Cherry, Wild Crapemyrtle

Malpighia glabra

Family: Malpighiaceae
Genus: Malpighia (mal-PEE-gee-uh) (Info)
Species: glabra (GLAY-bruh) (Info)
Synonym:Malpighia punicifolia


Edible Fruits and Nuts

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer



Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From semi-hardwood cuttings

By grafting

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Yuma, Arizona

Alva, Florida

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Bradley, Florida

Davenport, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Groveland, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Lecanto, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Melbourne Beach, Florida

Merritt Island, Florida

Mulberry, Florida

Naples, Florida

Ocoee, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida (2 reports)

Rockledge, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Venice, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Wauchula, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Winter Garden, Florida

Kurtistown, Hawaii

Village Park, Hawaii

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Gonzales, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Austin, Texas (7 reports)

Cedar Park, Texas

Converse, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

Crawford, Texas

Eagle Lake, Texas

Fulshear, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

Harlingen, Texas

Helotes, Texas

La Coste, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

Marion, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (3 reports)

Spring, Texas (2 reports)

Victoria, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 12, 2015, Kathysky from Spring, TX wrote:

I bought 4 of these plants from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in the spring of 2013. They are supposed to live in shade, and I planted them on the north side of my house. The plants have just sat there, not dying, but not growing either. Only one plant bloomed (a little) this year and made 5 little cherries. The cherries are tasteless and slightly tart. That same plant was the only one which grew a few extra branches - nothing spectacular. I had high hopes of these plants turning into a low hedge with pretty pink flowers and little edible cherries to attract birds and butterflies. They are very slow growing and have done next to nothing. Perhaps they want more sun. I recently dug them up, put them in pots, and planted sasanqua camellias there instead, hoping for a better outcome ... read more


On Apr 21, 2013, aussiekiwigal from Brisbane
Australia wrote:

amazing tree, excited when it fruited twice, now onto it's 5th fruiting this summer - wow.....what to do with all the fruit, raw/jam/jelly/cordial? Flavour is divine, depending on ripeness, can even taste like feijoa which is a real favorite but difficult to grow here in Australia, fruit fly love to bite feijoa and ruin them.


On Mar 17, 2012, nancyanne from Lafayette, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is a small shrubby plant, which produces profusions of pink flowers followed by small (pea-sized) fruit.
It spreads readily to form a mound of foliage and flowers which is very attractive.
The fruits, IMO, are quite dry and tasteless and too small to bother collecting to eat or make jellies or for cooking. Still, it is a beautiful plant.
The other species, emarginata and juncifolia, make large, cherry-sized fruit that is very tasty and juicy.


On Feb 25, 2012, fla1garden from Mango, FL wrote:

Grows wellin my garden but I lost tag please post cold tolerances for it . If it dies downto ground it will come up but it will look like a vine with thorns to hold plant uo on other trees or fences. Good tasting but you will either love it or hate it. Ed


On Mar 11, 2011, awsimons from San Antonio, TX wrote:

I purchased the dwarf variety of Acerola last year. It has been a disappointment because of how slowly it grows. The plant basically looks the same now as it did a year ago when i planted it. My wife's school has some that are around 15 years old that are still tiny. Maybe not right for San Antonio, TX.


On Sep 23, 2006, LindaTX8 from NE Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I really like this plant. When it blooms, it's just delightful. A little bit unpredictable on blooming, but that's okay. It attracts insects and buterflies. It also is a host plant for certain skippers.


On May 23, 2006, CarolesJungle from Naples, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I grow this tree for the wonderful pink flowers and sort of weeping limbs. Sometimes I cut a twig and add to a vase flower arrangement. I notice butterflies and birds are attracted to the flowers and fruit. Very hardy in my yard once established.


On Nov 22, 2005, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

The cherries are sweet and small, about the size of cranberries. Like it's relative, M. glabra [the Barbados cherry], each fruit has three, three-ribbed seeds. Unlike M. glabra, however, there is no tart tang to the fruit and, hence, while it is uniformly sweet, it is also somewhat bland. The bush makes a very attractive hedge for subtropical landscapes.


On Jun 3, 2005, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

I've never grown this plant, but in my Puerto Rican neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, frozen juice/nectar is readily available and it is very delicious and a beautiful color as well.


On Apr 7, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This plant can be used both as decorative, or for the fruits. The pink flowers and red fruits are ornamental. These fruits are tasty, juicy, and can be eaten in natura, or in juices. The acerola is also reputated as one of the fruits with the highest levels of vitamin C.

It lives confortably in tropical climates, and isnt very demanding on soil types, as long as its well drained. Regular watering, high temperatures and full sun are necessary.


On Aug 2, 2003, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

Either a small tree or large shrub. It's native to the West Indies and Central and South America. The leaves have the color and texture of holly leaves--dark green and almost brittle. The fruit is very tasty and very high in vitamin C [up to 2,000 milligrams per 100 grams of edible flesh], maybe the highest of all fruit. Peak bloom time is April-May when it is a mass of small pink flowers.