Friday 9 March 2012


Image: Wikipedia
I had no idea this was possible! There's fruit on them thar tree trunks!

Image: olivcris via Flickr
It's the Jabuticaba, or Brazilian Grape Tree. It's also known as Myrciaria cauliflora, and it turns out that "caulis" means stem, so it's stem flower. And that's what it does. Flowers growing right out of the tree trunk and branches!

Image: olivcris via Flickr
The fruits develop a few weeks after the flowers...

Image: Sonia RO via Flickr
They're about 3 or 4 cm across and once ripe have dark purple skin and pale flesh.

Image: via Flickr
Apparently they're quite delicious and you can eat them straight from the tree! They're native to a state in southern Brazil that bears the oddly Tolkien name Minas Gerais. These days they are also grown in other warm parts of the world, partly because the fruits start to ferment in about half a week. This is great for making tarts, jellies and wine, but not so good for export.

Image: Sonia RO via Flickr
If you look after them you could be getting a crop of fruit every couple of months. Eventually. Jabuticaba are very slow growing and it takes a good 10 or 20 years for them to fruit for the first time. They'll eventually reach 8 m (26 ft) in height, but they'll be just 50 cm (1.6 ft) tall for several years first. Which brings us to a whole other reason for their export to far flung parts of the world.

Image: Vinicius Costa via Flickr


Anonymous said...

The cacao tree (aka the chocolate producing plant) also grows its pods on the stem like this. Weird, eh?

Joseph JG said...

I found out about that when I was doing this one! This cauliflora business is definitely something I'll have to revisit.

TexWisGirl said...

funky and so cool!

Joseph JG said...

Yeh, I love it!

Crunchy said...

Ugh, it looks like it's sick, like it has some sort of horrible tree pox or tree ebola. But it doesn't!


Joseph JG said...

Haha! Trust you to make it all wrong! I thought "Jabuticaba" sounded quite nice, now it's all sinister and drinking blood from sheep or something.

Kali said...

You should come out to Australia, we have cauliflorous figs, and so very many other monstrosities on land, sea and sky ...

Joseph JG said...

Figs? Wow! Stems and trunks are a lot more versatile than I'd thought. And yes, Australia is definitely the world's foremost land of monstrosity! Lucky you!