A tropical fruit-bearing shrub or small tree in the Malpighiaceae family is called Malpighia emarginata.
Acerola cherry, Guarani cherry, Barbados cherry, West Indian cherry, and wild crepe myrtle are some of its common names. Acerola is a fruit that originated in Paraguay and Brazil in South America, Central America, southern Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. However, it is also grown as far north as Texas and in subtropical regions of Asia, including India.
The apple pulp stands out for having an exceptionally high vitamin C content (nutrition table).
Originally from Yucatán, Malpighia emarginata is now widespread throughout Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, South America all the way down to Peru and Colombia, the southeast of Brazil, and the southernmost regions of the contiguous United States (southern Florida and the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas). It can be grown in Florida in protected areas as far north as Cape Canaveral. All across the world, including the Canary Islands, Ghana, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, India, Java, Hawaii, and Australia, it is grown in tropical and subtropical climates.
You can grow acerola from seeds, cuttings, or other means. It enjoys full sun, dry sand, and cannot withstand temperatures below 30 °F/-1 °C. Its weak roots contribute to its very low wind tolerance.
A tiny tree or shrub with spreading branches and a short stem, acerola is evergreen. It typically stands between 2-3 m (6.6-9.8 ft) tall, but can occasionally reach 6 m (20 ft) tall.
Simple ovate-lanceolate, 2-8 cm (0.79-3.15 in) long, 1-4 cm (0.39-1.57 in) wide, and attached to short petioles are the characteristics of the leaves. They have whole or undulating borders with tiny hairs, which can irritate skin, and are opposite, ovate to elliptic-lanceolate in shape.
Flowers have a diameter of 1-2 cm (0.39-0.79 in) and are bisexual. They have six to ten glands on the calyx, five pale to deep pink or scarlet fringed petals, and ten stamens. Sessile or short-peduncled axillary cymes with three to five flowers are present in each inflorescence.
After three years, trees begin to bear numerous bright red drupes that are 1-3 cm (0.39-1.18 in) in diameter and weigh 3-5 g. (0.11–0.18 oz). Each of the three or two pairs of dupes has three triangular seeds. The drupes are juicy and rich in nutrients, including 300–4600 mg of vitamin C per 100g. They have three enigmatic lobes and are often acidic to subacidic, giving them a sour taste, yet if cultivated properly, they might be pleasant.
Acerola fruit has 8% carbs, 91% water, and very little protein and fat (table). Acerola fruit has an excellent amount of vitamin C in a 100 grams (3.5 oz) reference amount, at about 20 times the Daily Value (DV) (table). The fruit also has 29% of the daily value (DV) of manganese, although the concentration of other micronutrients is consistently low (table).
In addition to being grown elsewhere due to its high vitamin C content, the fruit is edible and commonly enjoyed in its home region. 100 g of fruit has about 1677 mg of vitamin C. The fruit can be used to manufacture vitamin C concentrate, drinks, and pulp.
As a result of its small leaf and fruit and exquisite ramification, acerola is a common bonsai topic. As a hedge and ornamental plant, it is also grown.
White-patched skipper (Chiomara asychis), Florida duskywing (Ephyriades brunneus), and brown-banded skipper caterpillars all use Malpighia emarginata as a host plant (Timochares ruptifasciatus). The Anthonomus macromalus acerola weevil’s larvae eat the fruits, while the adults eat the young leaves. The fruit production is increased by insect pollination in the wild.