Malpighia emarginata is a tropical fruit-bearing shrub or small tree in the family Malpighiaceae. Common names include acerola (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐse̞ˈɾɔ̞lɐ]), Barbados cherry, West Indian cherry[2] and wild crepe myrtle.[3] Acerola is native to South America, southern Mexico, and Central America, but is now also being grown as far north as Texas and in subtropical areas of Asia, such as India. It is known for being extremely rich in vitamin C, almost as much as camu camu, although it also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3, as well as carotenoids and bioflavonoids, which provide important nutritive value and have antioxidant uses.[4] The vitamin C produced by the fruit is better absorbed by humans than synthetic ascorbic acid.[5] 

Acerola can be propagated by seed, cutting, or other methods. It prefers dry, sandy soil and full sun, and cannot endure temperatures lower than 30°F/-1C. Because of its shallow roots, it has very low tolerance to winds.
Acerola is an evergreen shrub or small tree with spreading branches on a short trunk. It is usually 2–3 m (6.6–9.8 ft) tall, but sometimes reaches 6 m (20 ft) in height.[11]
The leaves are simple ovate-lanceolate, 2–8 cm (0.79–3.15 in) long, 1–4 cm (0.39–1.57 in), and are attached to short petioles. They are opposite, ovate to elliptic-lanceolate, and have entire or undulating margins with small hairs, which can irritate skin.
Flowers are bisexual and 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) in diameter. They have five[11] pale to deep pink or red[12] fringed petals, 10 stamens, and six to 10 glands on the calyx. The three to five flowers per inflorescence are sessile or short-peduncled axillary cymes.[11]
After three years, trees produce significant numbers of bright red drupes 1–3 cm (0.39–1.18 in) in diameter with a mass of 3–5 g (0.11–0.18 oz). Drupes are in pairs or groups of three, and each contains three triangular seeds. The drupes are juicy and very high in vitamin C (3-46 g/kg)[13] and other nutrients. They are divided into three obscure lobes and are usually acidic to subacidic, giving them a sour taste,[11] but may be sweet if grown well.[14] While the nutrient composition depends on the strain and environmental conditions, the most common components of acerola and their concentration ranges, per 100 g, are: proteins (2.1-8.0 g), lipids (2.3-8.0 g), carbohydrates (35.7-78 g), calcium (117 mg), phosphorus (171 mg), iron (2.4 mg), pyridoxine (87 mg), riboflavin (0.7 mg), thiamine (0.2 mg), water (906-920 g
Acerola is a popular bonsai subject because of its small leaf, fruit, and fine ramification. It is also grown as an ornamental[18] and for hedges.[10]  It is one of three ingredients in a proprietary herbal medicine for allergic rhinitis.[19]
(From Wikipedia on 23.11.14)


Bush for ID Tiruvannamalai Tamil Nadu NAW-OCT-29 : 10 posts by 6 authors. Attachments (6).
Kindly identify this bush with edible fruit photographed an the Marudam Farm School, Tiruvannamalei, Tamil Nadu in September 2014.
The bush may have been pruned to keep the fruit with reach of the children, height about 1.5 metres. Pink flowers about 15 mm wide. The one fruit photographed was about 15 mm in diameter, tasting somewhat like starfruit.

Malpighia emarginata DC. [Malpighiaceae].

yes. barbados cherry. i had one in my balcony and … showed some here at indiatreepix in 2011 or early 2012

Thank you all. I noticed the school children going over the bushes very thoroly every day and so i never got to see a red ripe fruit.

Thanks, …, I think it may be Malpighia glabra as Malpighia emarginata is not listed anywhere at Malpighia

Yes. For me also Malpighia glabra. Any how please check for Malpighia punicifolia also before confirming the ID.

There are some good pointers on “Malpighia glabra vs M. emarginata” in the online Herbarium of the University of Michigan. Please refer to the remarks in the “Uses” and the key to these two species at the bottom of this page.
Have also attached some relevant notes on M. emarginata extracted from the paper “Genetic Resources of Tropical and Sub-Tropical Fruits and Nuts” published by the IBPGR Secretariat in July 1986.
The obtuse-emarginate-apiculate leaves (as seen in the photographed plant) and the tangy fruit taste akin to Star Fruit (as described by …) are indicative of M. emarginata. The fruit of M. glabra is said to be “insipid” overall.
Attachments (1)Malpighia emarginata.pdf

…, I think, I have both, M. glabra and M. emarginata in my small balcony garden.

Am attaching pics of both for comparison.
Some differences observed are:
– Sometimes, leaves of M. glabra have fine hair like things on the surface (can be seen in pic Malpighia glabra_3), whereas those of M. emarginata are completely grabrous.
– Shape of leaves
– Fruits of the former are small as compared to the latter, though I have not tasted either.
Kindly validate

Thanks everybody who joined the thread. I have posted some pics and raised.the similar question on 9th Sept.2014-Subject-Malpighia glabra or M.emarginata. Pls help240914RT-2. see attatched pics.
Happy to see that it is still live and hope … inputs finds an answer.

Thanks … for sharing these images. Have been travelling and was out of touch with the eflora emails last week.
Both of these plants appear to be Malpighia emarginata DC. It exhibits substantial variation in the shape/size of the leaves and of the fruit considering the wide number of cultivars of this particular species. The leaf apex can also be acute.
Have attached a PDF illustrating some of the variations in the leaf & the fruit of M. emarginata. [Source: http://www.upov.int/edocs/mdocs/3_e.pdf]
The young leaves of many Malpighia spp. (incl. M. emarginata) are often covered with bristly hairs but this is usually absent in M. glabra, named after its hairless, smooth, and glossy leaves.
The flower photos are not very clear but the style & stamen arrangement in your plants is apparently indicative of M. emarginata. Please see the attached line drawings from an early reference on this genus by J. Vivaldi (1980).
From what I’ve noticed, the cultivated specimens in Mumbai often passed off as M. glabra are usually that of M. emarginata.
Have also attached J. Vivaldi’s monograph on Malpighia (1980) as well as a more recent key to these two species by W. R. Anderson (2007).

Thanks … for the detailed explanation and the info…
I now take it that both the specimens posted by me are M. emarginata.

Tree for ID (NSJ-02:24/02/2013) : 4 images.
A tree for ID
Photo taken at Mamallapuram – Aug-12
Red cherry like fruits are seen.

Please check for Barbados Cherry. Malpighia glabra, Botanical Family: Malpighiaceae. There are a few varieties in this species

Pl. confirm whether it is also Malpighia emarginata as per discussions in efi thread

The photographs are not very clear but it does appear to be M. emarginata

Images by Sandhya Sasidharan (validation by Viplav Gangar), (Inserted by Bhagyashri Ranade)




ID Confirmation 200612 SS1: Malpighia emarginata from Trivandrum :   A few pictures of Malpighia emarginata, a small tree from a garden in Trivandrum.

Family: Malpighiaceae
Pictures taken on 30 May and 6 June 2012.
Please confirm the id.
Popularly known as Barbados cherry or West Indian cherry, native to S. America, S.Mexico and Central America.

Malpighia glabra, Family: Malpighiaceae.

Malpighia glabra L.

Thank you all for the assistance.
Is Malpighia emarginata a synonym of M.glabra? Some sources I referred to says so.

Pl. confirm whether it is also Malpighia emarginata as per discussions in efi thread
I can see some emarginate leaves.

I think it is M. emarginata.

Many a time Acerola /Barbados chrerry is also referred as West lndian cherry. I think it must be
West Indies cherry

011212 BRS 416 for id request.:
Pl. find the attached file contain photo for id. request.
Location: Race Course, Coimbatore
Date: 30.11.2012
Habitat: garden
Habit: Small Tree

From 1st look it appears Hugonia mystax (?). Please check if there is branchlets bearing opposite circinate tendrils?

This is not Hugonia mystax, because the calyx is not visible. This picture may be of some plum. Is this edible … ?

Yes its edible.

It looks like Malpigia, west indian cherry

This is Malpighia glabra. I had posted pictures of the same plant some time ago.

Thanks … for correcting me. Thanks to … and … for the authentication.

Pl. confirm whether it is also Malpighia emarginata as per discussions in efi thread
I can see emarginate leaves.

Indeed M. emarginata.

Pl. confirm whether it is also Malpighia emarginata as per discussions in efi thread
I can see some emarginate leaves.

Yes, M. emarginata.


Malpighia glabra : For Validation : Nasik : 040614 : AK-8 :  6 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (1).
A small, cultivated tree in a private garden.

Seen in Nasik on 4/5/14.
Fruits were larger in size, compared to other similar tree fruits seen before.
Kindly validate.

I have seen the fruits before, only these were little bigger in size.

Yes, this is Malpighia glabra

I think this is Malpighia glabra

Pl. confirm whether it is also Malpighia emarginata as per discussions in efi thread
I can see some emarginate leaves.

Yes, M. emarginata.

Thanks for the correct id.


Malpighia glabra or M.emarginata.pls help.240914.RT-2. : 6 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (3).

pls help to identify this cherry.
Height-6-8 feet.

Fruits-edible 1 inch size.

Malpighia glabra

Thanks. The available resources (to me) shows the same thing as M.glabra and M.emarginata. Experts; please advice..

Thanks, … The following may solve your queries: Malpighia

Thank you … Happy Vijayadasami to you and all my friends at EFI.

Pl. confirm whether it is also Malpighia emarginata as per discussions in efi thread
I can see some emarginate leaves.

Yes to M. emarginata. The leaf apex can vary depending on the cultivar.


Malpighia emarginata For Validation : MNP,Mumbai : 03Dec14 : AK-7 :  3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (2)
A Bonsai plant seen at BBC Show, Maharashtra Nature Park in Mumbai.
Pictures taken on 30/3/13.
…, can you kindly validate?

Malpighia emarginata D


ID Confirmation Requested_17052011_DSSN2:
A small potted plant with red berries I found in a nursery around Kolkata last week.
Nurserymen told me it is a cherry plant.

This is Barbados Cherry or Malpighia glabra of Malpighiaceae.

very nice, which Nursery did you see this at? I am in Cal.
right now… would love to get one for my garden…

Appears to be Malpighia emarginata as per discussions in efi thread

Malpighia urens ? (mixed thread):
Please se two photographs of Malpigia punicifolia growing in our
Botanical garden

Rather appears to be more close to Malpighia emarginata as per images & detailed discussions here.

Malpighia glabra FOR VALIDATION :: Dattaji Salvi Udyan :: 05 MAY 18 : 4 posts by 2 authors. 3 images.
Dattaji Salvi Udyan  Thane
Date: May 5, 2018 … Altitude: about 11 m (36 feet) asl
Malpighia glabra  L.  

I think closer to images at Malpighia emarginata DC. as per comparative images at Malpighia ‎and as per Detailed keys of some species are also available in this efi thread

Thank you very very much, … Agrees well with the keys pointed by … in the eFI post.


Identification of tree: 4 images.
Tree planted on the roadside.
Flowering fruiting berry appears like cherry.

Flower shape looks like some Cuphea but it looks like a tree!

Will post some close of the flowers? It is a small tree almost everygreen.

Suggestion not confirmation: Check for Malphigiaceae. Could be Malphigia glabra. But need fruits photo for confirmation.

Looks like Malphigia glabra

Seems to be Malphigia glabra….. Barbados cherry. Fruits are furrowed.

It may be Malpighia emarginata. A few of the leaves are emarginate.

In that case we need clear new pics…according to the link below ..leaf margins have small hairs.
Leaves The leaves are simple ovate-lanceolate, 2 – long, 1 -, and are attached to short petioles. They are opposite, ovate to elliptic-lanceolate, and have entire or undulating margins with small hairs, which can irritate skin.

I feel close to Malpighia emarginata as per images and details herein and as suggested by …



The Plant List Ver.1.1  Wikipedia  NTBG