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Jaboticaba - Brazilian Grape Tree

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by Susan Jackson (subscribe)
Gold Coast Explorer since Jan 2010. Always on the lookout for fun, family things to enjoy with my four kids.
Published January 10th 2013
Rare fruit revealed
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Jaboticaba is a fruit tree that I have discovered growing on the Gold Coast. January is our favourite month because the dark black shining berries are ripe for the picking and that means eating too. The tree that bears this delicious fruit is also known as the Brazilian Grape Tree.

The fruit has a white pulp, a bit like the look of a lychee when you take the outer skin off. Actually it seems a bit of a cross between a grape and a lychee. The interesting thing about the fruit is that it grows up the trunk and along the branches of the tree in dark clusters. The skin is fairly tough but easy enough to bite through to let you access the pulp. The fruit is best eaten straight after picking as it has a relatively short shelf life and begins to ferment after 3 4 days. This is the main reason that you don't see it in the market place outside the regions it grows in.

[ADVERT]It can be made into jams, tarts, wines and liqueurs. According to Wikipedia: "Several potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory anti-cancer compounds have been isolated from the fruit". It is also said to be very rich in Vitamin C.

This fruit is a favourite in Brazil and is "almost unknown outside its native country" according to The Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia by Louis Glowinski. It grows slowly to a high of 10m. The fruit can be frozen whole. The Australian Tropical Fruits portal states that availability is September to November, but my friend's garden produces its fruit December/January. It was introduced to tropical north Queensland so I'm not sure if it's expected to grow on the Gold Coast but it certainly flourishes. The race is on once the fruit is ripe as birds will arrive and strip the tree in a day if we don't get there first. Rare Fruit Australia advises "Jaboticabas can be successfully grown throughout much of Australia, and it is a tree that gives back much more than the space it occupies. If you don't already have at least one, put it on your urgent shopping list".


Jaboticaba Juice
Jaboticaba Juice
Image Alison Spalding
To make a delicious juice from the berries, just cover your quantity of fruit with water in a saucepan and lightly boil until the skins split. Transfer the berries to a colander over another pot and use a potato masher to squash the fruit and release the juice. Pour into a bottle or jug and put into the fridge, so you can serve it chilled. One internet site I visited also mentioned adding honey to sweeten.

This link is for wine making from Jaboticaba.

Find a friend with a tree and grow one of your own from the seed. It's a great addition to any garden and is suitable for small gardens. My friend lives in Mudgeeraba. If other readers have a tree, leave a comment as to which area you live in.
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Why? For a new fruit taste sensation
When: When ripe which tends to be Dec/Jan on the Gold Coast
Where: From Brazil, but grows in Australia
Cost: Find a friend with a tree, as it's highly unlikely you'll find any in the shops
Your Comment
We live in Bundaberg and our tree grows well here. The fruit is plentiful and seems to ripen very rapidly and pretty much all at once. We have a big crop ready right now (November 2015)
by jimbo (score: 0|8) 1706 days ago
It'great . could you please inform me about any other regions rather than Brazil ?
by peiman (score: 1|22) 2727 days ago
Very interesting tree, I have 3 of my own plants (very young), 2 small leaf & 1 large leaf, 1 small & 1 large in ground, and the other small leaf in pot, the one in pot flowered this year but no fruit (3 beautiful little flowers), I don't think I have ever been more excited & happy in my life compared to when I seen these flowers, been waiting a few years, the small leaf in ground is so lit up & beautiful growing very well out of the 3, when the rain hits as with all/most plants it just activates something & all new shoots come out, the one in the pot seems to loose all its leaves then suddenly gushes out beautifully again (the one that flowered), it now has a new shoot from the very bottom coming out of the soil & seems to be growing quite quickly every week some new growth from it, exciting times.

(pictures are from December 2015)

Fairfield East, Sydney.
by Farouk (score: 1|19) 1609 days ago
Dear Susan,
I live in Sydney and I'm crazy about this fruit! Didn't know we could find it here in Australia. Do you know of any place where I can find the seeds or a young tree? Thanks a lot!! :)
by angel (score: 0|4) 2732 days ago
My Dad has a tree in his garden (Wynnum Brisbane), We have just picked fruit from it (May), The tree would be at least 15 years old and is about 2.5 metres high, so manageable for a small garden. There is so much fruit, I am attempting jam so as not to waste it.
Elizabeth May 2014
by esalo (score: 0|4) 2242 days ago
I live in Hervey Bay & the tree grows very happily here, with a fine one growing in our Botanical Gardens here.
by glena (score: 0|4) 2375 days ago
Hi I have purchased one of these trees to plant and have been looking up as much as possible about it before I plant it to ensure I find the correct spot for it.. I can find much information on it root system ( doe's it have shallow roots or a tap root) so how close can I plant a veg garden to it?
Julie QLD
by maand (score: 0|4) 2653 days ago
I have a tree in Melbourne. Slow growing at about a metre after 5 years, but am looking forward to the fruit when they arrive. Could be in the next year or two. NNB
by Frest (score: 0|4) 1808 days ago
Hi There
We have been gifted a tree which we have kept
In a pot. It has never produced any fruit but looks quite healthy. Would anyone be able to offer any advice on how best to plant it? We would love to get fruit. We live in Sydney NSW
by maria (score: 0|3) 953 days ago
I am at the Northern Gold Coast and have a healthy young (about a year and a half old) specimen in a pot. I'm about to repot it in a half blue barrel ( set up as a wicking barrel) to hopefully give it a chance to get big enough to fruit. Apparently they hate salt including salt air, although I am 200 metres from the water and it seems happy enough. Maybe I'll put another one in the ground in the front yard and see how it goes :-)
by paul9 (score: 0|3) 423 days ago
Yum! OMG, but the fruit looks almost creepy on the tree, though.


Thanks for showing us all. Never seen anything like it.
by curiouser&curiouser (score: 2|526) 2729 days ago
I live in Brisbane - have had fruit off our Jaboticaba trees for nearly 24 years. The trees fruit about four times a year. Can get about 50 to 100 kilos. Birds and flying foxes are a nuisance. Sometimes the fruit is marble size, other times much bigger. Makes wonderful juice.
by hlene (score: 0|4) 2018 days ago
I am collecting the fruit daily from at least 10 mature trees. These trees are doomed to be cut down through government resumption. They have been growing for over 30 years and produce an abundance of fruit. This is in Queensland, Mango Hill. I have been digging up the many small trees popping up around the bigger ones....but they are a very slow growing tree, and can take up to 10/15 years to produce fruit. I only have a couple of days left to collect as much fruit as i can before they are cut down, and it will be years before i will get the fruit sad
by cryst (score: 0|2) 599 days ago
Mid north Coast NSW near Taree Have just the one healthy tree which is presently loaded with fruit at end of November 2017. Am about to try for some wine from this harvest.
by grump (score: 0|2) 950 days ago
Hi Susan,
I live in Perth, and would love to grow one in my big garden, do you know where I can get the seeds or a young plant. This fruit looks awesome, never tried it but I generally love all the fruit. Thanks -look forward to your reply!!!
by asha. (score: 0|6) 2730 days ago
Have 2 trees and live in N.Qld. Fruits several times a year if given plenty of water. My main crop usually July/August. At the moment (end Sept.) it seems to start flowering again... Makes lovely jelly - I would not call it jam as it has to be put through a sieve to get rid of skin and seeds.
by mauwe (score: 0|2) 1018 days ago
Update on my Large Leaf Jabuticaba in ground, it is now attempting to put out some flowers, they haven't opened up just yet, looking forward to see it in its white dress for the first time.
by Farouk (score: 1|19) 1404 days ago
That sounds wonderful. I live in Mudgeeraba. Can I come to buy some fruit?
by henri (score: 0|2) 2730 days ago
Hi, I live in brisbane and want to grow some jaboticaba plants from seed or seedling. I am looking for people that may have a tree and would share some of there bounty with me. Thanks Josh 0411802043
by Josh (score: 0|6) 1701 days ago
Sorry I don't. My original trees came from Turner's in Brisbane and I bought others from Daley's. There are a few varieties of Jaboticaba.
by hlene (score: 0|4) 1921 days ago
I live on the Big Island of Hawaii. Having a big harvest this week and just finished making a big batch of juice. Aloha !!!
by arnag (score: 0|2) 1940 days ago
Growing well in western Sydney, have just been out munching away on this seasons bountiful crop. I planted mine about 10 years ago and it has been fruiting for many years, with this time of year the heat can destroy a crop VERY quickly so keep an eye on the weather and keep the area moist. I just pick pop the whole fruit into my mouth and such the pulp & juice and spit out pips and skin. Makes a beautiful screening tree, does not seem to grow too high, I prune mine to about 3 metres and as the fruit grow on the branches the more branches ...the MORE fruit!
by levar (score: 0|2) 2067 days ago
I have a tree in my garden in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. It is now December and it is full of ripe fruit.
My Dad lives more inland from me and he also has a tree in his garden which is full of fruit.
So they are also found in South Africa!
by cmkey (score: 0|2) 2042 days ago
I live at pacific pines on the gold coast and have had a jaboticaba growing for about 8 years.Its about 2.5 metres tall and produces far more fruit than my family can eat ! We give a lot away but still a lot is wasted, falling to the ground. We tend to get 2 crops a year and the tree flowers after good rain , especially if it has been dry for some time before the rain. We have had no problems with birds or bats.
by wizar (score: 0|2) 1994 days ago
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