Sunday, June 13, 2021

History of acerola fruit/Barbados cherry

The Barbados cherry (Malphighia glabra L.) belongs to the Malpighiaceae family. It is a tropical and subtropical shrub or small tree bearing fruits.

The generic name of Barbados cherry was derived in honors of Marcello Malpighi, an Italian physician and botanist in the 17th­century.

The Barbados cherry is native to the Lesser Antilles from St. Croix to Trinidad, also Curacao and Margarita and neighboringn northern South America as far south as Brazil. Barbados Cherry, also known as “Acerola” or “West Indian Cherry”, has been cultivated for thousands of years in Central and south America.

It is believed that the fruit to Florida was first reached from Cuba which was carried by Pliny Reasoner as appeared in the catalog of the Royal Palm Nursery for 1887­1888. The seeds of Barbados cherry were brought from Curacao to the United States Department of Agriculture by H.M. Curran in 1917. The plant was casually grown in southern and central Florida until after World War II when it became more commonly planted.

Before the World War II, trees were also planted in the Rio Piedr as Experiment Station, Puerto Rico to control erosion on terraces.

Barbados cherry received considerable attention in the 1950's in Florida, Puerto Rico and Hawaii because of its extremely high vitamin C content. Approximately 100 acres were established in the late 1950's in Florida.

Later, thousands of seedlings were distributed for planting in school to make the easily available of fruits to school children and to increase their vitamins intake.
History of acerola fruit/Barbados cherry