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You are viewing one of thousands of biographies – click below for more, including Search box and access to Plant
[Synonyms : Eugenia arechavaletae, Eugenia brasiliana, Eugenia costata, Eugenia dasyblasta,
var. diversifolia, Myrtus brasiliana var. lanceolata, Myrtus brasiliana var. lucida, Myrtus
is a shrub or tree. Native to tropical South America (especially Brazil) it
has fragrant creamy-white flowers with tufts of prominent, pale yellow-tipped, white
It is also known as Bärmyrten (Swedish), Brazil cherry, Brazilian cherry, Cayenne cherry,
Cayennekirsche (German), Cayennekirsebær (Danish), Cereza de Cayena (Spanish),
Cereza quadrada (Colombian, Spanish), Cerezo de Cayena (Spanish), Cerezo de
Surinam (Spanish), Cerise à côtes (French), Cerise carrée (French), Cerise de Cayenne
(French), Cerisier de Cayenne (French), Cěrmai bělanda (Malay), Ciliegio di Cayenna
(Italian), Einblutige Kirschmyrte (German), Eugenie (Danish), Eŭgenio unuflora
(Esperanto), Fan ying tao (Chinese), Goraka-jambu (Singhalese), Guinda (Salvadoran),
(Chinese), Ma-yom-farang (Thai), Myrten (Swedish), Nagapiry (Spanish), Ñanga-piré
(Argentinian, Uruguayan), Pendanga (Venezuelan), Pitanga (Brazilian, English,
Portuguese, Spanish), Pitanga cherry, Pitanga da praia (Portuguese), Pitanga du Brésil
(French), Pitangueira (Portuguese), Red Brazil cherry, Surinaamsche kersh
(Surinamese), Surinaamse kers (Dutch), Surinam cherry, Surinaminkirsikka (Finnish),
and Surinamkirsche (German).
Uniflora is derived from Latin uni- (one) and -flora (flowered) components meaning ‘one-
flowered or with solitary flowers’.
Authorities believe that it was the Portuguese traders who introduced Florida cherry from
Brazil to India. But it was a specimen in Italy (in a garden in Pisa) that was first described
botanically – and this plant was believed to have come from India, more precisely Goa on
the western coast. It was introduced to Singapore in about 1900 and from there it spread
The small shiny ripe fruit (that have matured from green through orange to red to black and are
sweetly aromatic-tasting) are eaten raw and made into puddings, pies, sherbets, syrup,
jams and compôtes (especially in Brazil) – and the unripe fruit are used to make chutney.
In Brazil the juice is fermented for vinegar as well. These fruit have also been used to
make wine, alcohol and liqueur, and the young leaves can be prepared as a tea. Perhaps it
should be mentioned however that in Florida where it is still a familiar sight as hedging it
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is contended that the raw fruit are only eaten by children now although they used to be
viewed there as a culinary asset.
Locally the pungent crushed leaves have been scattered on barn floors as an insect repellent.
They used also to be strewn in Brazilian homes to repel flies as they were trodden under
In Brazil too the bark has been used for tanning.
The Uruguayan National Administration of Posts issued a series of stamps which bore
indigenous flowers. Florida cherry was one of them.
Medicinally, local Brazilian herbalists have recommended a leaf infusion for easing stomach
upsets and treating worms, while in Surinam a leaf decoction has been taken as a cold
cure and it has also been used as an ingredient for treating fever.