Acerola CherriesPosted 8 years ago under Health
Acerola cherries are one of the top natural sources of vitamin C available. Typically they are available in juice, pulp, or supplement form but can be eaten right from the tree. Because of their incredible amounts of vitamin C and other potent antioxidants, acerola cherries are used to treat colds, intestinal inflammation, infections, and even depression.
The acerola cherry comes from the Malpighia emarginata plant.
Kingdom (Plantae) → Phylum (Angiosperms) → Class (Eudicots) → Rosids → Order (Malpighiales) → Family (Malpihiaceae) → Genus (Malpighia) → Species (Malpighia emarginata)
The acerola cherry plant is considered to be an evergreen shrub that typically grows to about 6.5-10 ft tall but can reach heights of 20 feet. The leaves are small and glossy; the flowers are 1-2cm in diameter and can be various shades of pink. The fruits, the edible acerola cherry, are bright red and the typical size of a cherry.
Acerola is traditionally found in South America and Central America. It is now being grown in southern parts of North America up to Texas and in subtropical parts of Asia like India. The plant thrives in sandy, dry soils under full sun and cannot survive temperatures that drop below freezing. It also does not do well in acidic soil but is drought-tolerant.
The acerola cherry is best known for providing over 2000% RDA of vitamin C and for being a potent source of antioxidants. The form of vitamin C found in acerola cherries is more easily absorbed by humans than synthetic forms. Acerola cherries also provide 29% RDA of manganese. It is also considered a good source of antioxidants such as carotenoids and bioflavonoids.
The acerola cherry plant takes three years to produce fruit but has a long harvest season. It is capable of producing multiple crops a year.
Diseases, Pests, Predators
The main pest that harms acerola cherry plants is the root-knot nematodes. These can kill off younger plants and cause decreased crop production in older plants.