The cherry itself is the size of the northern cherry, but has 3 lobes and can be 'bumpy' looking. They ripen a deep red, and have a vibrant orange flesh surrounding an unusual, tri-winged seed. They are sweet, but can be pleasantly tart as well. The fruit can be eaten fresh, or processed into jams, jellies, juices or smoothies. The cherries are fairly perishable, but can be frozen. They contain high amounts of highly absorbable vitamin C, so much so they are a traditional cure for scurvy. The cherries also contains copper, vitamin A and beta carotene, along with 150 phytonutrients.
Barbados cherries are a large, weeping shrub. They have a beautiful little pink flower, and stays green year round. Established trees are hardy to 28 deg, enjoy daily watering (they can tolerate mild drought, but fruit production will be affected) and take well to pruning and being grown in large pots. They are sensitive to the nematodes in Florida's sandy soil, so if they are planted in the ground, add plenty of compost and rich soil to the hole. Fruit ripens in 25-30 days and several crops are born over the spring, summer and fall. These trees can be trained as fences using the espalier method.
For more info on the history, health benefits and uses of the Acerola please check out this article by Kate over at BeHealthy.Today!