Acerola, power-packed vitamin C

Acerola cherry on leafy branch.

Acerola, also called Barbados cherry, is a red-colored fruit that is renowned and appreciated for its high levels of vitamin C.

Essential Acerola facts

Name – Acerola, Malpighia glabra
Family – Malpighiaceae
Type – fruit shrub

Height – 16 to 26 feet (5 to 8 meters) in its native setting
Exposure – sun
Soil – well-drained

Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – 6 to 7 times a year

Most often we come along it in a gelcap purchased in a pharmacy, but actually it is a slightly tangy fruit with juicy flesh.

Growing acerola

Yellow and pink-flowering acerola branch.Native to Mexico and South America, the acerola tree is a tropical tree that cannot grow in temperate climates, unless grown in pots and brought in a heated moist greenhouse during winter.

Fruit formation is also difficult to succeed in obtaining when not in its natural environment. It still has great ornamental and decorative value, though.

Planting acerola in pots

Choose a substrate that is adequate for growing the acerola tree, like Mediterranean plant or citrus plant soil mix.

The pot must have a hole at the bottom and a drainage layer bed of gravel or clay beads to let water drain away.

  • In summer, Acerola can be left outdoors, starting in mid-May up to mid-September.
  • In winter, it requires a hot, moist greenhouse.
  • Moisture can be provided by often misting the foliage with soft water.
  • It is advised to repot every 2 to 3 years.

Health benefits of acerola

Acerola branch laden with yet unripe fruits.Many therapeutic effects are attributed to acerola, especially thanks to its high vitamin C content. Vitamin C levels are roughly 20 times higher than oranges.
So acerola is both a tonic and restructuring agent for our bodies. It increases muscle tone and overall vigor of our body.
But other vitamins present are vitamins B6, B1 and A which all take part in protecting our health and reinforcing our body’s immune system.

Acerola can be ingested either directly as a fruit, in a gelcap or tab.

Smart tip about acerola

If you’re hoping to produce your own acerola yourself, you’ll need an adequate space that matches its needs.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Acerola berry by Tómaz Alves under Pixabay license
Acerola flowers by dcmevergreen under © CC BY 2.0
Acerola branch with berries by Tómaz Alves under © CC BY-SA 2.0