Suriname cherry is an exotic plant native to the countries of South America, which can equally successfully grow both in the garden and in the conditions of the room. It is widely distributed in its homeland - Suriname and in many other countries; some gardeners are also known in Russia.
What is this plant
Suriname cherry is one of the types of fruit trees belonging to the genus Eugene of the family Myrta. Another name for this culture is pitanga or Brazilian myrtle. It is grown as an ornamental plant and as a fruit tree to produce edible berries.
Biological plant description
Pitanga Suriname Cherry is an evergreen tree up to 7 m high or a shrub with drooping branches. For cultivation in room conditions, a variety with a small growth force has been developed. The upper side of the leaves of the plant is dark green, the lower side is brighter, in young leaves and shoots there is a bronze or reddish color. Leaf blades are shiny, opposite, oval-lanceolate, their length reaches 5 cm. They have a light resinous aroma that is felt if rubbed in their hands.
The flowers are small, about 1 cm in diameter, with 4 petals, located one by one or gathered in inflorescences that are in the leaf axils. Blooming flowers of creamy white color, with a large number of long stamens. A variety of cultivars blooms from the end of March to the beginning of May, can produce 2 harvests per season. It pollinates and fastens the plant easily, even in artificial conditions. Looks like Suriname cherry can be seen in the photo.
Description and taste of fruits
The fruits of Surinam cherry are medium-sized (only 2-4 cm in diameter) ribbed (an average of 8 ribs) berries. Their color as they mature changes from green to yellow-orange, orange, red or burgundy. Their skin is thin, the flesh is juicy, tender, similar in color and structure to an ordinary European berry. The taste of Suriname cherry harmonious sweet-sour, with some bitterness, the aroma is a bit like coniferous. The berries contain 1-2 inedible bitter seeds. Ripe fruits are torn off from the stalks easily; one has only to touch them.
How is Suriname cherry useful?
Its fruit contains some proteins (0.8 g), fats (0.4 g) and carbohydrates (7.5 g), organic acids and fiber, but 90% is water. Vitamins are represented by ascorbic acid, retinol, compounds from group B, and minerals by calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and sodium. The calorie content of Suriname cherry, like of all fruits, is small - only 33 kcal per 100 g of product.
If you use the berry regularly, it will have a fortifying and immunomodulating effect on the body, normalize cholesterol, prevent blood vessels from thinning and clogging. Because of the fiber contained in this berry, it will be useful to those who have problems with the intestines. Minerals will help strengthen bones, nails, hair and teeth, prevent the development of anemia, even contribute to the restoration of vision, strengthen the nervous and cardiovascular system. Not only pithangi berries are useful - you can make teas from leaves that will be useful for a cold.
It is not recommended to use it to people with individual intolerance, gastritis and gastric ulcer. Pregnant pitangu can eat, but to a limited extent, children - only from 3 years of age.
Scope of fruit
Pitanga cherry is used mainly for fresh food, but it is also possible to make sweet preparations from it: jam, jams, sweet paste, compotes, wine, juices, stuffing for pies. To eliminate the inherent bitterness of these fruits, they need to hold some time in sugar.
Pitangi application in cosmetology
Berry consumption has a good effect on the skin - it retains youth and freshness longer, it becomes clean and smooth, and the lesions heal faster on it. Suriname cherry is part of the production of care products, you can add its juice and creams, prepared according to homemade recipes.
Where does Suriname cherry grow?
The plant in both wild and cultural forms is found in several countries in South America - Suriname, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, etc. Cultivars are also grown in Venezuela, India, the Philippines, Colombia, South China, and Israel. In Europe, the plant is not very popular, although there are many who want to, who will not refuse to try its exotic fruits. In Russia, it grows in the southern regions, in a dry climate, as it is a heat-loving culture.
Features of the cultivation of Suriname cherry in the garden
This unusual plant for Russians is quite resistant to adverse growing conditions, it is undemanding to the soil, tolerates short frosts and a long drought.
Site selection and soil preparation for planting
Culture grows best on sunny, protected from wind and drafts sites. Although cherries are undemanding to the soil, they still need to be prepared: clean the area from plant residues, dig up the soil and apply organic or mineral fertilizers.
How to plant Suriname Cherry
Seedlings are planted in a permanent place in the spring or in the middle of autumn. The place where the tree will grow is chosen sunny, with a small shadow formed at the hottest time of the day. Ash and a source of nitrogen — humus — are poured into the planting hole; Suriname cherry normally grows only on fertilized soils with a neutral or slightly acidic soil reaction. If the selected area is wet, a layer of drainage material is poured at the bottom of the pit, because the plant does not tolerate the wetting of the roots. The depth of seedlings should not be lower than the root collar.
Suriname Cherry Care
Pitanga or Suriname cherry begins to bear fruit already in the 2nd year. It does not require special care for itself: it needs to be watered, especially in heat, and in order to retain moisture, mulch the soil around the plant with hay, straw or agrofibre. You need to feed the plants once a month with complex fertilizers. You can use both organic and mineral fertilizers. Formative pruning is carried out in the spring, if necessary, you can remove excess sprouting branches in the summer.
The plant can bloom and bear fruit twice a year, from the end of flowering until ripening berries takes 3 weeks. In the autumn, before the onset of cold weather, it is necessary to cover the soil on the tree wheel with fallen leaves, straw, hay, and spruce branches.
Reproduction Suriname Cherry
The plant pitanga well propagated by seeds that have high germination. It is enough to plant a fresh seed in the fertile land, and it will germinate. The germination process takes about 1.5-2 months. The young seedling is planted in a permanent place in October.
How to grow Suriname cherry at home
This exotic plant is able to decorate with itself not only a garden, but also a room, therefore it is quite possible to grow it at home. To do this, you need a fairly large container, fertile land and a good young seedling. Plant with planted plants should be installed in a sunny place. Care - about the same as for the cherry growing in the garden: frequent watering during the day and moderate in winter, spraying over the leaves in the heat. The houseplant needs to be transplanted into a new container the next spring after planting, and then do it every 2 years. Pruning branches should be in the spring, at the beginning of the new season.
Diseases and pests
Due to improper watering the tree can get root rot. Control measures - transplanted to a new ground, after cutting the roots and sprinkling the sections with coal powder. Among the pests, the plant can affect aphids, scale insects, whiteflies, mites, slugs. They are destroyed by suitable insecticides and acaricides.
Suriname cherry or pitanga is an exotic and rare plant, but interesting for many gardeners. It is undemanding to the conditions of cultivation and decorative, they can decorate both the garden and the residential house, and at the same time receive a harvest of tasty and juicy fruits that taste like something familiar to all ordinary cherry.