Muntingia calabura is a small tree. It can reach 7–12 m tall with tiered and slightly drooping branches. It has serrated leaves 1 – 6 inches long and 1 – 6.5 cm wide. The flowers are little, white, and slightly malodorous. It gives rise to 1 to 1.5 cm light red fruit. The fruit is edible, sweet, and juicy, and contains a large number of tiny yellow seeds.
Scientific Name: Muntingia calabura
Synonyms: Muntingia rosea, Muntingia calabura var. trinitensis
Common Names: English: Jamaica Cherry, Panama Cherry, Singapore Cherry, Strawberry tree, Jam tree, Cotton Candy berry, Calabura, Tamil: Sarkarai Pala Maram, Seeni pala maram, Ten pazham, Telugu: Nakkaraegu, Kannada: Gasagase hannina mara.
How to grow and maintain Muntingia calabura:
It thrives best in full sun, a southern exposure is best.
This tree grows well in any type of soil however for a good harvest, it needs regular mulch and well-rotted compost.
Water your plant regularly during the growing season. You can allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry out between each watering. It is drought-resistant but for regular watering will improve the harvest.
Keep up indoor temperatures above 60°F for continuous flowering. Cooler temperatures down to freezing will slow or stop fruiting.
Fertilize once a week with a low balanced fertilizer like a 15-15-15 or lower or use an organic-based fertilizer once or twice a month. Discontinue feed during the winter.
It can be easily propagated by seed. Sow directly into the field fresh seeds mixed with the sweet juice of the fruit. To prepare seeds for future planting, water is added repeatedly to the squeezed-out seeds and juice and, as the seeds sink to the bottom of the container, the water is poured off several times until the seeds are clean enough for drying in the shade. Cuttings of half-ripe wood Air layering.
Prune any time growth is excessive. Muntingia is a rapid grower and needs periodic pruning of reaching branches to maintain size in containers.
Wherever it grows, fruits are borne almost all year, however blooming and fruiting are interrupted during the coolest months. Ripe fruits can easily be shaken from the branches and caught on cloth or plastic sheets. The Panama berry will fruit within two years. It is eaten out of hand or made into fresh jams.
Pests and Diseases:
There is no serious pest or disease problems. Maybe susceptible to fruit fly and crown gall.