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Seashore and Beach Plants

Muntingia calabura Jamaica Cherry Kersen Muntingiaceae

 

 Jamaica Cherry, kersen, Muntingia calabura

 

Muntingia calabura

 Jamaica Cherry, kersen, Muntingia calabura

The Cherry Tree is named for its sweet sticky fruits, juicy and full of tiny seeds. They are a favourite with birds and bats, which disperse the seeds, and children too! The leaves are covered with tiny sticky hairs.
Although it provides good shade, it is not a popular wayside tree because the birds and bats that visit the tree also leave their droppings under the tree.
The tree flourishes in poor soil, tolerating both acid and alkaline conditions and quite drought resistant.
Main features: Small fast-growing tree with drooping branches that give an umbrella-shaped crown. Grows up to 7-12m.
Leaves: Simple, covered with sticky hairs.
Flowers: Small, white. Last only one day, petals falling in the afternoon.
Fruits: Small, round, juicy, green turning red when ripe. Very sweet, musky, somewhat fig-like flavour, filled with tiny, yellowish seeds, too fine to be noticed when the fruit is eaten.
Uses as food: The fruits are eaten in Mexico and sold in markets there. Fruits are also made into jams and used in tarts. The leaf is made into a tea. In Brazil, they are planted on river banks so their fallen fruit attracts fish which are then caught.

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