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Myrtaceae, Myrciaria floribunda, Rumberry, Guavaberry

April 1, 2008

A close relative of Camu-camu. This is native to dry and moist coastal forests of tropical America. Bears a small, bright orange berry. The flesh is strongly fragrant. Makes an excellent jam or juice. At Christmas time in parts of the Lesser Antilles (W. Indies) a Guavaberry rum is made. This is a delicious, aromatic, rum-based liqueur that has apparently been brewed for centuries.

M. floribunda is a very slow growing species, rarely found cultivated in its region of origin, although wild trees are typically left in pastures that have been cleared of their vegetation.

I know of a single tree and have harvested fruit once. Bears heavily.

In my experience the small, hard seeds can take a while to germinate. After months of waiting for germination I kind of lost track of them. Eventually I got a few sprouts. A light scarification might prove beneficial in expediting the process. Next season i’ll germinate a few dozen, as this is a very uncommon in interesting tree.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Christine Norton permalink
    April 1, 2008 10:08:33 pm

    Hi I wish to comment on the yellow tasty fruit which apparently remains unidentified. In Trinidad we call it Governor’s Plum. I searched the following site and found this information:

    The fruit can be eaten raw or if often eaten with green salads etc. Good luck. Christine

  2. anthromes permalink*
    April 1, 2008 10:08:22 pm

    Thanks for the comment, but I’m pretty sure this is not Governors plum (Flacourtia indica). Check out the leaves. I’ll put up some more detailed photos. Also, the fruit on this tree drops when orange, the color in the photos is mature. As far as I the Governors plum is dark purple when ripe. I’ll put up an entry for the Governors plum with photos of leaves and fruit to illustrate the difference. Based on the trunk and leaves and seed I have reson to believe this tree is a guava, jaboticaba relative. Thanks.

  3. Mihaly Czako permalink
    November 4, 2008 10:08:29 pm

    Are the leaves serrate on the margin?

  4. February 8, 2009 10:08:50 pm

    Dear Mihaly,

    Just want to keep in contact with you, regarding possible exchange of seeds.

    I’m in Brazil.


  5. April 22, 2009 10:08:54 am

    I noticed that this is not the first time you write about the topic. Why have you chosen it again?

  6. April 22, 2009 10:08:03 pm

    Liza, I believe this is the first time I’ve written about this fruit. Although, had I written about it numerous times it would have been well warranted, because it is a very cool tree.

  7. July 9, 2009 10:08:48 pm

    I became enamoured with this fruit after a trip to the Virgin Islands. I tasted a liqueur made from this it and a fruit tart. I am from Trinidad and have read that this tree grows here but I myself have never come across one. It probably goes by a different local name. Do you know of any other names for this fruit other than guavaberry or rumberry – it may help me to track it down. Thanks.

    • July 16, 2009 10:08:26 pm

      The only other name I am familiar with is the latin, Myrciaria floribunda. I would suggest checking out any local botanical gardens or fruit collectors, enthusiasts. It is a fantastic tree. Not common at all in Panama. In fact the only mature tree I am aware of is at the far back of a semi-abandoned botanical garden. Took me years to find it, and I’ve only seen it fruit once.

      • July 17, 2009 10:08:55 am

        I did find a site that sells the seeds so I’ve ordered some 🙂 I wonder how long it takes to grow and then to produce fruit. I guess I’m gonna find out.

  8. July 17, 2009 10:08:38 pm

    In my experience the seed takes a while to germinate. I was germinating about thirty seeds and eventually gave up, planting other seeds in the germination container. Eventually a few of the M. floribunda popped up, but I lost most of them. You might want to consider scarifying the seeds before planting, or at least soaking them in water for 24 hours. Not sure if you’re familiar with the tree itself, but it’s incredibly attractive. After just a few months of growth it begins to take on great structure, small glossy leaves, flushes out pinkish growth. So even between now and whenever it begins producing, you’ll have some fantastic trees.

  9. Ted Dooley permalink
    July 23, 2009 10:08:57 am


    Slightly off topic but I’m trying to find a supplier of this type of plant.

    My partner previously worked at Kew Gardens, London where she
    researched plant diversity in South America. As a model organism she
    used members of the Myrtaceae species, specifically species in the
    Myrciinae group.

    She is rather fond of these species so as a surprise birthday gift I
    would love to buy her a member of this group. If these endangered
    plants are not available then do you recommend any other Myrtaceae
    species (from South America) I could buy her?

    Any of your expert knowledge would be greatly appreciated.



    • August 2, 2009 10:08:20 pm

      Sorry it took a while to get back to you. Kew sounds like a fantastic spot, never been. Someday. I’m fairly fond of Eugenia victoriana and Eugenia stipitada. Of course, whether or not you’re partner will be able to grow them, or others in the family, depends on where she lives. Eugenia stipitada (Araza) is a small, shade-loving fruit tree from South America. Not sure if its endangered, but it’s most definitely under-appreciated. Same can be said for Eugenia victoriana. The jaboticabas are all good ones. You can type “Myrtaceae” in the search bar on this blog and a bunch of results should come up. Most of the Myrtaceae species I’m familiar with are tropical, although check out pineapple guava and strawberry guava for a few sub-tropical temperate species.

  10. March 4, 2010 10:08:51 pm

    Dear Anthrome and fellows,

    Yes, the plant in the photo is true Myrciaria floribunda, perhaps the most widely distributed species of Myrciaria in the wild. It occurs from South Brazil to Central America, in many different biotopes.

    It is pretty common in Rio de Janeiro, where I live. I wrote about it recently, in my blog


    • March 5, 2010 10:08:46 pm

      Do you find they bear fruit consistently? As I wrote in the post, I’ve only found fruit on this tree once. Although I visit it regularly i haven’t seen it flowering or fruiting since (for a few years).

  11. Anonymous permalink
    August 13, 2011 10:08:53 am

    Hey Spencer,
    Hope all is well. The Myrciaria floribunda from the picture has small, pea sized, green fruit. I was out visiting this tree and the neighboring Kepel tree. The Mangosteens are loaded with fruit this time of year. I was wondering if you could provide me with any other locations that would be cool to check out. I still need to swing by the Vivero near the entrance to Parque Metropolitano.
    Drop me a line when you can.
    All the best

    • August 13, 2011 10:08:15 am

      Very interesting. From what I’ve observed the M. floribunda don’t produce fruit year round. I only collected fruit once and not many seeds germinated. It’s a very cool tree. I would keep a close eye on it so you catch it when fruit are ripe.

      Definitely check on the Sapucaia nuts (Lecythis ellipitca and L. zabucajo). The L. elliptica are easy to get to, but L. zabucajo are not, massive tree. I almost killed myself climbing it to get one of the massive seed pods. L. zabucajo is off to the far left before the old Alligator pond, in the first long stretch of the path if you go left after the entrance. L. elliptica are near the old entrance (now locked) along the side that runs parallel to the road to Gamboa.

      Also look for Garcinia tinctoria.

      Shit, there are so many interesting trees there, but most are in disparate, obscure places, so its hard to describe. I wish I had gotten gps coordinates for them.

      All the bamboos are worth propagating. They have a very large collection.

      Are there fruit on the Mabolo, near the M. floribunda?

  12. Anonymous permalink
    August 13, 2011 10:08:01 pm

    Hey Spencer,
    The Garcinia tinctoria near the Kaffir Lime are super loaded with fruit, not many ripe ones yet. The Mabolos near the Rumberry had just finished fruiting and none were left on the tree. The Mabolo near the Nutmeg behind the viviero still had numerous fruits on it.
    The Annona purpea near the animal cages was raining down big fruit. The L. elliptica seems to almost always be flowering and fruiting when I go out there.
    Did you ever collet any scion wood from the mango trees out there? For some reason I always miss them flowering and fruiting but I figured if they are planted there they should be of a good variety.
    My wife and I just bought land and I’m starting to propagate and plant. I’m collecting some palms and bamboos from Summit as well as through the Canal Zone. It looks as through interesting trees were planted throughout the Zone.
    Did you collect Monkey Jack out in Summit? Did you run across any other nursery or collector that I could visit here in Panama?

  13. Anonymous permalink
    May 9, 2012 10:08:15 am

    From living in the virgin islands i know for a fact that there are atleast two varieties of this fruit. The one that you described which is yellow when mature, and another type that is bright-deep red when mature. Other that the difference in the color of the mature fruit i havent personaly noticed any other differences between trees.

    • May 10, 2012 10:08:15 am

      Very interesting, thanks for the info. As of yet I’ve only encountered the variety photographed here.

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