Small, 1" around, shiny red to black fruit with prominent lobes. Flesh is juicy, with an acid to sweet flavor. Often dark red or black fruits produce higher quality flesh.
The Surinam cherry is a bush or small tree to 25ft in height. Plants can be trained as small bushes or hedge but can take on a more tree-like growth pattern. Flowering may occur several times a year, with a single moderate sized tree having thousands of flowers. Fruiting is generally profuse with hundreds or thousands of fruits per cycle and trees sometimes fruiting 2-3 times a year. There are some named varieties with most bearing red fruits. There are also lesser known, black ripening types.
It is adapted to both subtropical and tropical climates and is hardy to 22F when full grown.
Plants like full sun and are drought tolerant, needing only moderate rainfall. Fruits develop and ripen in just 3-4 weeks from flowering. In subtropical and tropical climates the tree needs little care and seems to grow in most soil types. Irrigation is necessary in areas with minimal or seasonal rainfall.
Almost always by seed, little attention is given to selection of superior varieties. Red type and black type forms usually come true to seed.
Eaten fresh, often with sugar, or processed into preserves.
Native range extends from Surinam through Uruguay. Rarely cultivated or grown outside of the Americas.