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Muntingia calabura

Jamaican Cherry, Panama Berry

A beautiful small tree to about 12 m tall, native to forests from Mexico and the Caribbean south to Peru. It has spreading or slightly weeping branches with soft foliage and small white flowers, followed by small, red, edible and sweet fruits the size of cherries. The berries are good raw or made into jam. It is an easy and extremely fast growing, highly ornamental tree for the tropics in USDA Zones 10 and above.

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germination comments by our visitors
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Seeds from this species ...

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
These are said to be normally spread by fruit bats and are common in some tropical areas. They are NOT common in our area of Costa Rica, but a few people do have them. I tried growing from cuttings with no luck.This fruit has some thousands of tiny seeds mixed in the nice sweet pulp. Being so tiny it is nearly impossible to separate them from the pulp. The easiest way I found to handle them was sucking on the fruits then transferring to a paper towel. I then smeared them over the paper towel so they would dry quickly to avoid mold. I let them dry indoors under in a room with a small skylight for a few weeks. The ones you purchase here should be in similar condition - dry and ready to plant.Then I used one of my favorite seeding methods. I take plastic trays that roasted chickens come in that have a snap-on plastic top. I put about 3 or 4 centimeters of good, damp potting soil inside, and placed small pieces of the seed-soaked paper towels around. Then I covered with a vey thin (2-3 mm? layer of potting soil, with the idea that light could get to the seeds. A ziplock bag will work almost the same but could damage the very delicate plants once they sprout.I put this on the kitchen table under the small skyligt. I checked it some days later and saw some very tiny sprouts coming up, appearing to be growing well. But is seemed a bit dry by then so I misted it with water. The results were amazing, within a few days I have hundreds or thousands of tiny plants growing well. I have removed the top occasionally to replace the air and have moved them to an outside porch with more light. They look so delicate I think that they will need to stay in this sealed "terrarium" for quite some time - until big enough to transplant with tweezers or toothpick to a potting tray, but seem to be doing very well...
Submitted on 10/09/2013 by Jesse Blenn

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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