Native to Brazil, Jaboticabas grow at elevations from sea-level to 3,000 ft and are generally sensitive to frost according to varieties.
As a fruit for human consumption, the Jaboticaba is grape-like in appearance, dark purple to black, 1inch in diameter, and has a gelatinous white pulp. It is believed to have medicinal properties for treating asthma, diarrhea and sun-dried skin. Because the tree is a slow-grower, sensitive to frost and not widely promoted, the Jaboticaba remains a minor crop.
Seeds can be planted after danger of frost, in full sun, in well-drained soil and even in soils that are acidic. It can take 8-15 years to bear fruit from seed though grafting gives good results and can shorten the production time to as little as three years. Its very slow growth has prevented its popularity. The root system is shallow so surface watering can give good results.
Jaboticaba blooms 5 or 6 times each year and will produce fruit about 30 days after flowering. Fruit is attached directly to the trunk and main branches of the tree and each fruit contains one to four seeds. The seeds tend to ferment quickly and then will not geminate properly.
There are no serious diseases that affect the Jaboticaba though in periods of prolonged rains, some varieties are subject to a rust. Animals such as birds, raccoons and opossums will eat the fruit as it grows within their easy reach.
Jaboticabas are eaten fresh, made into jams, jellies and wine and can be frozen either as juice or fruit.