Malpighiaceae – Byrsonima


Barbados cherry family

Malpighia family

Malpighiaceae includess approximately 66 genera of woody climbers, trees, and shrubs from the tropics, with greatest diversity in tropical America. Leaves are simple, opppsite, usually with paired glands on the petioles or near the base of the blade. They characteristically have T – shaped, occasionally irritating hairs. Flowers are usually bisexual, bilaterally to almost radially symmetrical, and in racemes. The 5 petals are often fringed and usually clawed. The sepals often have oil glands. There is one inconspicuous bract and 2 bracteoles. The fruit is a fleshy drupe, schizocarp, nut, or samara. The fuiccy fruits of Malpighia emarginata have high concentrations of Vitamin C.


Byrsonima includes approximately 150 species of shrubs and trees from tropical America. These are common plants of hillsides, savannas, or sometimes rain forest. The flowers are yellow, pink or orange with hairy receptacles. The leaves lack glands but are usually hairy. The stamen filaments are hairy at the base. Fruits are fleshy and 3 – seeded, often edible, and provide food for widlife. The name is often misspelled brysonima.

Byrsonima crassifolia

Craboo, nance

Synonyms: B. lanceolata, Malpighia crassifolia. Mexico, Central America, West Indies, northern South America. Evergreen tree,15-30ft, zones 9-11. Blooms late spring, early summer. Moderate moisture. Average, well drained soil. Full to part sun. Flowers: small, petals clawed, edges ruffled, yellow when young turning deep orange with age, in racemes to 6 in. long, fruit round, yellow, edible. Leaves: elliptic to oblanceolate, 3-5 in. long, leathery, clustered near the ends of the branches. Coastal to seaside. Moderately salt tolerant. An ornamental flowering shade tree. Unusual but highly recommended. The species name alludes to the thick leaves.

Byrsonima lucida

Locust – berry, muricl

Synonym: B. cuneata. Florida, west Indies. Evergreen shrub, 6-15ft, zones 9-11. Blooms late  spring, early summer, Seasonally moist/dry. Average, well – drained soil. Full to part sun. Flowers: small, white, turning pink, clawed, margins smooth. Leaves: obovate, 2-3 in. long, stiff, tapering toward the base. A shrub of rocky pinelands and coastal scrub in South Florida and the Caribbean. Moderately salt tolerent.

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