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Christopher Cruz
Christopher Cruz

Barbados Gooseberry


Pereskia aculeata is a scrambling shrub in the family Cactaceae. Common names include Barbados gooseberry, blade-apple cactus, leaf cactus, rose cactus, and lemonvine.[3] It is native to tropical America. The leaves and fruits are edible, containing high quantities of protein, iron and other nutrients, and it is a popular vegetable in parts of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais under the name of ora-pro-nóbis.




barbados gooseberry



Barbados gooseberry is capable of adapting to a variety of environmental conditions. Viable seeds are spread by water, birds (surviving passage through the gut), and humans through the horticultural trade. Spreads rapidly to form dense, thorny, impenetrable thickets effectively smothering other vegetation; gardens have been abandoned due to the overwhelming invasion of Barbados gooseberry. It is listed as a noxious weed in South Africa. Stems and detached leaves stay alive and can form roots months after removal from the parent plant. Extreme thorniness and vigorous growth from plant fragments make control of large infestations difficult.


Barbados GooseberryPereskia aculeata Mill.Pereskia pereskia Karst.Cactus pereskia L.DescriptionOrigin and Distribution VarietiesClimatePropagation Culture SeasonFood UsesOther UsesA climbing, leafy cactus, the Barbados gooseberry, Pereskia aculeata Mill., (syn. P. pereskia Karst.; Cactus pereskia L.), has various English names: West Indian gooseberry, Spanish gooseberry, lemon vine, sweet Mary, leaf cactus, blade apple, and gooseberry shrub–the latter in Barbados. It is known as grosellero or ramo de novia in Cuba; buganvilla blanca in Chiapas, Mexico; guamacho in Venezuela; ora-pro-nobis (pray for us) in Brazil; bladappel in Surinam. The generic name is sometimes spelled Peireskia, especially in Europe, for it was adopted in honor of Nicholas Peiresk, a senator of Aix in Provence, France, and a patron of botany.Fig. 97: A leafy, spiny, climbing shrub, the Barbados gooseberry (Pereskia aculeata) is an atypical cactus. Fig. 98: The pecular yellow or reddish fruits of the Barbados gooseberry bear recurved, leafy sepals until fully ripe. DescriptionThe plant is an erect woody shrub when young, becoming, with age, scrambling or climbing and vinelike, with branches up to 33 ft (10 m) long that may shroud a large tree. Spines on the trunk are long, slender, in groups; those on the branches are short, recurved, usually in pairs, rarely solitary or in 3's, in the leaf axils. The deciduous, alternate, short-petioled, waxy leaves are elliptic, oblong or ovate, with a short point at the apex; 1 1/4 to 4 in (3.2-10 cm) long, sometimes fleshy. To some people, the flowers are lemon-scented; others say sweet and pungent in odor; still others, of unpleasant or repulsive odor. They are borne profusely in panicles or corymbs; are white, yellowish or pink-tinted; 1 to 1 3/4 in (2.5-4.5 cm) across and the calyx tube is prickly. The fruit is round, oval or pyriform, lemon- or orange-yellow or reddish; 3/8 to 3/4 in (1-2 cm) wide, with thin, smooth, somewhat leathery skin. It is beset with the curling, leafy sepals of the calyx and often a few spines, until fully ripe, when it is juicy and subacid to tart. There are only a few flat, thin, brown or black, soft seeds about 1/6 in (4 mm) long.Origin and DistributionThe Barbados gooseberry is believed to be indigenous to the West Indies, coastal northern South America and Panama. It is seldom found truly wild but is frequently grown as an ornamental or occasionally for its fruits in the American tropics, Bermuda, California, Hawaii, Israel, the Philippines, India and Australia. In many areas it has escaped from cultivation and become thoroughly naturalized. It was growing at the Agricultural Research and Education Center in Homestead in the early 1940's and running wild to some extent in the Redlands, but has since disappeared, possibly destroyed by winter cold or excessive rainfall. At least one nursery in Winter Haven, Florida, is now growing the plant in quantity. Gardeners had to give up the plant in South Africa in 1979 when it was banned as an illegal weed because it had been invading and overwhelming natural vegetation. It is frequently grown in greenhouses and as a house plant in temperate regions of both hemispheres. Horticulturists often use this species as a rootstock on which to graft other less vigorous cacti.VarietiesThere are 2 cultivars in the ornamental-plant trade:'Godseffiana'–bushy, with broad leaves basically yellow-green variegated with scarlet and copper on the upper surface, purplish or rosy-red on the underside.'Rubescens'–the leaves variegated with red.ClimateThe Barbados gooseberry is tropical and suited only to low elevations. In greenhouses, the favorable temperature range is from 68º F (20º C) at night to 99º F (37.22º C) in daytime. Chilling causes the leaves to fall.PropagationThe plant is easily grown from seeds or cuttings of half-ripe wood.CultureFlourishing with little or no care, the plant is drought-tolerant and suffers from over-watering. In greenhouse experiments, it has been found highly responsive to light. Under high light intensity, it can be kept erect and compact; under low light, it grows higher, with ascending stems and the leaves are larger and thinner.SeasonIn Jamaica, the plant blooms in June and again in October and November; fruits mature in March and October.Food UsesThe fruits are generally stewed or preserved with sugar, or made into jam. Young shoots and leaves are cooked and eaten as greens. In rural Brazil, they are important as food for humans and livestock.Food Value Per 100 g of Edible PortionFruitLeavesMoisture91.4 gProtein1.0 gFat0.7 g6.8-11.7 gCarbohydrates6.3 gFiber0.7 g9.1-9.6 gAsh0.6 g20.1-21.7 gCalcium174 mg2.8-3.4 mgPhosphorus26 mg1.8-2.0 mgIronTraceVitamin A3,215 I.U.Thiamine0.03 mgRiboflavin0.03 mgNiacin0.9 mgAscorbic Acid 2 mgMagnesium1.2-1.5 mgAmino acid per 100 g Protein:Arginine5.00-5.36 gHistidine2.49-2.54 gIsoleucine3.78-4.23 gLeucine6.99-8.03 gLysine5.32-5.43 gMethionine1.72-2.03 gPhenylanine5.06-5.08 gThreonine3.09-3.60 gValine4.78-5.52 gStudies of the leaves in Brazil show a protein content of 17.4-25.5% and a mean digestibility of 85.0%.Protein, lysine, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium levels are higher than in cabbage, lettuce and spinach.Other UsesIn Israel, the flowers are said to be of great value in apiculture.Medicinal Uses: In Brazil, the leaves are valued for their emollient nature and are applied on inflammations and tumors.


Barbados gooseberry Quick Facts Name: Barbados gooseberry Scientific Name: Pereskia aculeata Origin Central America (i.e. Panama), the Caribbean and South America (i.e. French Guiana, Guyana, Surinam, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay). Colors Start off in a green hue that becomes yellow and eventually turns orange when they are ripe. Shapes Fleshy, round, oval or pyriform berry that is 15-45 mm across Taste Juicy and quite tart in taste Health benefits Boost the immune system, enhance vision, fights tumor cells, treats inflammation, headaches, ulcers, hemorrhoids, dermatitis, general pain and rheumatism (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle []).push();Barbados gooseberry, botanically classified as Pereskia aculeate is a scrambling shrub belonging to Cactaceae, or cactus family. The plant is native to Central America (i.e. Panama), the Caribbean and South America (i.e. French Guiana, Guyana, Surinam, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay). Occasionally it naturalized in the coastal districts of eastern Australia (i.e. in south-eastern and northern Queensland and the coastal districts of northern and central New South Wales). It also naturalized overseas in southern Africa, Mexico and southern USA (i.e. Texas and Florida). This unusual cactus cultivar is commonly known as the Barbados shrub, blade apple, blade apple cactus, leaf cactus, leafy cactus, lemon vine, lemonvine, pereskia, pereskia creeper, primitive cactus, rose cactus, Spanish gooseberry, Surinam gooseberry, Sweet Mary, Gooseberry shrub, West Indian gooseberry, White Bougainvillea and ora-pro-nobis.


Barbados gooseberry is an erect woody shrub when young, becoming scrambling or climbing vine like with age. The plant grows up to 10 m high in trees, with stems 2-3 cm thick. Younger stems have hooked thorns and older stems have clusters of woody spines. It is a potential weed of riparian areas, urban bush land, open woodlands, dry forests, rocky areas, grassland, scrubland, tropical hammocks, savanna forests, coastal dunes, roadsides, urban open spaces, rocky areas in mesophytic forest, resting and dunes near the sea and coastal environs in tropical, sub-tropical and warmer temperate regions. The plant grows in many soil types and different levels of fertility, preferring deep soils that have good drainage. The plant is drought tolerant and does not do well if over watered.


Fertile flowers are followed by fleshy, round, oval or pyriform berry that is 15-45 mm across. Fruits are initially green turning to yellow and then eventually orange in color as they mature. Fruit has a thin, smooth, leathery skin. The curling, leafy sepals of the calyx cover the fruit and fall when the fruit reaches maturity. Few spines are found on the fruit. When fully ripe, the white fruit pulp is juicy with a sub-acid to tart flavor. The fruit are also edible, containing numerous small seeds. Seeds are black, somewhat flattened, 4 to 5 mm in diameter; hilum basal, circular, depressed, or crater-shaped. It somewhat resembles the gooseberry in appearance and is of excellent flavor. Capuchin and brown howler monkeys feed on the fruits, and in some regions of Brazil are its main dispersers. 041b061a72


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