Pitangatuba (aka Star Cherry, Eugenia neonitida)

Source tree from Top Tropicals, April 2017
Seedlings, seeds from Fruit Lovers Nusery, Trade Winds Fruit 2016-2017

Okay, I am going to have to contain my excitement about this one.

So if you have grown Eugenias (the two most famous ones are Pitanga / Surinam Cherry - Eugenia uniflora, and Cherry of the Rio Grande - Eugenia aggregata) in AZ, your typical experience is that you have to plant them in heavy shade and you will get a 50/50 chance of it surviving the first summer. The leaves of Eugenias are beautiful, small, and fairly thin (i.e. delicate = can't stand the heat).

But not Eugenia neonitida. The leaves are shaped very similar to Eugenia uniflora, but they are thick and glossy, a lot like a Barbados Cherry leaf. This one takes sun almost as well as a Barbados Cherry does. However, like all other Eugenias, it is a very slow grower. So if you want a full sun accent plant with gorgeous dark green foliage, that gives you fruit and doesn't need a lot of pruning, then this is nearly perfect plant for you.

They are a little larger than a Surinam Cherry, deeply lobed in the same way. But the fruit is a very bright neon orange-yellow. They are wonderful balance of sweet-acid (sweet but definitely sour too) with a tropical fruitness that is hard to describe. My best attempt is: grapefruit-pineapple-peach-cherry. The trick is to pick them when they are bright-yellow (basically when they are ready to fall off on their own). But bring them inside and don't eat them until they get some orange on them. They have better flavor and less latex that way.

Gorgeous flowers (typical of most Eugenias)

Spring growth

May 2018, second flowering

Cluster of unripe fruit

Starting to ripen

Ready to pick, but not ready to eat

Fell off the tree with no effort

Let it sit inside a day. Gets more orange. Less latex, more flavor.