Barbatos Cherry Bonsai Tree #01922

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Barbatos Cherry Bonsai Tree #01922

General Information

Malpighia punicifolia is a dwarf evergreen shrub native to the Lesser Antilles, Curacao, and parts of South America. It is also known by the names acerola, wild crepe myrtle, and West Indian cherry.

Its genus, Malpighia, was so named in honor of Italian physician, physiologist, and anatomist Marcello Malachi (1628-1694). Malachi is sometimes referred to as the "Father of microscopical anatomy, histology, physiology and embryology" and was Pope Innocent XII's (1615-1700) personal physician.

Non-dwarf varieties – in ideal conditions – may reach both a height and width of 20 feet.

Tree's Attributes

Malpighia punicifolia has small, spiny-toothed, opposite leaves and unique pink flowers arranged in an open and airy pattern. It often has a multi-trunk and is capable of flowering all year round.

The small size of the tree as well as its small leaves and interesting trunk make this a popular choice among bonsai enthusiasts.


As a subtropical, Malpighia should not be exposed to temperatures below 45° F. Freezing temperatures will kill this tree. In order to see flower buds a nighttime temperature above 60° F is required.

Any sun position will do, however for small leaves, flowers, and fruit full sun is ideal. The bonsai should be protected from full sun during the hottest summer months. In winter five hours of sunlight is ideal and in summer they can be placed in shade or filtered sunlight.

If grown inside the Barbados Cherry should have 14-16 hours each day under a grow light.


The soil should be allowed to dry out a bit between wateriness's, without drying out completely, as these plants do not prefer to be wet all the time. Over watering will cause the leaves to yellow, as will excess sunlight.

The exception is the cultivar Malpighia coccigera, which prefers heavy watering. Water on the flowers will ruin them so misting is not a good idea.

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