The Surinam Cherry bonsai is a sub-tropical evergreen with dark green ovate leaves formed in pairs and thin, tan-colored, peeling bark. In the spring it bears small white flowers which are followed by red edible fruit. It is a popular landscape tree in the southern part of the United States and is highly recommended for those wanting an outdoor tropical bonsai as it has a long life and is relatively easy to grow.
Surinam cherries, also known as the Pitanga, are small, red, ribbed berries that look very similar to a cherry. Their taste, however, is very different. Some say they are tart and acidic with a taste much like a green bell pepper, others say it tastes like a mango. The fruit is also rich in antioxidants and an excellent source of vitamins A and C. The tropical Surinam cherry is related to the guava, clove, allspice and eucalyptus plants. The name is deceptive since it’s actually not related to sweet or sour cherries.
The Surinam cherry is named for the northern country in South America where it is believed to have originated. It naturally grows in neighboring French Guiana and Guyana and can be found as far south as Uruguay and Argentina.
The leaves of the Surinam cherry contain various essential oils such as turpentine in the form of polyterpenes and sequiterpenes; citronella which is known to repel insects.