Acerola (Malpighia emarginata) is also known as Barbados Cherry or West Indian Cherry.
The fruit does in fact look like a cherry. The color, however, changes from orange to red as the fruit ripens and does not turn deep purple like a cherry.
The taste of Acerola fruit is slightly sour when ripe, but quite pleasant. The fruit is known for its high concentration of Vitamin C.
Birds are attracted to the taste and color of Barbados Cherries.
Acerola Tree Maintenance
Acerola trees grow very quickly. In fact if you are establishing a garden on cleared land you could grow Acerola to initially provide shade, even if you did not want to keep it long term.
The vigorous growth means you can easily shape the plant however you want, but it will not maintain shape for long and requires constant pruning. The branches have a natural inclination to grow in a tangle. Pruning it as a low bush is probably the easiest option, and is also easier to harvest than a full-sized tree.
Eating Barbados Cherry
The “cherries” can be eaten straight off the tree. They have quite a large seed and are often attacked by fruit fly, so another option is to boil and sieve the juice for freezing.
I like to use the ice cubes to flavor club soda, or as a base for making sauces in the kitchen.
For more details, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malpighia_emarginata