The exact origin of this shrub is obscure, but it is thought the gooseberry tree hails from Madagascar. It arrived in the Philippines during prehistoric times and was widely dispersed throughout the region. In 1793 the shrub was introduced to Jamaica and was shared among the Caribbean. Today it is commonly cultivated in Guam, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, and Malaya.
The small tree/shrub is comprised of alternately arranged branchlets. Green on top and blueish underneath, leaflets are ovate with short petioles and pointed tips. Flowers can be male, female, or hermaphrodite. They appear in clusters on the leafless parts of the main branches. Numerous fruits are densely clustered, pale, white, waxy, and juicy.
Candy, vinegar, pickles, juice, chutney, relish, and preserves are made from the edible fruit. The leaves are cooked for better flavor and texture. Medicinally both the leaves and fruit are used for a variety of ailments.
- Cultural significance
- No dangers