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acerola (ăsˌərōˈlə) [key] or barbados cherry, the edible fruit of Malpighia glabra, of the genera Bunchiosa and Malpighia of the family Malpighiaceae. The fleshy red stone fruits, about the size of a cherry, contain very high amounts of vitamin C and are eaten fresh, used to make jams and jellies, and are an important commercial source of natural vitamin C. Acerola is often cultivated as an ornamental shrub, particularly in the southeastern United States. Acerola is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Polygalales, family Malpighiaceae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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