Otaheite Gooseberry

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

otaheite gooseberry Cicca acida, one of the few useful fruits in a large genus whose botanical name means ‘leaf-flower’. This refers to the curious manner in which flowers grow along the edges of the leaf like branches; and, since the flowers develop into fruits, the fruits too occupy this odd position.

The origin of the plants is obscure but they are indigenous to Madagascar and have been cultivated for centuries in S. India and N. Malaysia and Indonesia, notably Sumatra. The fruit was introduced into Jamaica from Timor in 1793, and has been casually spread throughout the Caribbean islands. It has long been naturalized in S. Mexico and the lowlands of C. America, and is occasionally grown in S. America.