The Acerola is a deciduous tree, believed to originate from the Yucatan, and is distributed from South Texas through Mexico and Central America to northern South America (Venezuela, Surinam, Columbia) and throughout the Caribbean (Bahamas to Trinidad). Acerola has now been successfully introduced in sub-tropical areas throughout the world (Southeast Asia, India, South America), and some of the largest plantings are in Brazil. It produces a bright red fruit similar to a cherry that is incredibly rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C. Because the thin-skinned fruits are easily bruised and quickly deteriorate once picked, the fresh fruit is not distributed commercially.
Due to the very high content of vitamin C and bioflavonoids, Acerola has commercial uses as a natural preservative, reducing oxidation, which is in fact why it is also used as a nutritional supplement. The average content of vitamin C is around 1.7 g/100 g of pulp, higher than other fruits tested, like pineapple, cashew, guava, kiwi, orange, lemon, and strawberry, but lower than the Camu-Camu fruit of Amazonia. Since this vitamin C is naturally bound and occurs with all of its cofactors, it is also a more gentle and easily assimilated form of vitamin C than synthetic ascorbic acid.