A Brief History of the Myrtaceae Mania
As many of you might know, these last few years have been marked as the peak of the myrtle rumble. Characterized by insanely high eBay prices, many have wondered why such humble fruits are getting the spotlight. To explain this, we will have to dive back over 10 years ago to the early days of collecting. Before we go into this any further, the plant families we are mainly talking about in this article are plinia, eugenia, myrciaria, and psidium. There are many other families in the myrtle group, but these 4 have recieved the most attention of them all.
10 years ago was when Adam at Flying Fox Fruits really started to collect many plinias and eugenias (or may say popularize). One can see evidence of this on the forum by seeing his threads such as “The Cerrado Curse”, and “Jaboticabaholics Anonymous”. After importing many seeds, a lot failed at growing. Many collectors in the US didn’t know how to grow these rare seeds especially Cerrado species. But Adam was successful at growing several and eventually brought them to the market. Such examples are seen as pitangatuba (star cherry), eugenia calycina, and several others. Many people wanted to grow and collect these cool species which lead to some more diversity.
But then something horrible happened – Brazil closed off exports and implemented strict exportation laws. This created a huge drought for rare seeds. Aside from a few imports, not many collectors could get anything if at all. Adam and others kept the fire alive for the myrtle family. Whatever could come into the US was very limited.
Then, Covid hit. Exports hit an all time low. Then they opened up again. A huge stream of seeds landed in the US in the last several years. It became so easy to import seeds that even a poor highschool kid did it. Guess who it was? These imports have brought so much more diversity to the market and have allowed for collections to grow to an all time high. The demand racked up over the years was spilled by pent up collectors onto the bloody battlefields of eBay. Many a plant sold for hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Now, prices have come down a bit, and there are many sellers now and can be seen on eBay and other platforms.
The impact on this has been, well, good one may say. Brazil is ravaged by deforestation and many plants are endangered. By bringing seeds to the US, collectors are preserving these rare plants. Also, who doesn’t like themselves some more plinias? I sure do!
What will come to happen to this genera of plants is still a mystery to many. Will the imports stop? What new species are being discovered? Will my jaboticabas ever fruit? These are some questions that we can’t quite answer just yet. But what we are seeing is that many of these rare plants are coming to fruition in the US, a huge success for growers and collectors.