luma apiculata

eliane zimmermannDuring the winter months this beautiful tree stays green and fresh looking. Once it was named Myrtus apiculata as it is closely related to the myrtles (Myrtaceae). Originally it came from Chile – where it is called arrayán and palo colorado. Botanist and plant hunter William Lobb sent seeds to England and so introduced the lovely plant with the cinnamon colored trunk to cultivation in Europe around 1844.

eliane zimmermannThe Hutchins family brought it to our area only some time later. The black berries are edible and are either prepared as a kind of chutney or as a liquor. They are also used for their medicinal properties.