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Margyricarpus pinnatus (Lam.) O. Kuntze

Pearl Fruit

Modern name

Margyricarpus pinnatus (Lam.) Kuntze


Empetrum pinnatum Lam.; Margyricarpus setosus Ruiz & Pavon

A low, prostrate, evergreen shrub, with glabrous, pale, straw-coloured branches, nearly covered by large, similarly coloured, clasping stipules. Leaves pinnate, about 34 in. long; leaflets green, finely linear, 18 to 13 in. long; stipules membranous, furnished at the edges with white, silky hairs. Flowers solitary, stalkless, very inconspicuous, without a corolla; produced singly in the leaf-axils. Fruit a small white berry, about the size of a peppercorn, with a pleasant acid flavour.

Native of the Andes from Colombia to Chile and Argentina, also of Uruguay and S. Brazil. This curious little shrub may be grown by those interested in out-of-the-way plants; but beyond its finely cut leaves it has little to recommend it, although when its pearl-like fruits are borne freely it is distinctive. It appears to be hardy except during the hardest winters. It should have a sunny position on the rock garden, and not a rich soil. I have seen it bearing fruit freely in Notcutt’s nursery at Woodbridge, where probably the dry, sunny East Anglian climate suits it. It blooms in July and August but is of no great merit.



Other species in the genus

[No species article available]