A densely branched, very leafy shrub (or occasionally a small tree in the wild); young stems brown, finely white-downy. Leaves shortly stalked, broad-elliptic or broad-ovate, acute to obtuse at the apex, rounded or wide-cuneate at the base, on the main shoots mostly 5⁄8 to 13⁄16in. long, 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 in. wide (but on the short lateral twigs elliptic to obovate, 1⁄4 to 5⁄8 in. long, 1⁄8 to 5⁄16 in. wide), entire, leathery, deep green above, light green below, densely gland-dotted on both sides, aromatic. Flowers borne in late summer, singly or in three-flowered cymes in the axils of the uppermost pairs of leaves of the main shoots and of the lateral twigs; peduncles and pedicels 3⁄8 in. long, slender; bracteoles two, immediately under the flower; flower-buds globose. Calyx with a very short tube and four or five spreading, rounded or ovate lobes about twice as long as the tube. Petals four (occasionally five), spreading, roundish, 1⁄8 to 3⁄16 in. wide, white. Stamens numerous, as long or longer than the petals. Style 1⁄4 in. long, with a minute stigma. Fruit a more or less globose berry, black, 3⁄16 to 1⁄4 in. across. Seeds hard and horny; embryo with a stout radicle half encircling the appressed more or less flattened cotyledons. Bot. Mag., t. 5644.
Native of Chile from Coquimbo to Concepcion, usually in wet places; introduced by William Lobb in 1847. It is related to M. luma (apiculata) but is usually a shrub and lacks the characteristic bark of that species. It is moderately hardy south of London in a sheltered position.