Empetrum pinnatum Lam.
Margyricarpus setosus Ruiz & Pav.
Common Name: Pearl Berry
Photograph by: Sten
Pearl berry is a low-growing evergreen shrub that generally sprawls along the ground rooting as it goes. It can reach a height of 30cm, but is often lower.
The edible fruit is occasionally harvested from the wild for local use. The plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental and ground cover.
S. America - Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Chile.
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Succeeds at higher elevations in the tropics and at lower elevations in the subtropics and warm temperate areas.
Prefers a lime-free soil that is not too rich[
], with some shade at the hottest part of the day[
]. Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil[
]. Requires a sheltered position[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. Pleasant but mild with a slightly acid flavour[
]. The fruit can hang on the plant for a long time in good condition if it is not eaten by birds etc[
]. The fruit is a small white berry about 7mm in diameter with a single seed[
]. Very attractive to look at, but the flavour is very mild and you need to spend quite a while picking just to get one mouthful[
]. Children really love the fruit, however, and this makes it an ideal plant to get them out of your hair for a while. Simply tell them that they can have as much of the fruit as they want and they will be there for half an hour or more picking it[
An infusion of the herb is diuretic[
The plant can be used as a ground cover in poorer soils[
Seed - sow late winter or early spring in a greenhouse[
]. The seed can be rather slow to germinate and probably needs a short period of cold stratification[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. When the plants are large enough, plant them out in late spring or early summer and consider giving them some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors[
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 4 - 5 cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[
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