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By Melew

United Kingdom Gb

Could you please help to identify a small tree which grows near to my home in Chichester. I have searched the internet and can only possibly identify it as a Madrone - but somehow that doesn't fit.

It is a smallish tree at the moment with rusty red bark, which peels. It had white flowers earlier in the year and now (October/November) has black berries (not red). The photos may explain it more.

I would be very grateful if someone could please help with this identification.

Kind regaards

Madeleine Lewis

Img_3412 Img_3413 Img_3414



I'd say Arbutus menziesii, which I think is commonly known (in America) as Pacific Madrone. But its definitely called Arbutus menziesii here...bit of a fussy beast, will only grow in acid soil and in mild conditions, may suddenly die as it matures, and will not get through a hard winter. Arbutus unedo is more commonly planted, its a little bit hardier and more reliable.

12 Nov, 2015


Looks like a type of myrtus (myrtle).

12 Nov, 2015


It's a lovely tree, whether it's Myrtle or Arbutus!

14 Nov, 2015


I should have said, Arbutus menziesii does produce fruits which turn black - Arbutus unedo has red fruits which don't go black.

15 Nov, 2015


It is weird that it appears to have opposite foliage, which is not the norm for Arbutus species.

16 Nov, 2015


I'm finding that impossible to tell from the pic, Tugbrethil...

16 Nov, 2015


Mainly from the watersprout shown in the second picture, more subtly visible in the branching pattern, and in the foliage around the fruit--I concentrated on where the leaves are attached to the stems.

17 Nov, 2015


You're right, Tug, the leaves on the watersprout are opposite - in which case, it might be Luma apiculata, a myrtle variety (originally suggested by Longleaf above):-

but it would be very surprising if it was growing so well in Chichester - normally not guaranteed hardy and only survives down in the West Country here, and even then keels over in a cold winter. The other possibility is its rarer relative, Eugenia candolleana:

but again, not entirely hardy here. Links are for Melew to investigate - the second one gives a description of the fruits and what they look like when cut open, which might be a useful thing to do, Melew, see what's inside them.

17 Nov, 2015

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