seed collecting almanac

makomako / wineberry  

(Aristotelia serrata)

Wineberry is a colonising small tree, found particularly around forest edges and disturbed areas. Because it grows so quickly yet lives several decades, grows up to eight metres and produces lots of delicious fruit for the birds, it is an ideal coloniser. However, I know of no other tree or shrub so sensitive to both too wet or too dry soil. So, you have to be pretty careful with its placement. The leaves are soft and a bit sensitive to wind but frost is no challenge for this hardy species. Once it is established, there are plenty of seeds and the birds are only too keen to spread them around so before long wherever the conditions are ideal. You will find it there.

From a distance, the flowers are difficult to tell apart, but male and female are on different trees, so only the females bear the dark red or black fruit in clusters. They don’t all ripen at the same time so you have to take special care to just pick the ripening fruit and leave the green ones for later or for the birds.