Amomyrtus luma (Chilean Myrtle)
Species: A. luma
Binomial name: Amomyrtus luma
Synonyms: Luma apiculata, Myrtus apiculata, Myrtus luma
Common name: Luma, Chilean Myrtle, Orange-bark Myrtle, Tree Myrtle, Myrtus luma
Amomyrtus luma is an aromatic, evergreen, small tree from Chile and Argentina which grows in humid areas that have heavy rainfalls. It grows in rainforests, near streams, and in other moist sites at altitudes of 500–2000m. In it natural habitat it can grow up to 25 metres tall and be as old as 600 years.
The white flowers which appear in profusion during summer are hermaphroditic, with free, cupped, white petals about 4 mm long. The stamens are numerous (30-45) and 4–5 mm long. The fruit is a black to purplish-black berry when mature, 1-1.5 cm in diameter. These are edible and highly aromatic and are used to make jam. Pollinated is by bees and insects or it is by self-pollination.
The leaves are small, broadly ovate and aromatic (2.0 to 2.5 cm long and 1.5 broad).
The trunk can appear twisted and contorted and it has a smooth, exfoliating bark that is a distinctive bright orange-brown colour.
An Amomyrtus luma growing at Tupare public Gardens, New Plymouth, Taranaki.