Christmas Berry

Chironia baccifera

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1 of 4
The common name, Christmas berry comes from the attractive red berries that ripen at Christmas time. The Afrikaans name aambeibessie refers to its use as a remedy for piles. In nature the plants are usually found in dry, sandy soil or sand dunes, growing in the shade of other plants. In gardens this fast-growing, ornamental shrub looks stunning when planted in groups as a hedge, in rockeries or as a border along the front edge of a flowerbed.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Spring, Summer

Fruiting time

Summer

Harvesting

Harvest for medicinal when needed.

Propagation

Seed

Sow seed in spring in a tray filled three quarters with soil, lightly compacted and cover with a thin layer of soil, water well. Treat seedlings with a liquid fertilizer.

Special features

Pot plant

Special features

Origin

Africa, South Africa, coastal belt from Kwazulu Natal to the Western Cape

Natural climate

Dry sandy slopes along the coastline.

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Sand

Soil PH preference

Alkaline, Neutral, Acid

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Medicinal

The Botanical name is from the Chiron, the Greek god studying medicine and arts. Tinctures and infusions is used in traditinal Khoi treatment of ulchers, piles and diabetes. It cures infections like bladder, kidney and artritis.

Personality

Family

Gentianaceae

Flower colour

Pink

Scent

None

Problems

Generally problem free.

Credits

profile iconChironia baccifera
by Berenice Carolus, Harold Porter NBG, April 2004. With additions by Yvonne Reynolds (Copyright South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa)
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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