Myrtaceae, Luma apiculata (Myrtus luma, Eugenia apiculata) , kelümamüll (Mapuche), luma, arrayan – Temperate S. America

Luma apiculata (also variously known as Eugenia apiculata and Myrtus luma) is a member of the Myrtaceae family and related to such ethnobotanically significant plants as Jaboticaba, Clove, Allspice, Eugenia spp. Psidium spp. etc. The list goes on and on. The Myrtaceae family includes huge number of useful plant species.

Luma apiculata is native to temperate areas of South America, where it can be found growing along waterways in the Valdivian temperate rainforests in Chile and Argentina. The tree can live for hundreds of years and grows up to 15 m (50 ft) tall. 25 meter trees have been recorded.

L. apiculata produces an abundance of fragrant flowers and an edible berry with a flavor reminiscent of blueberries and Myrtle (M. communis). The plant is frost tolerant and relatively drought tolerant once established. Luma can be propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings or seed. Plants will flower and bear fruit within a few years from seed and even sooner from cuttings. This is a great species for temperate climate agroforestry systems.

Luma apiculata does very well in the Bay Area (California).

Below, a photo of the Luma flower, whose form is very characteristic of plants in the Myrtaceae family.

Luma apiculata, luma, arrayan

Below, a photo of the edible Luma berry…

luma apiculata, berry, fruit

Below a photo of newly flushed out Luma apiculata leaves.

Luma apiculata, arrayan

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5 thoughts on “Myrtaceae, Luma apiculata (Myrtus luma, Eugenia apiculata) , kelümamüll (Mapuche), luma, arrayan – Temperate S. America

  1. They love arid climates and will grow easily from cuttings and make an excellent hedge speciman. Cheers for sharing and I was told the berries were not good to eat! Might have to go hunting now…

      1. I don’t know that it loves dry arid climates. But I imagine if you give it supplemental water in the dry season and keep it out of very hot direct sun it would probably do fine in drier climates.

        1. I am South East Bulgaria where summers are hot and dry and winters can be cold with usual lows down to minus 10C though most years quite mild. Last summer there was no rain 4 months and this winter is with the most freezing temps ever. Wondering if the plant stands chances here in a shaded from cold wind position and in drought if planted deeper and with water absorbing polymers and rootgrow fungi in case some time in the future there is noone at the location to water it!!!???

  2. I’ve been to Luma forest in Chile. Really beautiful. I’ve planted them a few places in the Bay Area, with pretty good results. They’re a bit of a magnet for thrips, but still nice. I like the berries well enough to eat a few when I see them, but none of my clients have ever bothered with them.

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