Unquestionably Umptious Ugni

Ugni molinae. Thick glossy leaves with luscious berries on long stalks.

Ugni molinae is a wonderful shrub that hails from Chile.

It is most ornamental in appearance, with small thick glossy leaves and immaculate form.

Most importantly, it produces abundant crops of sweet scented red berries that scream for one to indulge in.

I have written of the delights of the great myrtle family (Myrtaceae) but Ugni deserves a post on its own.

Ugni molinae is called “Murta” in southern Chile and is sold in the bucketfuls in local markets there.

In Australia, Ugni berries are marketed under a trademarked name – Tazziberries, and these are sold in small punnetts that command a premium price.

A handful of "Murta"

I hesitated to purchase a punnett but I know that I would ultimately have bitten the bullet and bought one at some point just to try them out.

But fate, or might I say, the Ugni spirit intervened.

I had the great fortune however to know a Chilean lady friend and when I brought up the subject of Ugni berries, she shared with me a secret spot near where I live where I could harvest them.

And harvest I did.

I have tasted a fair number of small berries but few come as close to bursting with such flavor.

Blueberries are awesome but between the two, I’d choose Ugni berries any time now.

The flavor of Ugni berries is perhaps best described as sharp, sweet, and umptiously flavorsome.

Popping a mouthful of Ugni berries ignites in one a most refreshing feeling.

This feeling is best captured in the phrase:

“In this moment, life is good and life is sweet.”

Ugni berries sectioned to show the sweet white flesh. Note the large persistent star-shaped calyx at the tip of the berries

The conditions of my very fortuitous association with Ugni signifies for me a gentle lesson:

The sweetness we seek in life is perennially present. And for any one experience there may be more than a single route to attaining it.

All that is needed is the intention to seek out and enjoy these simple pleasures.


About David Tng

I am David Tng, a hedonistic botanizer who pursues plants with a fervour. I chase the opportunity to delve into various aspects of the study of plants. I have spent untold hours staring at mosses and allied plants, taking picture of pollen, culturing orchids in clean cabinets, counting tree rings, monitoring plant flowering times, etc. I am currently engrossed in the study of plant ecology (a grand excuse to see 'anything I can). Sometimes I think of myself as a shadow taxonomist, a sentimental ecologist, and a spiritual environmentalist - but at the very root of it all, a "plant whisperer"!
This entry was posted in Appreciation, Ethnobotany, Fruits, Philosophy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Unquestionably Umptious Ugni

  1. Hello David,

    Thanks for sharing your article about Ugni berry. I have actually been looking for seeds of Ugni because I would like to try to grow this little gem. But it’s not that easy to find for me.



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