MICHAY
(Berberis darwinii)

 

 

A shrub of michay in full bloom

 

Family: Berberidaceae

Other names: Darwin’s barberry.

Michay is a native of Patagonia, the southernmost end of the South America containing parts of Brazil, Argentina and Chile.  Like calafate, it is also a symbol of Patagonia.  There is a popular belief in that area that anyone who tries a berry is certain to return to Patagonia.
 

Ripe fruits of michay
 

Description:

A small bushy shrub,  about 3 m high.

Flowers bisexual, yellow orange and attractive; blooming is very profuse and the entire plant is covered by flowers at the time of blooming.
 

Leaves and developing fruits of michay

 

Fruit a berry, 1-1.5 cm long, edible, purple

 Utilization:

Berries are eaten. These are also used for making jams aand infusions.

           Its edible purple fruits are used for jams and infusions. Michay Calafate and Michay are symbols of Patagonia. The clusters of terrific dark orange to yellow flowers of darwinii create an amazing scene

Cultivation:

Michay is commonly grown as an ornamental for its striking yellow/orange flowers that cover the plant during spring.

Michay grows well both in sun and shade.  It is a very hardy plant and can survive temperatures well below freezing (10-15F). 

            Though michay prefers moist soils, but will grow even on even poorer soils.  The plants, however, have to be watered all the year round.

            The propagation is by seed and the underground runners.

 

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