Forest 45 - Chilean Myrtle

Luma apiculata

Luma apiculata tree. Photo not from the Arboretum Luma_apiculata flowers. Photo not from the Arboretum

Other common names

Shortleaf stopper, palo Colorado. (Spanish): arrayán, temu. (Mapuche): Kelumamull

Origin of the species name

Luma is derived from the Mapuche name; apiculata refers to the Latin word for a small point on the end of the leaf.



Date planted

November 2011


Trees of this species growing in protected areas of Chile are thought to be up to 650 years old.

luma_apiculata_chilean_myrtle_leaves. Photo not from the Arboretum

General description 

This is a small evergreen tree. The trunk, which can seem twisted and contorted, has smooth grey to bright orange-brown bark that peels as the tree grows. It has small fragrant oval leaves and profuse white flowers. The fruit is a black or blue berry. Height 12m Spread 8m.

Natural distribution and habitat

The species is native to the central Andes Mountains between Chile and Argentina. It sometimes grows in water or has its roots in a permanent water course.

Conservation status

It is not classified as a threatened species.

Planting pattern

The centre of Forest 45 is planted in lines forming an open diamond pattern, with a double row of trees around the perimeter of the forest. An irregular pattern of plantings makes up the balance of the space.


Chilean myrtle fruit is eaten and the flowers are used for honey production. The hard wood is used for handles and furniture and is used by the Mapuche people for medicinal uses. It is also widely grown as a bonsai tree. It has become naturalised in parts of Ireland and in milder parts of western Britain.