The Q&A Archives: Berry Bush

Question: On a recent visit to Santa Cruz CA I noticed a shrub that had long pointed leaves with a large berry on it. The shrub was quite large over seven feet and very wide. It had large berries in red and yellow on it. They were the size of a large marble or maybe a bit bigger. I don't know weather the fruit was yellow and then turned red. I also saw the same shrub in southern CA only much larger. I have asked several nurseries but no one here can identify it. I would like to palnt one here because they climate is about the same, I think it will survive. Thanks for your help.

Answer: I'm not absolutely sure, but what you saw might have been Arbutus unedo (Strawberry tree), Carissa macrocarpa (Natal Plum), or Skimmia. A good reference book (such as Sunset Western Garden Book) will have pictures of each of the above plants and you can compare what you saw to what grows well in southern California. The book will also describe growing requirements for each so you can determine whether these plants will perform well in your garden.

Good luck in your search!

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