Plant profile: Pigeon berry

Though considered an invasive species in Australia, China, South Africa and several Pacific Islands, the pigeon berry has become naturalised in many places.
Pigeon berry. Illustration by Donna Torres.
Pigeon berry. Illustration by Donna Torres.

The tough little perennial shrub pigeon berry makes for an attractive border plant

A popular outdoor ornamental shrub, the Duranta erecta, or pigeon berry, can be found across the UAE. Though considered an invasive species in Australia, China, South Africa and several Pacific Islands, the pigeon berry has become naturalised in many places. The shrub can grow to six metres tall and can spread to an equal width. The leaves are light green, while flowers are typically light blue or lavender and bloom almost all year long. Those with young children should be aware that the small yellow or orange berries that grow on the plant are toxic. Native to the Americas, pigeon berry commonly grows in rocky or sandy coastal areas with full sun, or moister, disturbed sites inland. Prior to maturity, the plant will grow up to half a metre a year. The plant’s genus is named after the 15th-century Italian botanist Castor Durantes.

Published: December 18, 2014 04:00 AM

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