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Photinia arbutifolia - Lindl.
Common Name Christmas Berry
Family Rosaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Semi-dry brushy slopes and in canyons below 1200 metres[71]. It is usually found in the neighbourhood of streams or on dry hills, especially on north-facing slopes[82]. Often on steep sea-cliffs[82].
Range South-western N. America - California.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun


Photinia arbutifolia Christmas Berry

Photinia arbutifolia Christmas Berry
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of cone
Photinia arbutifolia is an evergreen Tree growing to 6 m (19ft) by 8 m (26ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in August, and the seeds ripen from Nov to December. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Photinia. arbutifolia. Lindl. P. salicifolia. Crataegus arbutifolia.

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[46, 94, 105, 183, 257]. The fruits are 5 - 6mm across[260], they taste like common haws (Crataegus monogyna)[11]. Mealy, astringent and acid[82, 85]. Best if a little sugar is added to sweeten them. They can also be dried, ground into a powder and made into a mush or fermented into a cider[183]. A slight cooking removes any bitter taste[92]. Native North American Indians would often place them in a basket close to the fire and keep turning them until they had wilted before eating them[257].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


An infusion of the bark and leaves has been used as a wash for infected wounds[257]. A decoction of the leaves has been used in the treatment of stomach aches, plus various other aches and pains[84, 92, 257].
Other Uses
Dye;  Wood.

A golden brown dye is obtained from the leaves and stems[168]. Dark olive-green and black dyes are obtained from the leaves and berries[168]. The fruit-covered branches are gathered in large quantities in California and used as Christmas decorations in much the same way as holly is used in Britain[82]. Wood - very heavy, hard, close-grained[82].
Cultivation details
Requires a well-drained fertile soil in a sheltered position in sun or light shade[200]. Tolerates calcareous soils[200]. Plants are tolerant of drought and poor conditions[260]. This species is not very hardy in Britain[182], tolerating temperatures down to about -7°c[260]. It succeeds outdoors from south Surrey southwards and westwards[1]. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value[183]. The flowers have a scent similar to hawthorns and are pleasant when smelt from a distance, though less than pleasant when smelt close-to[245].
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed will probably require a period of cold stratification and should be sown as early in the year as possible. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[188]. Basal cuttings in a frame[200]. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 - 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Photinia arguta 10
Photinia bodinieri 10
Photinia davidiana 00
Photinia glabraJapanese Photinia, Red Top, Red Leaf Photinia,11
Photinia parvifolia 10
Photinia serratifoliaTaiwanese photinia , Chinese Photinia01
Photinia villosaOriental photinia10
Photinia x fraseriRed Tip Photinia, Fraser Photinia00


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Subject : Photinia arbutifolia  

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