Aristotelia fruticosa or Mountian Wineberry is a small tree, growing up to 9 meters tall, though often is shrublike. It is commonly found throughout New Zealand in the margins of the bush and along streams and rivers, mainly in sub-alpine forests. The foliage is a bright green with serrated edges, reddish petioles and some veining. It has a flush of flowers from October to December; opening pale and darkening with age. If there’s a male plant in the area to pollinate, clusters of berries will develop and ripen to red or black in colour.
Aristotelia fruticosa can be frost tender when young; and in cooler areas, be semi-deciduous in winter. Tolerates wide range of soils and sites. Good hedge. Naturally cross-pollinates with A. serrata.
Both Makomako species are important Rongoā used as a general tonic for skin and arthritis problems as well as various cultural uses.