Maqui – The Plant

Maqui is a small dioecious tree reaching 4-5 m in height, evergreen, and with a divided trunk with smooth bark. Its branches are abundant, thin and flexible. Its leaves are simple, opposite, pendulous, oval-lanceolate, with serrated edges, glabrous, coriaceous with venation and strong red petioles. Its flower is small and white, yielding a small edible fruit (maqui berry) that is a favored food for birds. The small, purple-black berries are approximately 4-6 mm in diameter. The maqui berry is also known as the Chilean wineberry, and locally as maqui or maquei, queldrón, ach, koelon, and clon.(Cit.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotelia_chilensis)

Maqui´s geographic distribution recalls that of the southern beeches (Nothofagus). The generic name derives from the famous Aristotle -ancient Greek naturalist and philosopher (384 – 322 B.C.). A genus of moths is also known as Aristotelia. It is rare and can be confusing when a plant genus and an animal kingdom genus bear the same name. The plant name dates from 1784; the insect name dates from 1825. (Cit.: http://www.arthurleej.com/p-o-m-Sep06.html)

Maqui plant with leaves and berries

Taxonomy

Botanic Name: Aristotelia Chilensis
Family: Elaeocarpaceae
Sub-Order: Sterculiinae
Order: Malvales
Sub-Class: Dillenidae
Class: Magnolidae
Fruit Size: 3-4 mm (the smallest berry)

Maqui - Flowers
Maqui flowers – top right: male plant, bottom right: female plant