Name: Darwin’s Barberry
Binomial: Berberis darwinii
Family: Berberidaceae

Charles Darwin discovered the plant while exploring Chile between 1832 and 1835.

It was named after him by William Hooker, the then-director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

In Chile, people know the sweet and sour blue-black berries as micha.

They are eaten raw and cooked and are often used to make juices, sweets, and syrups and decorate confectionery.

The berries have a slight astringency, but as they ripen, they lose acidity and gain flavour.

On average, 1 kg of dried fruit contains 0.2 mg of bromine, 3.2 mg of chromium, 107.6 mg of iron, 27.0 mg of zinc, 0.1 mg of cobalt, 0.03 mg of caesium, 4.2 mg of calcium, 4.1 mg of molybdenum, 25,200.0 mg of potassium, 9.1 mg of barium, 68.1 mg of sodium, 30.2 mg of rubidium and 21.2 mg of strontium.

People have gathered it since prehistoric times for its sweet and aromatic fruit, and early European settlers greatly appreciated it.

If you like Persian cooking, you will be familiar with dried barberries, which are a regular ingredient in many dishes.

You can use the dried fruit of Berberis darwinii similarly.

I find the fruit has too many seeds for this use, but I know some chefs and cooks who love it.

The best way to work the fruit is to cook it until soft, then strain or puree it.

You can then use this in preserves, jams, ice creams and beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

The beautiful, vibrant orange-coloured flowers taste like lemon sherbet and are a delicious addition to salads.