Morti–o (Vaccinium mortinia)

Shrub
V. floribundum. H.B.K.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Morti–o
Vaccinium mortinia
Ericaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[11, 105]. Some forms are juicy, sub-acid and pleasantly flavoured[183, 196]. Highly esteemed[46]. The fruit is rather small, about 5mm in diameter[200].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow late winter in a greenhouse in a lime-free potting mix and only just cover the seed[78]. Stored seed might require a period of up to 3 months cold stratification[113]. Another report says that it is best to sow the seed in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe[200]. Once they are about 5cm tall, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a lightly shaded position 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, 5 – 8cm with a heel, August in a frame[78]. Slow and difficult. Layering in late summer or early autumn[78]. Another report says that spring is the best time to layer[200]. Takes 18 months[78]. Division of suckers in spring or early autumn[113].
Requires a moist but freely-draining lime free soil, preferring one that is rich in peat or a light loamy soil with added leaf-mould[11, 200]. Prefers a very acid soil with a pH in the range of 4.5 to 6, plants soon become chlorotic when lime is present. Succeeds in full sun or light shade though it fruits better in a sunny position[200]. Requires shelter from strong winds[200]. This species is not very frost tolerant, it succeeds outdoors only in the milder areas of Britain[182], where it grows well in woodland gardens[166]. Another report says that frosts can occur on almost any night at the higher elevations of its range, where it still grows and crops well. The days there, however, are generally warm or hot and so it is the longer lasting cold of winters in the temperate zone that can cause damage to the plant. The species is of special interest for its potential in breeding programmes where it could endow frost resistence to the flowers. Plants vary in height from almost prostrate shrubs to about 3 metres tall[196]. Dislikes root disturbance, plants are best grown in pots until being planted out in their permanent positions[200]. Although not usually cultivated, the fruit is widely sold in the local markets of Ecuador and Colombia[46, 183, 196]. It is an ingredient of a special dish with molasses, spices and other fruits that is eaten on All Soul’s Day in S. America[183]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
S. America – Ecuador and Colombia.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.