RED BAYBERRY (MYRICA RUBRA SIEB. & ZUCC.): A VALUABLE EVERGREEN TREE FRUIT FOR TROPICAL AND SUBTROPICAL AREAS
This is a berry-like stone fruit, with an edible portion consisting of many pulpous columns being radially arranged. There are a number of varieties differing in fruit size, color and ripening date. For most cultivated varieties, the fruit is brightly red or black in color, 10 to 15 grams in size, and ripens from mid-June to early-July. Its abundant juice plus a high sugar content in a good balance with moderate acids makes the fruit a delicious taste. It is also rich in vitamins content. In addition to fresh consumption, the fruit can also be processed into sweets, jam, juice and wine, or canned in syrup.
The tree is evergreen, arboreous, with a height of 5 to 10 m presenting the canopy in a uniform round shape. It is dioecious and has male and female catkins on separate plants. The florescence occurs in spring, pollination is completed by wind. Due to mycorrhizae on its root system it grows well on rather a sterile soil.
The red bayberry is a tropical and subtropical fruit and has habituated to the warm and humid environments. Its distribution is mainly found in the south of the Yangtze River including Taiwan and Hainan, a similar extent with the crops of citrus, loquat, tea and bamboo. Provinces of Guangdong, Fujian and Jiangsu produce a certain quantity of red bayberries, but the majority is heavily concentrated in Zhejiang Province, where the red bayberry is the second large fruit crop, next to the citrus.
Information regarding to the history, distribution, germplasm, botanical characters, environmental requirements, and recent development of the red bayberry is described in this paper.