This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Great expectations were at one time formed in regard to the value of the fruit of Eugenia Ugni for the dessert; these expectations bare not, we believe, in this country at least, been realized. Our own experience is rather against it; it fails to satisfy us in this respect, and is not very highly esteemed in England, we gather from what follows:
"As the fruit of Eugenia Ugni ha* attained a somewhat important feature from the fact of a prize being offered for it at the late Horticultural Show in London, it may be as well here to explain to the inexperienced what this fruit really is. As a new dessert fruit is a matter in which every one must feel an interest, and every one not being in possession of the tree, or, perhaps, not knowing what it is like, it may be well here to describe it.
"The Eugenia Ugni is a small-leaved evergreen shrub, apparently of slow growth, its foliage somewhat like the common Box tree, but I believe not very hardy. The fruit, of which so much was expected, is anything but handsome, being, in fact, as like the common Haw as anything else, and, though larger than the commonest of all, is not so largo as those of the fancy kinds of that commonest of all fruit; but in color and largeness of eye it very much resembles the Haw. Now, a fruit with no great pretensions to appearance ought to have some good qualifications to entitle it to a place at table, and I am far from denying this its due in that respect, for its flavor is to my taste far from disagreeable; on the contrary, if the fruit was larger, I think it might become a favorite. There is a sort of richness about it which I have not found in anything else, and on the whole I like it bettor than some fruits that are occasion ally sent to table, as the Passion fruit, Plantain, etc.; but its diminutive size and appearance are a defect not easily got over, and it is likely most people will feel dissatisfied with it after seeing it once.
As a plant, however, it is worthy attention, and it would seem to be well fitted to cover a low wall, it being on a situation of that kind that I have it growing, facing the south; the few berries there were ripening the middle of September.
"In its present condition the fruit of Eugenia Ugni is certainly inferior in point of appearance to that of several of the Fuchsias, and the latter are, I believe, equally wholesome and agreeable, the best bearing one being Fuchsia corymbiflora, which, if cultivated for its fruit, might be made both a useful and ornamental object, and its juicy berries of a dark plum-color might find themselves many friends. F. fulgens is equally fruitful, but the fruit is less showy, being a yellowish green; but these fruits are certainly as much entitled to attention as that of Eugenia, and possibly may get it when the failure of the other becomes patent." - J. Robson, in Cottage Gardener.