Know Your Healthy Berries

Berry Boosters

Berry Boosters

Acai, Maqui And Many Other Popular Berries That Will Change Your Life And Health. Berries have been demonstrated to be some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Each month or so it seems fresh research is being brought out and new berries are being exposed and analyzed for their health giving attributes.

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Pereskia weberiana k Schumann 1898

Plants slender and shrubby, often spreading and clambering, 1-3 m (3.3-9.8 ft) tall trunks to 12 cm (4.7 in) in diameter, brown, fissured and papery. Leaves elliptic to narrowly elliptic to lance shaped, varying considerably in size, 2.5-6 cm (1-2.4 in) long, 1-3 cm (0.4-1.2 in) broad, petioles short, venation pinnate, midribs prominent below, lateral veins 2-4. Areoles 2-3 mm in diameter on twigs, with sparse wool. Areoles on trunks and branches producing only spines. Spines 3-5 on twigs, spreading, stiff, 0.8-1.3 cm (0.3-0.5 in) long. Spines as many as 20 on branches and trunks, 1-2 cm (0.4-0.8 in) long. Flowers solitary or in terminal inflorescences, lasting 1-2 days, pink or white, 1.7-2.5 cm (0.7-1 in) in diameter. Fruits depressed subglobose, hollow berries, juicy, 5-6 mm (0.2 in) long, 7 mm (0.3 in) in diameter, glossy black. Distribution dry forests in the Andean valleys of the Rio Beni, Bolivia, at elevations of 1100-1900 m (3600-6200 ft).

Lepismium brevispinum Barthlott 1987


Plants shrubby epiphytes, branching laterally. Stem segments narrowly oblong, sinuate, thin, to 30 cm (12 in) long and 6 cm (2.4 in) wide, with distinct midveins. Areoles large, with wool. Spines 3-8, to 4 mm long. Flowers borne laterally, small, red. Fruits berries to 7 mm (0.3 in) in diameter. Distribution La Paz, Bolivia, at an elevation of 1800 m (5900 ft).

Schlumbergera orssichiana Barthlott McMillan 1978

Stem segments large, 50-75 mm (2-3 in) long, 32-45 mm (1.3-1.8 in) wide, leaflike, flattened, margins two- or three-toothed on each side with each notch containing an areole, sometimes reddish, with terminal elongate composite areoles. Flowers slightly bilaterally symmetrical, opening widely, to 9 cm (3.5 in) long and in diameter floral tubes short, perianth parts not reflexed, white, shading to carmine red at the margins and tips pericarpels five- or six-angled, light green. Fruits fleshy berries, obtuse, five- or six-angled, greenish yellow to white. Distribution southern Minas Gerais, northwestern Rio de Janeiro, and eastern Sao Paulo, Brazil, at elevations of 1600-2500 m (5300-8200 ft).

Pereskia aureiflora f Ritter 1979

Plants treelike or shrubby, to 6 m (20 ft) tall with branches erect or arching trunks to 20 cm (7.9 in) in diameter, brownish gray, rough. Leaves variable in shape and size, obovate to elliptic lance shaped, petiolate, to 11 cm (4.3 in) long, 2-3 cm (0.8-1.2 in) broad, venation pinnate, midribs prominent below, lateral veins 3-7. Spines 0-3 on twigs, 1-3 cm (0.4-1.2 in) long. Spines as many as 35 on trunks, 1-3 cm (0.4-1.2 in) long. Flowers solitary, terminal, with distinct pedicels, yellow, spreading to reflexed, 4 cm (1.6 in) in diameter. Fruits globose berries, 1-2 cm (0.4-0.8 in) in diameter, reddish green to brownish at maturity. Distribution northeastern Minas Gerais and southern Bahia, Brazil, at elevations of 300-700 m (980-2300 ft).

Echinocereus spinigemmatus A B Lau 1984

Plants many-stemmed, forming large mounds more than 1 m (3.3 ft) wide with as many as 500 stems. Stems cylindrical, gradually tapering toward the tips, to 45 cm (18 in) high and 8 cm (3.1 in) in diameter, usually obscured by spines. Ribs 10-17, slightly tuberculate. Central spines 1-4, stout, round to slightly flattened, straight to somewhat curved, straw colored, becoming whitish, 4-8.7 cm (1.6-3.4 in) long. Radial spines 7-14, pink to yellowish, becoming whitish, to 3 cm (1.2 in) long. Flowers usually borne well away from the stem tips, broadly funnelform, bright magenta, 6-12.5 cm (2.44.9 in) long and in diameter. Fruits globose, red when mature, very fleshy, smelling and tasting of strawberries, with deciduous glassy spines. Distribution southwestern United States and central northern Mexico.

Key to Species

The berries are eaten throughout the West Indies and the leaves are used as a pot herb in Brazil. The species was in cultivation in the Royal Gardens of Hampton Court in 1696 and has been at Kew ever since its establishment in 1760, but did not flower until 1889. In Washington we have one plant among a dozen which flowers abundantly each year three plants at New York bloom annually. In tropical America the plant climbs over walls, rocks, and trees, and at flowering time is covered with showy, fragrant blossoms, followed by beautiful clusters of yellow berries. In La Plata it is grown sometimes for hedges (see fig. 1), but its strong, almost offensive odor makes it objectionable for growing near habitations.


The leaves are glossy, waved at their edges and quite plentiful on plants that seldom attain a height of more than 4 ft (l'25m). Besides the obvious decorative value of the glossy green foliage, masses of scarlet berries follow the white flowers. The berries are grouped in clusters and are the main attraction of the plant, particularly so as they remain colourful for much of the year and give the plant its common name of coral berry.

Cacti Succulents

Although the only cacti growing in the wild which most of us see are round the shores of the Mediterranean, the species is exclusively American in its origins. Other succulents come from all five continents of the world and although the cactus family has established itself over nearly as wide a geographic area it is entirely a product of the New World. In prehistoric times, however, some species of cactus travelled and Rhipsatis cassutha, for example, has been growing in Africa for a considerable time. Pliny, too. knew about opuntias and this suggests that seeds must have crossed the Atlantic, possibly with birds on their migrations as both species have attractive berries. Within America itself the cactus family is most heavily concentrated in Mexico but there are also large numbers of species in Southern and Northern America.


Some people are surprised that cacti grow in humid tropical rain forests and seasonal forests rather than deserts. Yet in many regions of South America, and in the Old World as well, cacti make up an important component of the epiphytic flora. Rhipsalis is the only cactus that successfully migrated into the Old World without the aid of humans. Fruits of the tribe Rhipsalideae are juicy berries, each containing 10-100 tiny black seeds that possess a gelatinous sticky appendix in the hilum-micropylar region (Barthlott 1983). This is clearly an adaptation for dispersal by birds, which is almost certainly how Rhipsalis was introduced into the Old World. One species, R. baccifera, is now widely distributed in humid tropical Africa, east as far as Sri Lanka. It has not reached the Indian subcontinent. The dispersal occurred long ago, for the Old World populations have become polyploid and are distinct subspecies (Barthlott and Taylor 1995).


Eriocyse Nigriscoparia

Subfamily Cactoideae, tribe Notocacteae. Plants usually solitary, subglobose, globose, to somewhat elongate, variable in size, 1-100 cm (0.4-39 in) high, 2-50 cm (0.8-20 in) in diameter. Roots fibrous or taproots, sometimes connected to the stems by thin necks. Ribs 7-30 or more, usually notched between areoles and tuberculate. Tubercles variable. Areoles borne on tubercle tips. Spines few to many, stiff and needle-like to thin and bristle-like, 2-50 mm (to 2 in) long. Flowers borne on young or older areoles near the stem tips, usually one per areole, funnelform to nearly tubular, yellow to deep carmine pericarpels and floral tubes with many scales subtending dense tufts of wool, sometimes with bristle-like spines. Fruits hollow berries, often with loose seeds within, often woolly, usually dehiscing basally floral remains persistent. Seeds 0.7-3 mm long, sometimes without an obvious micropyle. Distribution sea level to 3000 m (9800 ft) on the eastern and western slopes of the Andes...