Neither the flowers nor the ripe berries last very long, so at any given time when the tree is bearing, what you're most likely to see are a lot of green berries with flowers and ripe berries interspersed. This makes for a subtler, less exuberant show than that of a serissa (especially a 'Snow Rose' serissa,) but still a show that is quite satisfying and enjoyable in its own right. The deep, rich green of the leaves makes a great backdrop, and is something I enjoy for itself.
|Blooms, and berries both green and ripe. The white "hairs" on the leaves (trichomes) trap moisture in the air.|
|Typical sight: plenty of green berries, and deep-green leaves.|
|As received in August 2010.|
|As of February 1, 2012.|
The leaves of Ehretia species are used for medicinal teas in southeast Asia. The fruit is technically a drupe, as is a peach or cherry. Each contains a single hard seed. Apparently Fukien tea is self-pollinating, because the seeds from mine have produced a number of seedlings. (Not that I'm complaining!) I expect to use some of them for a forest planting in a year or two.
Fukien tea, unlike serissa, is a true tropical/subtropical species. Mine reminded me of that rather sharply after I took its picture on February 1st. The temperature was a few degrees above freezing, and our side yard, where the picture was taken, is very well sheltered from wind. Nevertheless, over half the leaves blackened and fell over the next few days! They have been replaced, and the tree is producing more blooms and berries, and shows no signs of permanent injury. But now I know not to expose it to that much cold.