All the same, one can’t help but wonder how many of our prehistoric forbears had to drop dead before the rest of their relatives knew which berries to eat, and which to avoid. They heaven for them that they’d had have to wait several millenia for writing to be invented, because what’s written about the toxicity of Pernettya mucronta (syn. Gaultheria mucronta) is decidedly inconclusive. The taste of the berries is described most often as being sweet, but a bit, well...meh – but the very fact that the taste is often described should offer some encouragement, suggesting as it does the likelihodd of surviving at least for the few moments required to make such a description before – who knows? – either carking it on the spot, or going on to make old bones and bounce the great grandchildren upon the knee. One or the other. I do love the internet*.
Pernettya mucronta, as you’ll usually find these plants labelled in the nursery or garden centre, is now classified in the genus Gaultheria, of which the most well-recongnised is Gaultheria procumbens, or wintergreen (the berries of which are edible and, according to James Wong’s Homegrown Revolution, rather tastier). The various cultivars of P. (or G.) macronta have either only male or only female flowers on them (known as dioecious), and so you will need one of each to ensure a decent crop of berries. There are some hermaphrodite varieties, so it pays to check the label carefully. Whatever their sexual proclivities, they’re of the ericacious family, eschewing alkaline or chalky soils and being most at home in acidic conditions. A periodic top dressing with ericaceous compost, needles from the Christmas tree, or dousing from a watering containing a sachet of sequestered iron would keep them in fine fettle. Shade is not a problem for this shrub, although you’ll notice they flower best (and consequently develop the most berries) on the parts exposed to the sun.
here, at the website written from the garden of splendigly named Paghat the Rat Girl. It’s just as inconclusive as this post, but better referenced.