Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Le fusain

This is the fruit of the fusain d'Europe (common spindle). I see them here and there on the edges of the vineyard parcels, but usually only recognize them this time of year when they make these little red berries. When the berry matures, it opens to reveal several bright orange seeds.

It looks like a tiny pink pumpkin.

The fusain is toxic to humans, but Wikipedia tells me that certain varieties are carbonized in an airtight environment to make charcoal pencils for artists. Those pencils are called fusains in French. Click here to see two other photos of the berries that I posted back in 2012 and 2013.


  1. Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the earlier links, too. I had forgotten this berry until I saw those earlier photos.

  2. The plant you photographed is the original plant for fusain.
    And it is simple to make.... all that you need is a tin with a tight fitting lid, the twigs of different diameters and a gas hob! It is something all artists used to make as standard.

    1. Thank you Tim, I didn't know artists could make their own fusains.

  3. What an interesting plant!

  4. mitch, I'm glad they work.

    tim, I never even thought where charcoal pencils came from.

    evelyn, yes!

    bettyann, until moving here, I'd never seen one of these.

  5. I have never seen one of these either. How pretty

  6. I find the fusains fascinating.

  7. michael, they are unusual looking!

    wickedhamster, I was amazed when I first saw one.


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