Syzygium smithii


Syzygium: From the Greek syzygos 'joined', referring to the paired leaves
smithii: After the British botanist John Smith (1798-1888) or Stephenson Percy Smith (1840-1922).

Common Name(s)

lilly pilly, monkey apple


Syzygium smithii (Poir.) Nied.



Flora Category

Vascular - Exotic

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Acmena smithii, Eugenia smithii




Tree (6-15 m high in cultivation). Lvs very aromatic when crushed; petiole usually c. 5mm long. Lamina 4-12-(15) x 2-5-(8) cm, ovate or elliptic-ovate, coriaceous, glossy above, dotted with glands below; veins parallel and prominent below; base cuneate or narrow-cuneate; apex obtusely cuspidate or acuminate. Fls shortly pedicellate. Hypanthium (including pseudopedicel) 3-5 mm long; calyx lobes 4, deciduous. Petals 4, c. 2mm long, forming a small calyptrum, whitish. Stamens to c.3mm long whitish. Fr. subglobose to broad-oblong or obovoid, often slightly flattened, usually 1-1.7-(3) cm diam., pinkish mauve or white, with apical cavity. Seed large. (Webb et. al. 1988).

Similar Taxa

Tree (6-15m high in cultivation); leaves very aromatic when crushed, 4-12cm long x 2-5cm wide, glossy above, dotted with glands below, veins parallel and prominent below; petals whitish, about 2mm long; fruit broad-oblong or ovoid, often slightly flattened, usually 1-1.7cm diameter, pinkish mauve or white; large seed (Webb et al., 1988).


October, November, December, January

Flower Colours


Year Naturalised



E. Australia - was, until recently, known as Acmena smithii

Reason For Introduction


Life Cycle Comments

Perennial. Long-lived plant.


Birds, dispersed by kereru from townships, farms and orchard hedges (DoC, 1996).


Able to establish in existing forest under low light conditions (DoC, 1996)

References and further reading

Gardner, R. 2009. Monkey-apples: the fruit and seed of two Syzygium spp. (Myrtaceae). Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 64(1): 75-76

Syzygium smithii - Wikipedia

This page last updated on 11 Apr 2013