lilly pilly, monkey apple
Acmena smithii, Eugenia smithii
Vascular – Exotic
Trees & Shrubs - Dicotyledons
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.
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).
Syzygium paniculatum, S. australe both have more showy flowers with larger petals and stamens; their fruits are ovoid with somewhat swollen sepals at the fruit tips (S. smithii has almost spherical fruit with a ‘hole’ at the distal end.) Leaves of S. smithii are broader in relation to their length than those of S. paniculatum and S. australe. S. floribunda has weeping branches and leafy twigs and its leaves are narrow-ovate.
October, November, December, January
Perennial. Long-lived plant. Birds, dispersed by kereru from townships, farms and orchard hedges (DoC, 1996).
This taxon may be prone to Myrtle Rust (Austropuccinia psidii) is an invasive fungus which threatens myrtle species - learn more myrtlerust.org.nz
E. Australia - was, until recently, known as Acmena smithii
Reason for introduction
Able to establish in existing forest under low light conditions (DoC, 1996)
syzygium: From the Greek syzygos ‘joined’, referring to the paired leaves
smithii: James Edward Smith (1757-1858), who gave it the illegitimate homonymous name Eugenia elliptica
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
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: Ogle, C. (Year at time of access): Syzygium smithii Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/syzygium-smithii/ (Date website was queried)