The name Syzygium smithii was only accepted in 2008 in 'World Checklist of Myrtaceae: R. Govaerts et al, Kew Publishing'. Whilst adopted by the World Checklist of Flowering Plant Families, it is not universally accepted and some authorities still use the name Acmena smithii (treated here as a synonym)[
Acmena elliptica G.Benn.
Acmena elliptica G.Don ex Steud.
Acmena floribunda DC.
Acmena kingie G.Don
Acmena pendula G.Benn.
Acmena smithii (Poir.) Merr. & L.M.Perry
Eugenia elliptica Sm.
Eugenia smithii Poir.
Lomastelma elliptica Raf.
Lomastelma smithii (Poir.) J.H.Willis
Myrtus smithii (Poir.) Spreng.
Syzygium brachynemum F.Muell.
Common Name: Lilly Pilly
Fruiting tree at San Francisco Botanical Garden, California
Photograph by: Stan Shebs
Lilly pilly is an evergreen tree with a very dense and compact crown. In sheltered, warm positions it can grown 20 - 30 metres tall, with a bole 30 - 60cm in diameter, though it is usually smaller and, in more exposed coastal sites is often reduced to a shrub[
]. The bole is often short and poorly formed[
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use of its edible fruit and wood. When boles of suitable dimension are available, the wood is a useful structural timber that is occasionally marketed[
]. A very ornamental tree with attractive foliage and flowers, plus clusters of pink fruit that attract birds, it is often planted in gardens, as street trees etc[
Australia - Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland.
Usually found in rainforests, growing along the banks of small streams and rivers at elevations from sea level to 1,200 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
A plant of the subtropics to the tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,200 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 28°c, but can tolerate 8 - 36°c[
]. It can be killed by temperatures of -5°c or lower, though new growth can be killed at -1°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 1,700mm, but tolerates 700 - 2,000mm[
Older plants grow well in a sunny position and in dappled shade, though younger plants need some protection from strong sunlight[
]. Succeeds in most soils if they are well-drained[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6, tolerating 4.5 - 6.5[
]. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant, though will often show signs of stress[
Plants are often found growing along the sides of rivers, where they are able to withstand seasonal flooding and strong currents[
Young plants are rather slow-growing and spindly, but the growth eventually becomes very dense[
The plant responds well to pruning[
], and to coppicing[
Ripe fruits can remain hanging on the plant for several months[
Fruit - raw or cooked[[
]. A very mild, watery taste, the fruit can be made into jams, jellies, or drinks[
]. The pink-white berry is rather small, about 10 - 15mm in diameter, but is carried in large clusters[
The plant responds well to trimming and can be grown as a tall hedge[
The heartwood is white to light-brown or pale-straw coloured; the sapwood is pale. The wood is close-grained, moderately strong and durable in the weather but not in the ground[
]. It is used for general building construction and seasoned for use in internal fittings and frames[
Seed - it has a short viability and so should be sown as soon as it is ripe[
]. Germination can be slow and erratic[
]. Fresh, unpeeled seeds germinate quickly and reliably[
Cuttings of firm, current season's growth[
]. Fairly easy to root[
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