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Monday, April 23, 2012

Syzygium australe - Brush Cherry

The brush cherry has the potential of being a medium to large tree but they are almost always planted to be sheared as a hedge, and they make a pretty good one at that. When I see a tree form it always catches my eye because it has a nice habit and when in fruit it makes a pretty good show. 

As a tree it can reach 50 feet but is more likely to be about 35 x 20' wide, with an upright somewhat spreading habit and lateral branches that weep at the ends. Usually multi-stemmed as a tree form. Some specimens seem to be shaped very different, like tall columns but they grow into this shape if allowed.

The evergreen foliage emerges in the spring with a pretty reddish - bronze color but changes to a medium dark green soon after obtaining full size. Leaves are opposite, simple, elliptical to ovate shaped, 1 - 3" long, glossy green with a lighter lower surface and entire margins.

Flowers are white and all the showy bits are, like so many from the southern hemisphere, male parts.
Attractive and as you can see, they open before last years fruit has fallen.

The fruit is not a cherry, but a true berry. Rose colored and produced in large quantities. As a kid we used to write stuff on the sidewalks with the fruit and it stained the cement.

One of several problems, the plants are very susceptible to a psyllid that deforms the new growth.

This plant is usually called S. paniculatum or Eugenia  but was wrongly named years ago and the name is not likely to change.

Misidentification: not likely, can't think of anything,

Santa Cruz Great one at 1128 King St.

800 Green Valley Rd

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