Eugenia paniculata Gaertn. J.Britt. nom. illeg.
Syzygium paniculatum Gaertn.
brush cherry, magenta cherry, magenta lilly pilly, scrub cherry
Australia: indigenous but uncommon in coastal rainforest areas of New South Wales.
In New Zealand planted in parks and gardens, or for shelter; self establishes freely in shade, including indigenous forest, parks and gardens.
Lowland areas of the North Island; uncommon in the South Island of New Zealand.
- A dense bushy upright tree to 15 m tall with brown bark that is flaky to hard, rough and fissured.
- Young stems have smooth internodes above and below the nodes.
- Leaves opposite, lanceolate to oval and widest above the middle, to 100 mm long, 30 mm wide, apex tapered and sharp-pointed, base tapered, hairless, upper surface green and glossy, lower surface paler, side veins numerous.
- New foliage growth is coppery-coloured.
- Flowers in clusters at or near the end of young branches. Petals round, white, 4–5 mm long.
- Stamens numerous, white, 6–15 mm long, longer than petals.
- Fruit berry-like, globose to ovate, to 25 mm diam., usually magenta; seed solitary, usually having many embryos, cotyledons smooth.
A dense bushy upright tree to 15 m tall.
Leaves opposite, lanceolate to oval and widest above the middle, 30–100 mm long, 15–30 mm wide, hairless, upper surface green and glossy, lower surface paler, new foliage growth coppery-coloured, side veins numerous, vein inside the leaf margin usually visible; oil glands small, rather scattered; tip tapered and sharp-pointed; base wedge-shaped, leaf stalks 2–10 mm long.
Flowers produced in summer in clusters at or near the end of young branches. The individual flower stalks may vary from 1–15 mm long, the funnel-shaped calyx is green at first, maturing to red; petals round, white, 4–5 mm long, free and spreading. Stamens numerous, white, 6–15 mm long, longer than petals; style equal in length to longest stamens. Main flowering period: summer to early autumn.
In New Zealand, S. paniculatum is sometimes sold erroneously as S. australe. The two can be distinguished even when young from the leafy twigs, which in S. paniculatum have smooth internodes above and below the nodes, whereas S. australe has its leafy twigs generally 4-angled or shortly 4-winged, pairs of wings running down from each leaf stalk but joining and forming a pocket or hump above the next lower pair of leaves. S. australe appears to be a lot less common in cultivation than S. paniculatum and, compared with the latter, wild seedlings are uncommon in S. australe. Fruit of S. paniculatum can be distinguished from other species in New Zealand by the single, large seed that is solitary but usually has lines of division showing the many embryos.
The Australian species of Syzygium in New Zealand have some similarities in foliage, flowers and fruit. S. paniculatum has globose to ovate fruit that are usually bright magenta but may occasionally be white, pink or purple; fruit of S. australe are oblong to ovate, broadest towards the apex, crimson to crimson-purple, usually glossy; fruit of S. floribundum are globular with a pronounced apical rim ± 1–2 mm high (persistent calyx), green maturing to pink or reddish; fruit of S. smithii are whitish pink to pale purple, and globular with an apical depression; S. oleosum, blue lilly pilly, also present occasionally in New Zealand, has leaves to 120 mm long with a long, narrow, tapered tip, numerous oil glands that are strongly translucent, and globular fruit that are red when young, changing to purplish blue when ripe, with a small apical cavity similar to that of S. smithii.