Acmena smithii (Poir.) Merr. & L.M.Perry, Eugenia smithii Poir.
Syzygium smithii (Poir.) Nied.
lilly pilly, lillipilli satinash, monkey apple, white monkey apple
Australia: forest in eastern parts of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
In New Zealand planted in parks and gardens, especially for shelter; commonly naturalised from nearby planted specimens.
Widespread in lowland areas of the North Island and in a few sites in the South Island of New Zealand.
- Shrubs or trees 6–15 m tall in cultivation with bark that is reddish brown, relatively smooth and hard to slightly flaky; may be fissured in older trees.
- Young stems often 4-angled or shortly 4-winged.
- Leaves opposite, narrow-lanceolate to broad ovate, to 110 mm long and 50 mm wide, apex with a narrow-rounded tip, semi-glossy or dull above, paler and dotted with oil glands below; side veins numerous, stalk 2–9 mm long; new foliage pinkish.
- Leaves aromatic when crushed.
- Flowers in clusters at or near the end of young branches. Petals round, white to cream, more or less circular, 1–1.5 mm long.
- Stamens numerous, white, to ± 3 mm long, longer than the petals.
- Fruit berry-like, globose, often slightly flattened, 8–20 mm diam., with a small apical cavity, whitish pink to pale purple when ripe. Seed large.
Leaves opposite, varying in shape from narrow-lanceolate to broad ovate, mostly 30–110 mm long, 10–50 mm wide, leathery, hairless, semi-glossy or dull above, paler and dotted with oil glands below, new foliage growth is pinkish, side veins numerous, parallel and prominent below, vein inside margin distinct; tips abruptly narrowed, usually ending in a narrow rounded point; base tapered; leaf stalk 2–9 mm long. Leaves aromatic when crushed.
Flowers produced in summer in many-flowered clusters at or near the end of young branches. Individual flowers short-stalked, petals white to cream, more or less circular, irregular in shape, 1–1.5 mm long, petals cohering, shed together. Stamens numerous, white, to ± 3 mm long, longer than the petals. Main flowering period: late spring to summer.
Syzygium smithii could possibly be confused with S. maire because they sometimes grow together in urban forest remnants. It differs from S. maire by the calyx lobes which are fused together rather than free. Flowers of S. smithii are much smaller, stamens ± 3 mm long, but stamens of S. maire are 5–12 mm long or more. The leaves of S. maire are yellowish-green above, paler green below, and sometimes have small reddish marks or spots, whereas the leaves of S. smithii are usually bright green or dark green above and semi-glossy or dull, paler and dotted with oil glands below. Fruit of S. maire are deep crimson, glossy, globose to ovate, with a small circular rim at the apex, whereas those of S. smithii are whitish pink to pale purple, globose but often slightly flattened with a small apical cavity.
The Australian species of Syzygium in New Zealand have some similarities in foliage, flowers and fruit. Fruit of S. australe are oblong to ovate, broadest towards the apex, crimson to crimson-purple, usually glossy; S. paniculatum has globose to ovate fruit that are usually bright magenta but may occasionally be white, pink or purple; fruit of S. floribundum are globular with a pronounced apical rim ± 1–2 mm high (retained 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.
Until recently this species was known as Acmena smithii. Syzygium smithii is listed as a DOC Environmental Weed and a National Pest Plant Accord and Regional Pest Management Strategy species in New Zealand.
Syzygium is a genus of more than 1,200 species in Africa, Asia, Malesia, Australasia, New Caledonia and the Pacific Islands.
- Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants
- Flora of New Zealand Online (species profile)
- Flora of New Zealand Online (weed profile)
- iNaturalist NZ
- PlantNET: New South Wales Flora Online (Acmena smithii)
- Plants of South Eastern New South Wales
- VicFlora: Flora of Victoria
- Weeds of Australia: Biosecurity Queensland