Figure Brush Cherry. Fact Sheet fps-567

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This document is Fact Sheet FPS-567, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department,  Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food

and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date: October, 1999 Please visit the EDIS Web site at

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational

information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin.

For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative

Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University

of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.

Figure 1. Brush Cherry.

Fact Sheet FPS-567


October, 1999

Syzygium paniculatum


Edward F. Gilman



Brush Cherry has beautiful reddish foliage when it first

emerges (Fig. 1).  The shiny leaves slowly turn dark green on

thin brown twigs.  Older plants eventually reach to about 12 feet

tall, but most are clipped into hedges in residential landscapes.

Showy white flowers borne in the warm months are usually

pruned off and not very noticeable.  However flowers on

unclipped plants are quite attractive as they fill the canopy.

Several stems arise from the lower part of the tree forming a

multiple trunked tree well adapted for many landscapes.  The

plant may still be referred to as Eugenia myrtifolia in some


General Information

Scientific name: Syzygium paniculatum

Pronunciation: sizz-ZYE-gee-um pan-nick-yoo-LAY-tum

Common name(s): Brush Cherry

Family: Myrtaceae

Plant type: tree

USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Fig. 2)

Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round

Origin: native to Florida

Uses: container or above-ground planter; near a deck or patio;

superior hedge; small parking lot islands (< 100 square feet in

size); medium-sized parking lot islands (100-200 square feet in

size); large parking lot islands (> 200 square feet in size);

narrow tree lawns (3-4 feet wide); medium-sized tree lawns (4-

Height: 12 to 20 feet

6 feet wide); wide tree lawns (>6 feet wide); recommended for

buffer strips around parking lots or for median strip plantings in

the highway; screen

Availablity: somewhat available, may have to go out of the

region to find the plant


Spread: 8 to 15 feet

Plant habit: vase shape; oval

Plant density: moderate

Syzygium paniculatum

 -- Brush Cherry Page 2

October 1999

Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.

Growth rate: moderate

Fruit cover: fleshy

Texture: fine

Fruit color: red; black



Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: entire

Leaf shape: elliptic (oval)

Leaf venation: none, or difficult to see

Leaf type and persistence: evergreen

Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches

Leaf color: purple or red

Fall color: no fall color change

Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: white

Flower characteristic: summer flowering


Fruit shape: round

Fruit length: less than .5 inch

Fruit characteristic: suited for human consumption; attracts

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches:  typically multi-trunked or clumping

stems; showy

Current year stem/twig color: reddish

Current year stem/twig thickness: thin


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun

Soil tolerances: acidic; alkaline; sand; loam; clay; 

Drought tolerance: high

Soil salt tolerances: unknown

Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches

Syzygium paniculatum

 -- Brush Cherry Page 3

October 1999


Roots: usually not a problem

Winter interest: no special winter interest

Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features

and could be planted more

Invasive potential: not known to be invasive

Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management


 The most common use of Brush Cherry is for a tall screen

or hedge.  Small leaves, year-round growth and a natural

compact habit make this one of the premier hedge plants in

south Florida.  It is also nicely suited for espalier or topiary.

Drought tolerance and nice foliage make it a nice addition to a

deck or patio when planted in a container.  

 Trees can be trained in the nursery to one central trunk or

allowed and encouraged to develop multiple trunks as plants

age.  The bark on these older trunks is quite showy.  Brush

Cherry creates shade for a patio or deck, but will not grow to

the large, often overpowering size of a large tree such as a Fig.

They can be used along streets, in highway medians and in

parking lots because they adapt to small soil spaces and do not

become very large.  Street and parking lot trees are often

specified to have one trunk to allow for vehicle clearance

beneath the crown.  Multiple trunked trees are often specified

for specimen planting so the beautiful bark can be displayed.  

 Stopper grows well in south Florida on limestone soils as

an understory plant.  However, it is perfectly adapted to more

open, sunny locations where it will flourish with little care once

it becomes established.   

Pests and Diseases 

 Scales and mites can infest the foliage and twigs.  

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