In 1790, Joseph Banks planted
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. At that
time it was recorded as Eugenia
smithii. Since then, much confusion
concerning the name has ensued.
For many years the horticultural
industry in Australia continued to
use the name Eugenia smithii, then
more recently, Acmena smithii. Now taxonomists have reviewed the
work of German botanist Franz Niedenzu (1893) and decided that this
species belongs more appropriately in the genus Syzygium. This
change has been accepted by the Council of Heads of Australian
Herbaria (CHAH) and this particular Lilly Pilly is now recognised as
coast of Eastern Australia, from King Island
(Tasmania), Victoria, New South Wales to far
north Queensland. The more generally occurring
form is a tall tree with rounded leaves and
usually creamy white berries, and is common in
gullies in the Sydney area.
However, Acmena smithii
or Creek Lilly Pilly, which grows along
relatively small tree with narrow leaves and brightly coloured edible fruit.
The name rheophyte comes from Ancient Greek:
a plant, thus rheophytes are plants that can grow
common names, including Coast Satinash, Eungella Gum, Lilly pilly
Keep in mind that there are a number of genera and many, many
species of Lilly Pilly in Australia. All belong in the Myrtle family,
Myrtaceae, which includes eucalypts, bottlebrush and tea trees. Lilly
Pillies are mostly found in rainforests of Eastern Australia and differ from
most of their Australian relatives from dry environments in that they
usually have large, dark green leaves with relatively few oil glands and
have fleshy fruits rather
than hard, dry fruit.
Syzygium smithii will
attract parrots, fruit eating
and possums to your
recommended as a fire
inhibitor by various NSW
Fire Authorities and local
Pilly fruiting now in the
Bush Tucker Garden on
Building F7B near the
thermal storage tower.
Information on the Bush Tucker
University Arboretum web site:
or contact Arboretum co-ordinator Samantha Newton at:
Niedenzu, F.J. (1893) Die Naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien 3(7): 85.
Alison Downing, Kevin Downing and Brian Atwell