DESCRIPTION: This group consists of about 1,000 species of slow-growing, broadleaf, evergreen shrubs and trees, which are suitable for growing as dense hedges. They are mostly natives of tropical America. They have simple, shiny green leaves arranged opposite each other on the branches. They bear spikes of flowers having numerous stamens. These are followed by fleshy fruits, some types of which are edible. E. uniflora (Surinam Cherry; Pitanga) forms a shrub or small tree up to 20 feet high. The entire, egg-shaped leaves grow from 1 to 3 inches long. The young leaves, which are wine-colored and covered with a few reddish hairs, contrast pleasantly with the older, dark green foliage. The young stems are also covered with a few red hairs. The fragrant, white flowers are borne in short racemes at the leaf axils or singly at the axils of the lower leaves; they are produced year-round. They are followed by round, orangish-red to nearly black, juicy berries, 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. The fruits can be eaten raw or made into jelly or preserves. This species is suitable for growing as a hedge plant, although in some regions it is listed as a pest plant. E. axillaris (White Stopper; Stink Bush) is an evergreen shrub or small tree up to 26 feet high. Its grayish-white bark is smooth and scaly. Its dark green, ovate leaves are from 1 to 3 inches long. They emit a foul, skunk-like odor when bruised or crushed. The small, white flowers are produced in the summer in axillary clusters. They are followed by juicy, reddish to black berries. E. rhombea (Spiceberry Eugenia; Red Stopper) forms a small, evergreen tree up to 26 feet high or a small shrub. Its bark is smooth, brownish-gray or clay-colored. Its leathery, dark green leaves are yellow underneath. The small, white flowers are produced in small clusters year-round. They are followed by round berries, orangish-red at first, maturing to black. This species is rare.
POTTING: These plants can be grown in warm, frost-free climates only (zones 10 & 11), as they are natives of tropical countries. They can be grown in any fairly good, slightly acidic soil in full sun to partial shade. Partial shade is preferable in very hot climates. Water well throughout the summer; less in the winter. It is better that their soil is consistently slightly moist, rather than being dried out then drenched. Eugenia need a humid atmosphere, so an occasional misting would be beneficial. They should be fertilized every two weeks during active growth and about once a month in the winter. Eugenia can tolerate being pruned back hard. New shoots with 6 to 8 pairs of leaves can be shortened to 1 or 2 pairs. Take care not to scar the branches.
PROPAGATION: Seeds may be sown in the fall, or cuttings may be taken in the summer. They may also be air-layered.
SPECIES & VARIETIES: E. axillaris; E. apiculata; E. axillaris; E. bellonis; E. biflora; E. boqueronensis; E. borinquensis; E. cacuminis; E. confusa; E. cordata (Lathberry); E. corozalensis; E. domingensis; E. earhartii; E. eggersii; E. foetida; E. glabrata (Smooth-Rodwood); E. haematocarpa; E. koolauensis; E. laevis Berg; E. ligustrina; E. monticola; E. padronii; E. procera (Rock Myrtle); E. pseudopsidium (Christmas Cherry); E. reinwardtiana; E. rhombea; E. serrasuela (Serrusuela); E. sessiliflora; E. stahlii; E. stewardsonii; E. underwoodii; E. uniflora (Surinam Cherry); E. woodburyana; E. xerophytica; E. yucatanensis; E. winzerlingii.
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