Eugenia is a genus of over 1000 species occurring in tropical and subtropical rainforests. Eugenia reinwardtiana is the sole Australian member of the genus, although the Brazilian Cherry (Eugenia brasiliensis) is naturalised in Queensland. Many species in the genera Acmena and Syzygium were once classified under Eugenia. E.reinwardtiana was previously known as E.carissioides.
Eugenia reinwardtiana is a large shrub or small tree often found on beach fronts and rocky headlands of coastal Queensland. The leaves are opposite (each pair emerges from the stem at the same location but on opposing sides), oval or elliptical in shape to about 90mm long and dark green in colour. White flowers are followed by fleshy, red or orange fruits. These are ovoid to elongated in shape and can vary in size from about 7 mm diameter to over 20 mm diameter. The fruits are edible but variable in taste with some forms distinctly superior.
E.reinwardtiana is a hardy tree in most subtropical to tropical climates but it may be slow growing. It prefers rich soils and assured moisture in a sunny or shaded position.
Propagation is usually carried out from fresh seed, either by sowing the fruits whole or after removing the flesh. Germination may be slow and spasmodic. The species can also be grown from cuttings of firm, current season’s growth but the formation of roots may be slow.
Fruit of Eugenia reinwardtiana
Photo: Keith Townsend