Syzygium is a genus of over 1000 species occurring in tropical and subtropical rainforests. There are about 50 species in Australia occurring in the Kimberly region of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and northern New South Wales. The genus includes species previously classified in the genus Acmena as well as a number previously classified as Eugenia and Waterhousea. Syzygium floribundum was previously classified as Eugenia floribunda and Waterhousea floribunda.
Syzygium floribundum is a medium to large tree to 30 metres in height in its natural habitat although it is usually much smaller in cultivation (up to about 6 metres). It has dark grey, flaky bark and lance-shaped to elliptical leaves which taper to a point. Leaves are about 5-15 cm long and up to 5 cm wide. The white flowers appear from late spring to mid summer and are followed by round fruits 15 -20 mm in diameter and green in colour, maturing with a pink to red tinge.
Weeping lilly pilly is a hardy tree for temperate to tropical climates in reasonably well drained soils. Once established it will tolerate extended dry conditions but is at its best when assured water is available. Like some other related plants in the genus Syzygium, scale infestations are sometimes observed. This can be controlled by the use of white oil.
Propagation may be carried out from fresh seed, preferably after removing the flesh. The species can also be grown from cuttings of firm, current season’s growth.
For some interesting photographs of some old growth Syzygium floribundum, see Sassafras, a web site created by Paul Segal.
Photo: John Wrigley