Facts about Brush Cherry

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Brush Cherry Quick Facts
Name: Brush Cherry
Scientific Name: Syzygium paniculatum
Origin New South Wales, Australia
Colors Initially green turning to magenta or can be white, pink or purple
Shapes Ovoid berry, 1.3–1.5 cm long, 0.8–1 cm wide, fleshy
Taste Slightly acidulous taste
Syzygium paniculatum popularly known as the magenta lilly pilly or magenta cherry is a species of flowering plant in the myrtle family Myrtaceae. Syzygium paniculatum is commonly confused with Syzygium austral. The plant is native to New South Wales, Australia, occurring along a narrow, linear, coastal strip in five separate geographical areas: Jervis Bay, Coalcliff, Botany Bay, Central Coast and Seal Rocks. Popular common names of the plant are Australian brush-cherry, brush cherry, Australian water-pear, magenta cherry, magenta lilly pilly, scrub cherry, scrub cherry, creek lilly-pilly, creek satinash and watergum. The name of the genus is the combination of the Greek terms “sys” which means together, and “zygon” means yoke, with reference to the joined petals of some species. The Latin name of the species, paniculatum means in the shape of a panicle, refers to the type of inflorescence.

Brush Cherry Facts

Name Brush Cherry
Scientific Name Syzygium paniculatum
Native New South Wales, Australia, occurring along a narrow, linear, coastal strip in five separate geographical areas: Jervis Bay, Coalcliff, Botany Bay, Central Coast and Seal Rocks
Common Names Australian brush-cherry, brush cherry, Australian water-pear, magenta cherry, magenta lilly pilly, scrub cherry, scrub cherry, creek lilly-pilly, creek satinash, watergum
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Australiese waterbessie
Chinese:  Ao zhou pu tao,  Ao zhou yuan zhui hua fan ying ta ,  Yuan zhui hua fan ying tao
English: Australian brush cherry, Brush cherry, Magenta lillypilly, magenta cherry, Australian water pear
French: Cerisier d’Australie, myrte d’Australie
German: Kirschmyrte
Hebrew: סיזיגיון מכבדי
Malayalam: Saisījiyaṁ panikulēṟṟaṁ (സൈസീജിയം പനികുലേറ്റം)
Portuguese: Jambinho-roxo, jambinho, jambinho-rosa, jambo-da-Austrália
Russian: Sizigium metel’chatyj (Сизигиум метельчатый)
Spanish: Cereza magenta, lilly pilly magenta
Swedish: Vippmyrten
Plant Growth Habit Slow-growing evergreen shrub or small tree
Growing Climates Rain forests and sandy soils by the sea, subtropical and littoral rainforest on sandy soils or stabilized dunes near the sea, Self establishes freely in shade, including native forest, parks, gardens
Soil Alluvial, lateritic, sandy alluvia, marl and olitic limestone. Some of them tolerate saline soil and are found on deep, rich, well-drained soils
Plant Size About 3 – 7 meters tall, but exceptional specimens up to 20 metres are found
Leaf Simple, opposite, from elliptic to obovate with sharp apex, 3-10 cm long and 1,5-3 cm broad, of glossy dark green color on the upper page, paler below; the young leaves are red-bronze colored
Flowering season November and February
Flower It has cymose or panicle terminal inflorescences with flowers with cream white petals, about 5 mm long and several white stamina, 8-15 mm long, which are the most conspicuous part of the flower
Fruit Shape & Size Ovoid berry, 1.3–1.5 cm long, 0.8–1 cm wide, fleshy
Fruit Color Initially green turning to magenta or can be white, pink or purple
Seed Only one seed
Propagation By seed, softwood cutting, semi hardwood cutting
Taste Slightly acidulous taste
Season March to June

Plant Description

Brush Cherry is a slow-growing evergreen shrub or small tree with a dense, pyramidal crown.  A broad dense bushy rainforest tree, it grows to a height of 15 m (49 ft.) with a trunk diameter up to 35 cm (14 in).  The plant is found growing in rain forests, sandy soils by the sea, subtropical, littoral rainforest on sandy soils, stabilized dunes near the sea, self establishes freely in shade, including native forest, parks and gardens. The plant prefers alluvial, lateritic, sandy alluvia, marl and olitic limestone. Some of them tolerate saline soil and are found on deep, rich, well-drained soils.

Leaves

The leaves are 3-10 cm long and 1.5-3 cm broad, opposite, simple and slightly obovate, tapering at the leaf base. They are dark glossy green color on the upper page, and paler below. The young leaves are red-bronze colored. Petiole is about 3–5 mm long.

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

It has cymose or panicle terminal inflorescences with flowers with cream white petals, about 5 mm long and several white stamina about 8-15 mm long, which are the most conspicuous part of the flower. Calyx is green with lobes tipped red but later all red; tube narrowly obconic about 5 mm long. Lobes are oblong, 3 mm long and 2.7 mm wide. Petals are white, round, 4 mm long and wide. Stamens are white, about 6–8 mm long. Flowering normally takes place from November and February.

Flower color White
Flower Characteristics Summer flowering

 

Fruits

Fertile flowers are followed by fleshy globose or ovoid berry, 1.3–1.5 cm long, and 0.8–1 cm wide. Fruits are initially green turning to magenta or can be white, pink or purple with a slightly acidulous taste, containing one seed only, usually polyembryonic. It reproduces by branch cutting of the year and by seed, which must be planted as soon as possible, as it has a short lasting germinable capacity.

It also stated that “The red juice of the fruit of this tree is similar in its properties to that of red grapes. It contains free tartaric acid, cream of tartar, sugar, and red coloring matter very sensitive to the action of acids and alkalies. By fermentation it yields wine possessing a bouquet. The coloring matter, which is soluble in alcohol and ether-alcohol, but not in pure ether, is precipitated by lead-acetate, decolorized by reducing agents, and recovers its red color on exposure to the air, just like litmus and the red color of wine. The edible fruit is occasionally collected from the wild, though it is not widely appreciated. The tree is commonly grown as a hedge and ornamental. The plant is endangered, with a serious risk of disappearing from the wild within one or two decades if current land use continues.

Fruit Shape Round
Fruit Length Less than 0.5 inch
Fruit Cover Fleshy
Fruit Color Red, Black
Fruit Characteristics suited for human consumption; attracts birds

 

Culinary uses

  • Crisp and very juicy, the aromatic rose-purple fruits are often eaten to quench the thirst.
  • The pleasantly sour fruit are also eaten fresh or cooked.
  • The fruit can be used to make jams and jellies

Other Facts

  • Plants are used for hedging in frost-free areas of California.
  • They are widely used for hedging and to provide shelter from the wind in frost-free areas of California and Florida.
  • Outside Australia, brush cherry is used as a subject for bonsai.
  • This species has been adopted by Coffs Harbor City Council as the City’s floral symbol.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=506169#null

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Syzygium+paniculatum

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/52455

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=SYPA7

https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q159398

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/SYZPA

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-200058

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syzygium_paniculatum

http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Syzygium+paniculatum

http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:602052-1

https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp567

https://bie.ala.org.au/species/http://id.biodiversity.org.au/node/apni/2886832

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