Family: Myrtaceae

Acmena is a genus of evergreen shrubs and trees native to the eastern coast of Australia. Usually found along rivers or in rainforests, they have grayish brown scaly bark and lustrous green aromatic foliage. In warm areas, the smaller species make lovely hedges and garden ornamentals. In frost-prone areas it is advisable to grow them instead in pots in a cool greenhouse or in a conservatory.


Not all species are available in all areas. A. australis is a tall tree which grows to 25 m (80 ft). Small, pinkish white flowers in terminal sprays are followed by red fruits, 2-3 cm (about 1 in) in diameter.

A. hemilampra, a smaller species which grows naturally as far north as New Guinea, to a height of 10 m (33 ft), has larger glossy dark leaves, white flowers and round white fruits.

A. smithii, the most widely grown species, better known as filly pilly, is a bushy shrub or small tree with dark green foliage. It has shiny leaves, bronze-tipped when young, and greenish white fluffy flowers in terminal sprays and round, shiny, pinkish-purplish fruits. Lilly pilly grows to 6 m (20 ft) tall and makes a fine hedge plant. It withstands pruning and can be frost-sensitive.


Under glass in pots of well-drained, soil-based potting compost. Outdoors, although they prefer rich, moist, well-drained soils, with ample water, they will grow in cool, semi-shaded spots. Propagate from seed which germinates rather slowly, ripening in autumn and winter. Sow in a mix of sharp sand and peat or vermiculite at the rate of 3:1. Acmena can also he grown from shoot cuttings taken in the autumn. Carefully remove the leaves from the lower two-thirds of the cutting. Dust with hormone rooting powder and place in the same sand and peat mix that was recommended for seeds.
Acrneua is susceptible to scale insects, but it is possible to control these pests with the use of white oil spray.


Zone 10 and above.

Achimenes      Acokanthera