Family: Myrtaceae

Comprising over 500 species mostly from trop­ical America, these evergreen trees and shrubs, with attractive foliage, flowers and berries, are sometimes grown as ornamentals, though many are cultivated for their edible fruits. A number of Australian species formerly included in this genus have now been placed with Syzytium, as have species from other genera.


Most of these may be difficult to obtain in the UK.

E. aggregata, cherry of the Rio Grande, from Brazil, grows to around 5 m (16 ft). The orange-red berries ripen to a deep purple. The fruit can be eaten raw or used in pies.

E. brasiliensis, Brazil cherry, grows to 15 m (50 ft), with white flowers, followed by dark red fruits, ripening to almost black. The fruit is eaten raw or used in jams, jellies and pies.

E. pitanga, pitanga, is a low-growing shrub from Brazil and Argentina, with round, red, edible fruits.

E. reinwardtiana, beach cherry, is the only Australian species left in this genus. A tall shrub to about 5 m (16 ft), it occurs on that country's north-eastern coast. It is most suitable for growing in tropical and subtropical coastal gardens. The fruits are edible.

E. uniflora, Surinam cherry or Barbados cherry, is a shrub or small tree, widely cultivated in tropical regions for its fruit and as a hedging plant. White flow­ers are followed by yellow to red edible fruits. In its native areas, the leaves are crushed and used as insect repellant.


In frost-prone climates, grow in a warm greenhouse or conservatory in pots of well-drained, soil-based potting compost. Shade from direct, strong sun. Water regularly in summer, less frequently in winter. Outdoors grow in well drained, humus-rich soil and full sun. Propagate from seed.


At least zone 10.

Eucryphia      Euonymus