Eugenia uniflora (Myrtaceae)

Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Eugenia uniflora (Myrtaceae)

Alternative common names:

Surinam cherry (English); pitanga (Afrikaans)


An evergreen compact shrub or small tree 3-10m high. Dark green leaves that are shiny above and pale beneath. White, slightly fragrant flowers appear from June to July. Yellow fruits which turn deep crimson when ripe. This tree invades coastal bush, forest edges and understorey, river banks and urban open spaces.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Tropical America (Brazil)

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

CARA 2002 - Category 1 in Limpopo, KZN and Mpumalanga. NEMBA Category 1b.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Mostly restricted to coastal KwaZulu-Natal.

How does it spread?

Spreads by seed dispersal.

Why is it a problem?

This plant is a potential transformer which can replace indigenous trees.

What does it look like?

General description: Evergreen, broad, compact shrub or small tree that grows up to 1-2m high.
Leaves: Dark green and shiny above, pale beneath, veins impressed above, raised beneath.
Flowers: Fragrant white flowers appear in winter from June to July at the ends of long, slender penduncles.
Fruit/Seeds: An edible fruit 30mm across with a spicy flavour, yellow turning deep crimson when ripe and conspicuously eight ribbed.

Does the plant have any uses?

Used as an ornamental plant, hedges and for its edible fruits.

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