This plant comes to our flower market under the name Acmena smithii. It was first described by D.E. Smith in 1787 under the name Eugenia elliptica, and two years later it was awarded his name (Eugenia smithii). In 1893 it was classified in the genus Syzygium smithii, however, for many years the plant has been widely known under the incorrect name of Acmena smithii, since some botanists allocate acmena to a separate genus of myrtle plants.
Description of Syzygium smithii
Syzygium smithii in nature is a small evergreen tree up to 6 m in height, native to the northeast of Australia, where it is called Lilly Pilly. It grows in subtropical and humid tropical forests, usually along streams and ravines, where it sometimes suffers from flooding. In mountainous areas, it can grow up to 20 meters. The bark is orange-brown, exfoliates with age. Young growth of reddish color, twigs are tetrahedral. The leaves are elliptical, 3-11 cm long and 1-5 cm wide, tapering to the base and with a sharp tip, dark green, glossy, located on the branches oppositely. Numerous etheric glands are clearly visible.
The flowers are creamy, spectacular, with many stamens, appearing in the summer (in Australia from October to March), collected in apical inflorescences. After 4-5 months, rounded berries up to 2 cm in diameter ripen, from whitish to dark purple, edible, but not delicacy, used to make jams and drinks, at home in Australia they serve as food for many species of birds.
Syzygium smithii grows beautifully in a wide range of environmental conditions with minimal effort, for a tropical tree surprisingly resistant to wildfires. This makes it, on the one hand, a valuable ornamental plant, but on the other hand, due to its high adaptability, it poses a threat to native species, which is encountered in New Zealand.
Syzygium smithii tolerates moist soils, is unstable to drought, can grow in direct sun and shade, withstands low temperatures and even small frosts, tolerates poor soils, but prefers heavy fertile loam.
Syzygium smithii is used for street gardening in countries from tropical climates to temperate latitudes, it is grown in dense screens or used in single plantings and fairly high hedges because it can be difficult to keep it in small volumes. There are many ornamental varieties, including compact and variegated.
Caring for syzygium smithii at home
In our country, Syzygium smithii is grown as a potted plant, usually sold as a small stem tree.
The placement is bright, preferably in direct sun.
It is abundant, the plant does not tolerate even short-term drying of the substrate. In order for the soil to remain moist throughout the hot summer day, it is necessary to plant the plant in a pot of sufficient size and be sure to add clay (turf earth) and sand to the purchased peat soil. Bring the acidity to neutral.
The plant is transplanted as the roots fill the entire lump of earth, young specimens usually annually in the spring, adults every few years.
During the growing season, they are fed with universal fertilizers, slightly reducing the dose.
Syzygium smithii feels great in the summer outdoors, on the balcony. When placed in direct sun, care must be taken to ensure that the pot does not overheat.
it is desirable to provide him with a cool bright place, optimally on a glazed balcony, where the temperature does not fall below zero, reduce watering, keep the substrate slightly moist. In late spring, fragrant fluffy cream flowers appear, collected in apical inflorescence. In late autumn, the fruits ripen.
It is propagated by fresh seeds (germination of seeds is lost after a month) or cuttings. The plant is resistant to parasites, but the defeat of aphids, mealybugs and shields is not excluded.