The California bay is a very tall tree (20-30 m) which is renowned for its many medicinal, nutritional and artisanal properties.
|Common name||Brush cherry, Lilly pilly|
|Binominal name||Eugenia myrtifolia Sims.|
|Synonyms||Syzygium australe (J. C. Wendl. ex Link) B. Hyland|
|Area of origin||Australia (Queensland and New South Wales)|
Eugenia is a genus named in honour of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Myrtifolia means, in latin, “with leaves similar to those of Myrtles”.
Description and flowering period
Eugenia myrtifolia is an australian rainforest tree reaching up to 35 meters in height in its natural habitat but rarely over 18 meters high in cultivation. Its trunk reaches over 60cm in diameter. The leaves are lanceolate (spearhead-shaped), rather small (4 to 8cm long), shiny, green which darkens as the leaf ages. The red grouped flower-buds give way to dense clusters of white flowers. The flowers’ many slender stamens give them an ethereal appearance. The fruits are drupes (fleshy fruit containing a single stone) reminiscent of cherries. They are rounded or ovoid and have pink skin and flesh.
It requires a fresh yet well drained location in full sun or part-shade. The plant can resist occasional short spells of light frost.
- Ornamental, as avenue trees, hedges and bonsai.
- Food & drink: The pleasantly sour fruit can be eaten fresh or cooked. The fruit can also be used to make jams and jellies.
Brush cherry is commonly cultivated in gardens in eastern Australia, mostly as shorter, shrub-like cultivars such as "Aussie Compact", "Minipilly" and "Tiny Trev". These are especially popular as hedges. The species has been adopted by Coffs Harbour City Council as the City's floral emblem.
Translated by: François Saint-Hillier – MNHN
Autres spécimens de la collection
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