Has invaded hammocks in south-central and south Florida, becoming a target of eradication by park managers. The fruit is relished by birds, which spread its seeds. Listed as a Category I invasive species by Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.
Evergreen, multibranched shrub or small tree to 10 m (30 ft) tall, usually shrub size in Florida; young stems often with red hairs and dark red new foliage. Leaves opposite, simple, short petioled, oval to lance shaped, 2.5-8 cm (1-3 in) long, shiny dark green above, paler below; margins entire. Flowers white, fragrant, about 13 mm (0.5 in) across, with many stamens; occurring solitary or in clusters of 2 or 3 at leaf axils. Fruit a fleshy, juicy, orange-red berry to 4 cm (1.5 in) wide, depressed-globose, conspicuously 8-ribbed, with 1-3 seeds.
Differs from native Eugenia spp. (stoppers) by having relatively larger fruit and at least some flowers solitary at the leaf axils. Leaves have a distinct odor when crushed.
Introduced for ornament and edible fruit before 1931. Widely planted in central and south Florida, especially for hedges.
Central and south Florida.
Do not plant. Remove plant and root system by hand.