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Red stopper
Eugenia rhombea

Copyright by: George D. Gann

General Landscape Uses: Accent shrub or small tree. Buffer plantings.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A very rare understory shrub in rockland hammocks in the Florida Keys. Rarely are more than 2 or 3 plants found growing together. Associated with primary or very old seconday hammocks.

Availability: Widely cultivated. Available in Lake Worth at Amelia's SmartyPlants (561-540-6296).

Description: Large shrub or rarely a small tree with an erect trunk(s) and a narrow, rounded crown. Trunks straight, sometimes multiple from the base, to 20 inches in diameter, but usually much smaller. Bark thin, light gray, mostly smooth. Leaves dark green, 1-2 inches long.

Dimensions: About 8-12 feet in height. Usually taller than broad.

Growth Rate: Slow.

Range: Monroe County Keys and Miami-Dade County; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Very rare nearly throughout the Monroe County Keys. In Miami-Dade County, not known from the mainland; known only from the Florida Keys in and around Elliott Key in Biscayne National Park. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Rockland hammocks.

Soils: Moist, well-drained limestone soils, with humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.

Drought Tolerance: Moderate; generally requires moist soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.

Light Requirements: Light shade.

Flower Color: White.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy.

Flowering Season: All year; peak in summer.

Fruit: Orange-black berry, turning black.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides food and cover for wildlife. Birds eat the fruits.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from de-pulped seed. Place in light shade. Germination usually occurs within 1 month.

Comments: It is listed as endangered by the state of Florida and as critically imperiled in South Florida by The Institute for Regional Conservation.

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Other data on Eugenia rhombea available from:

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