Native Plant of the Month : Acmena Smithii

Most popular of the Lilly Pilly family - and native to this region!

The Acmena Smithii will tolerate a wide range of conditions.

Acmena Smithii  grow in full sun through to light shade and withstand mild frost, wind, heat and drought. They thrive in almost any soil including heavy wet and occasionally waterlogged soils. The flowers are creamy white, small and numerous in bunches, attracting many insects and native bees, while the abundant white to deep-red decorative berries attract a wide range of rainforest pigeons and parrots.

An excellent tree for horticultural applications.

There are two forms of this plant available at the Landcare nursery; the oval leaf form pictured above and the narrow leaved form which is equally as versatile. Unpruned this tree grows in an upright oval shape with a thick tight canopy and reasonably low branching making it a stunning specimen small tree. As a hedge for privacy it is second to none. Plant your trees at a 1 metre spacing, keep free of grass and weeds around base and fertilise regularly and irrigate when dry. Acmena Smithii have deep green, dense, fine foliage and copper red new growth and can grow two or more metres per year once established. They love to be clipped and shaped.  The trunk and roots only grow to serve the needs of the crown of the tree, so the trunk and root system will remain small, while the tree is being kept small by regular trimming. This trait makes them excellent for tub culture as well.

Psyllids are the only pest that attack Lilly Pillys in general. Fortunately, Acmena Smithii is a resistant strain. Psyllids cause little pimple-like blisters on the newly formed leaves, and the damage they cause is usually only cosmetic. Spray with a foliage insecticide if attacks occur.

Great substitute for some known weeds

Acmena Smithii make a great substitute for the weeds MurrayaMickey Mouse Plant (Ochna) and Indian Hawthorn. These three weeds make up the bulk of the seedlings of “garden escapes” that we regularly remove from our bushland sites. Take photo evidence of the removal of these weeds to the local landcare community nursery and receive three free Acmena Smithii.

Did you know?

Port Macquarie Landcare Group has a weed swap program.  Read more about it and where you can find the community nursery, in our article “Local Landcare: Community weed swap program”

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