Friday, November 1, 2019

Eugenia (Stoppers) - Eugenia

The genus Eugenia  (Stoppers) - Eugenia is made up of approximately 1000 species distributed throughout the tropics worldwide.  Only six species occur in North America.  Four of these species are considered to be native and 5 are found only in the far South-Eastern portion of the United States.  The five species found in North America are Eugenia axillaris, Eugenia foetida, Eugenia confusa, Eugenia uniflora, and Eugenia rhombea.  The Eugenia/Stoppers are evergreen shrubs or trees with opposite, simply shaped, leathery leaves.  The flowers are generally bisexual with 4 petals and 4 sepals each, they can be found clustered or individually depending on the species.  The fruit is in the form of a rounded berry with either 1 or 2 seeds, the top of each berry appears to have a crown shape from the remains of the calyx. 

Image Citation (Eugenia brasiliensis fruit) Cesar Calderon, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

The White Stopper - Eugenis axillaris, is most easily identified by the combination of opposite leaves with an acute tip and dotted underside, short fruit  and flower stalks.  It is native to the coastal hammocks from North Carolina through the Florida Keys.  The White Stopper is considered to be the most common Stopper in Florida.

The Boxleaf Stopper - Eugenis foetida, is most easily identified by the combination of opposite, oblanceolate or obvate leaves with rounded tips and tapering bases.  It is native to the sub tropical hammocks, pinelands or where lime stone is present in Southern Florida.  This species is found on a widespread basis in the tropics and actually reaches much larger sizes outside of the United States.  I is one of the more commonly found Stoppers in Florida, but not as widespread as the White Stopper.

The Redberry Stopper - Eugenia confusa, is most easily identified by the combination of bright red fruit and opposite, long-pointed leaves with drooping tips.  It is native to sub tropical hammocks and is considered a endangered species in Southern Florida due to it's rarity.  It is more commonly found growing in the West Indies where it is also native.

The Red Stopper - Eugenia rhombea, is most eaily identified by the combination of dull green opposite leaves and red to orange berries that become black when mature.  It is native to hammocks in Southern Florida and the Keys, where it is also considered an endagered species due to it's rarity and limited numbers.  

The Surinam Cherry - Eugenia uniflora, is most easily identified by the combination of short petioles, ribbed red fruit and opposite leaves under 7 cm in length.  It is not native but introduced into the hammocks of South Florida.  This species is considered to be invasive in habit and is listed as an invasive species throughout Southern Florida.

Image Citation (Surinam Cherry):Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org

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