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Eugenia axillaris White Stopper1

Edward F. Gilman 2


White stopper is well known for its interesting, earthy fragrance. These evergreen small trees or large shrubs grow to about 25 feet and serve many purposes in the landscape. They are native to sandy coastal areas. The small, opposite leaves emerge bright red, turning a medium green several weeks later. White or cream-yellow flowers have numerous, showy, yellow stamens. These flowers occur in axillary clusters during the warm months, but they abscise quickly. The edible fruits are drupe-like, juicy berries that are globose or pear-shaped and very showy.

General Information

Pronunciation: yoo-JEE-nee-uh ack-sil-LAIR-riss
Common name(s): white stopper
Family: Myrtaceae
Plant type: tree
USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Fig. 1)
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: residential street tree; near a deck or patio; superior hedge; small parking lot islands (< 100 square feet in size); medium-sized parking lot islands (100-200 square feet in size); large parking lot islands (> 200 square feet in size); narrow tree lawns (3-4 feet wide); medium-sized tree lawns (4-6 feet wide); wide tree lawns (>6 feet wide); recommended for buffer strips around parking lots or for median strip plantings in the highway; screen
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Figure 1. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 1.  Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 15 to 25 feet
Spread: 8 to 15 feet
Plant habit: oval; irregular outline or silhouette
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: elliptic (oval)
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: yellow
Flower characteristic: summer flowering


Fruit shape: globose
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit cover: fleshy
Fruit color: red; black
Fruit characteristic: suited for human consumption

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: showy; no thorns
Current year stem/twig color: brown
Current year stem/twig thickness: thin


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; alkaline; sand; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: usually not a problem
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

Stoppers may be used in the landscape as hedges, borders, accents, or screens. They are excellent for confined soil spaces due to their small size. They can be used as foundation plantings if regularly clipped. Eugenia species are also exceptional understory shrubs or small trees and make interesting specimen plants due to the showy trunk structure. They maintain a nice canopy in a shaded landscape. Remove lower branches to develop a nice small, multi-trunked tree.

Stoppers grow well in a variety of light levels and they tolerate different types of well-drained soils. These plants are salt and drought tolerant.

Stoppers are easily propagated by seed.

Pests and Diseases

Stoppers are bothered by chewing insects, caterpillars, and scale.


1. This document is FPS199, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #FPS199

Date: 5/26/2015

      Organism ID


      • Gail Hansen de Chapman