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Eugenia axillaris White Stopper

Edward F. Gilman, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen


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.

Leaf - Eugenia axillaris: White Stopper
Figure 1. Leaf - Eugenia axillaris: White Stopper
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

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 (Figure 2)

Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round

Origin: native to Florida

Invasive potential: not known to be invasive

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

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2. 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

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.

Publication #FPS199

Release Date:October 24, 2023

Related Collections

Part of Shrubs Fact Sheets

Related Topics

  • Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is FPS199, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised October 2023. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Gail Hansen, professor, sustainable landscape design; Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.



  • Gail Hansen de Chapman