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Eugenia rhombea Red Stopper, Spiceberry

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


Red stopper grows in south Florida on limestone soils in coastal uplands as an understory tree. However, it is perfectly adapted to more open, sunny locations where it will flourish with little care once it becomes established. Several stems arise from the lower part of the tree forming a multiple trunked tree well adapted for many landscapes. Older trees grow to about 20 feet tall and wide.

Full Form - Eugenia rhombea: Red Stopper, Spiceberry
Figure 1. Full Form - Eugenia rhombea: Red Stopper, Spiceberry
Credit: Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS


Leaf and Flower - Eugenia rhombea: Red Stopper, Spiceberry
Figure 2. Leaf and Flower - Eugenia rhombea: Red Stopper, Spiceberry
Credit: Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Eugenia rhombea

Pronunciation: yoo-JEE-nee-uh ROM-bee-uh

Common name(s): red stopper, spiceberry

Family: Myrtaceae

Plant type: tree

USDA hardiness zones: 10B through 11 (Figure 3)

Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round

Origin: native to Florida

Invasive potential: not known to be invasive

Uses: trained as a standard; hedge; near a deck or patio; 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: grown in small quantities by a small number of nurseries

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 3. Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 15 to 20 feet

Spread: 10 to 15 feet

Plant habit: oval

Plant density: moderate

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: entire

Leaf shape: ovate

Leaf venation: none, or difficult to see

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: white

Flower characteristic: year-round flowering


Fruit shape: round

Fruit length: less than .5 inch

Fruit cover: fleshy

Fruit color: red; black

Fruit characteristic: suited for human consumption; attracts birds

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

The smooth, brown to grey, mottled bark and tight canopy of fine-textured leaves makes red stopper well suited for planting as a specimen in any yard. Trees can be trained in the nursery to one central trunk or allowed and encouraged to develop multiple trunks. They create shade for a patio or deck, but will not grow to the large, often overpowering size of a large tree such as a fig. They are often used along streets, in highway medians and in parking lots because they adapt to small soil spaces and do not become very large. Street and parking lot trees are often specified to have one trunk to allow for vehicle clearance beneath the crown. Multiple trunked trees are often specified for specimen planting.

Pest and Diseases

There are no major problems growing this tree.

Publication #FPS-201

Release Date:October 18, 2023

Related Collections

Part of Shrubs Fact Sheets

Related Topics

  • Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is FPS-201, 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