Saturday, December 19, 2015

Homage to Syzygium paniculatum aka Eugenia

Megalithic thumbs of Eugenia, seen and yes, admired at the Huntington.  New growth is bronze-red, maturing to deep green. 
Some Eugenia Psyllid (Trioza eugeniae) damage, but it isn't overly noticeable.
 

For decades, the go-to plant in Southern California for privacy hedging.  Unclipped, untopped, a billowy 30'-50' (9 - 15 meter) tree.  It can be sheared into an 18" (45 cm) wide, dense screen of any height;  the plants will sprout new growth from bare wood. 
 The sad story of the Eugenia psyllid here.  Ours show only minor damage, but have a way to go to compare with the beauties above. 
Our young unsheared hedge, behind the house:
Well established plants can forgo summer water, if winter rains are good.  Ours lived on grey water from the washing machine all summer long, and were the happier for it.  

A local example, likely planted in the 1970's, still screening like a champ:
Syzygium australe, sheared photo apitty2468_zps452ade90.jpg
Cloud-pruned, in front of an Eichler:


My all time favorite treatment, sheared as a pair of...floor lamps?
 photo tur3768.jpg 
Versatile, you must admit.  If I had the space, I'd grow and clip myself a Syzygium Stonehenge.

14 comments:

  1. Yes, it is recovering nicely, and, if you let it go, it has billows of fluffy whitish flowers followed by the most amazingly colored fruit, sort of a pleasant pinkish-magenta, but very difficult to photograph because they are so high up.

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    1. Flowers beloved by bees, fruit by birds, and dense foliage beloved by birds for nesting--so many things to love!

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  2. Pruning and shaping isn't usually my thing, but in the right shape and size these are amazing! In my garden (if I lived in the right climate) I'd want something tall and boxy.

    (My great-aunt was named "Eugenia" but I didn't learn that until she died. She always went by "Virginia".)

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  3. What a wonderfully versatile shrub. I bet the "sprouts from bare wood" part makes it especially appealing.

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    1. Yes, it is like So Cal's version of Yew, a plant of virtue in PNW and the UK that doesn't like our long dry hot summers.

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  4. Makes a very serviceable jam or jelly, as well, and I've stained wood using the skins. Doesn't result in the deepest, richest of pinks, like beet juice, but a nice little hint of fuchsia.

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    1. A hint of subtle color is an elegant thing.

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  5. I don't much care for manicured shrubs but I do like that cloud-pruned Eugenia. I wonder if there's a story behind the floor lamps?

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    1. If there isn't a story, there should be. :)

      A sheared shrub provides architectural form midst more nebulous shapes like salvias; Agaves do the same thing, without the shearing.

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  6. I like your softly-billowing-but-still-vertical Eugenias more than any of the clipped ones -- though the lamps are hilarious. I'm guessing the fauna would vote with me on that.

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    1. Nesting site is nesting site, especially near a feeder full of sugar water.

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  7. a megalithic thumb's down, not up, on the eugenia here. The psyllid had its way for too long with the hedge we inherited. Some people are born clippers, some aren't -- I'm solidly in the latter camp. We replaced the eugenia with box, which I get around to trimming maybe twice a year. Clipping the box and creeping fig on the back wall are probably the only tasks I really despise doing. Bravo to all the cloud pruners out there!

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