Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Acmena smithii (Poir.) Merr. & L.M.Perry

Frost-tender, rounded, bushy tree with ovate to lance-shaped, glossy dark green leaves and terminal panicles of greenish-white flowers in spring and summer, followed by edible, white, pink, or red-purple berries, ripening in autumn.  To 15m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Beadle, FNSW].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Acmena smithii was introduced to Britain in 1790 by Sir Joseph Banks.  Curtis’s Botanical Magazine figured the variety Acmena smithii eliptica.  [BM t.1872/1816].  ‘However beautiful and striking this plant [Acmena floribunda] (native of New South Wales) may be, loaded, too, as our tree, above twenty feet high, is, with its charming clusters of bright purple berries, its flowers are quite unattractive, and perhaps amongst the smallest and inconspicuous of all the Myrtle tribe.  These flowers appear, like those of many other Australian trees and shrubs, in the winter season, and the berries succeed them in the early spring, causing the extremities of the slender branches to bend down by their weight.  The tree is too large, however, for successful cultivation in an ordinary greenhouse, but well suited to our winter garden.  De Candolle, I think with justice, refers Sir James Smith’s Eugenia elliptica to this species, considering it a variety with white berries and broader foliage, depending on the paler or almost white colour of the berries.  This Eugenia elliptica is figured by Sims in the ‘Botanical Magazine,’ 1. c.; but the figure does not do justice to the species, and is destitute of flowers, while, on the other hand, the fruit was unknown to Ventenat, who has well represented a flowering specimen.’  [BM t.5480/1864].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.19/1843].


The Lillypilly is an Australian bush food of some economic importance. 

Published Feb 16, 2009 - 03:35 PM | Last updated Jul 28, 2010 - 01:55 PM

The image depicts glossy leaves, small white flowers and red fruits.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.5480, 1864.

Acmena smithii (Poir.) Merr. & L.M.Perry | BM t.5480/1864 | BHL

Family Myrtaceae
Region of origin

Eastern Australia

  • Metrosideros floribunda Sm.
  • Acmena floribunda (Sm.) DC.
  • Angophora floribunda (Sm.) Sweet
  • Eugenia smithii Poir.
Common Name


Name in the Camden Park Record

Acmena floribunda 

Confidence level high