Lillipilli

Lillipilli, fruits health, dailyfruits.blogspot.com
This is about lillipilli fruit. Numerous from rainforest species to dry forest. The genus comprises about 1100 species. 

Kingdom: Plantae ; unranked: Angiosperms; unranked: Eudicots ; unranked: Rosids; Order: Myrtales ; Family: Myrtaceae ; Genus: Syzygium

Latin Name:
  • Acmena smithii (Eugenia smithii) -= most suitable for cooler climate
  • Syzygium luehmannii (Red Lilly Pilly, Riberry) - most commercial
  • Syzygium oleosum (Blue Lilly Pilly),
  • Syzygium australe, commonly called Brush Cherry or Scrub Cherry.
  • Syzygium fribrosum is a rainforest tree native to monsoon forests of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia.
  • Syzygium anisatum (formerly Backhousia anisata and Anetholea anisata), ringwood or aniseed tree is a rare Australian rainforest tree with an aromatic leaf that has an essential oil profile comparable to true aniseed.
  • Syzygium suborbiculare, the red bush apple, is a small understorey tree native to open forests and woodland of northern Australia and Papua New Guinea.
  • Syzygium paniculatum - the magenta lillipilli (syn. Eugenia paniculata), also known by the common name magenta cherry, is a broad dense bushy rainforest tree native to New South Wales. It grows to a height of 15 m with trunk diameter up to 35 cm. Leaves are 3-9 cm long, opposite, simple and slightly obovate, tapering at the leaf base. The leaves are dark glossy above, and paler below. White flowers are produced in clusters. The edible fruit is usually magenta, but can be white, pink or purple.

It is commonly cultivated in eastern Australia and elsewhere. Well known as an edible wild fruit with a pleasantly sour apple like flavor. It is eaten fresh or cooked into jams.

Common:
Common names include Riberry, Small Leaved Lilli Pilli, Cherry Satinash, Cherry Alder, or Clove Lilli Pilli.

Origin:
Range extends from Africa and Madagascar through southern Asia east through the Pacific. Its highest levels of diversity occur from Malaysia to northeastern Australia, where many species are very poorly known and many more have not been described taxonomically.

Distribution:
The habitat is Australian riverine, littoral, subtropical or tropical rainforest. It grows on volcanic soils or deep sandy soils between the Macleay River in New South Wales to near Cairns in tropical Queensland. It is commonly grown as an ornamental tree, and for its fruit, known as a Riberry.

Anecdotal:
Syzygium is a genus of flowering plants that belongs to the myrtle family, Myrtaceae.

Due to their widespread distribution in coastal areas they may be considered a valuable famine food if other food sources are not readily available.

The lovely, lilting name of Lilly Pilly is a lot easier to get your mouth round than the proper name of Syzygium (try saying that one fast!). There are over 60 different species of Syzygium in Australia and the other popular name given to them is Riberry. The fruit varies immensely from one species to the next. The sweetest is from the Magenta Lilly Pilly (Syzygium paniculatum) but the most popular for commercial use is Syzygium luehmannii (this is the proper Riberry). This is a fairly tart little creature but it bears a large fruit and has even managed to come up with a seedless variety which is now used extensively in production of jams, jellies, cordials, etc. What do you do with a lillipilli? Just about anything you want. Pucker up and eat them straight from the tree.

It's related to the clove and there are over 60 varieties of edible Lilly Pilly ranging from the very bland to the highly fragrant. Riberry, Small Leaf Lilly Pilly and Cherry Alder.

Appearance:
Small to medium tree. Evergreen, pyramidal tree 5- 30 meters tall. In its natural environment can be a large forest tree but under cultivation tree rarely grows to more than 10m.

Occasionally reaching 30 meters in height and a 90 cm in trunk diameter. The tree's crown is dense with small leaves, above a tall straight trunk. Large trees are buttressed at the base. The bark is red brown, light grey or pinkish grey with soft papery scales.

The small, glossy, lance-shaped leaves are pink/red when young. They are opposite, simple, entire, lanceolate to ovate. 4 to 5 cm long drawn out to a long prominent point. Leaf stalks 2 to 3 mm long.

Flowers form in November or December. They are in small panicles at the ends of branchlets, half the length of the leaves or less. The white or cream petals form in fours or fives, 1.5 mm long. Stamens 2 to 5 mm long.

Taste:
The berry has a tart, cranberry-like flavor, that has a hint of cloves. It has been popular as a gourmet bushfood since the early 1980’s, and is commercially cultivated on a small-scale basis. A combination of cardamon and ginger with backtones of clove, lime and pine.

The good flavored variants tended to have higher amounts of certain isolates (essentail oil components), like myrcene (occurs in bay leaves), pinene (occurs in pine trees), ocimene (occurs in brazilian cherries), limone (occurs in citrus, especially lemons), and phillandrene (occurs in ginger), and many other many others as well. And the complexity of essential components reflects the complexity of riberry's flavour. (unlike lemon myrtle with its single citral note).

It's was also interesting to compare the good flavored riberry with the poorer flavord riberries. The more resinous flavored riberries, which don't taste that good, seemed to be higher in phillandrene, and didn't have most of the other components. There was also a Eucalyptus flavored chemotype (containing high cineole levels), which is ok,but no where near as interesting as the classic riberry flavor.

There maybe some reasonable riberry selections being grown in bushfood orchards, but I haven't seen any recent selections that I could say are outstanding varieties from a flavor point-of-view. (I'm sure there must be people out there growing good flavored riberry orchards that i don't know about. )

Eat alone with:
Fruits are not always palatable alone and are best used in conjunction with other foods, tending to aromatic ingredients.

Eat with:
Can be made into pastes, added to curries, stews, ice creams, a baste for meats, served with cheeses.

Other Uses:
The fruit is most commonly used to make a distinctively flavored jam, and is also used in sauces, syrups and confectionery.

Can be used with sugar syrup to make glace lillipilli (riberry). Suitable for use with chocolates.

For fruit-type flavor in sweet and savory products. Whole fruit can be blended for use in ice cream, chocolates and sauces for meat dishes. The red color pales to pink on cooking.

Put them in vinegar for a very elegant dressing. Jam them, jelly them or cordial them (they make a highly refreshing summer drink). Use them in chutneys, meat sauces, fruit salads, salsa...just about any dish which comes alive with a touch of tartness is fair game for the common Lillipilli.

Can make Lilly Pilly Vinegar.

Fruiting:
Small (1 cm) pink-white berry. Appear in clusters from second year and older wood. An unusual factor of this tree is cauliflory. Where flower and fruit form on the main stems or woody trunks rather than from new growth and shoots.

The fruit matures from December to February, being a pear shaped red berry, known as a Riberry, growing to 13 mm long, covering a single seed, 4 mm in diameter.

Growing:
Use in a food forest environment.

Propagation:
Seed germination is unreliable, complete after 25 days, however cuttings strike readily. Plant in well-drained soil. Keep the soil at 65-80F and shelter young plants from cold and direct sunlight. Seed preparation of Syzygiums, Acmena's and all those other lillipilli plants, just pretend you are the bird. I mean dont go and eat it etc etc...but remove all the flesh and soak. Most germinate within 6 weeks of sowing depending on the time of year.

Pollination:
Self or cross (uncertain)

Flowers:
Flowers are small and fluffy, with a creamy white color. Flowering is generally in Spring, and is followed by large bunches of the fruit which ripen a couple of months later. Fruits attract many kinds of birds.

Seeds:
Single seed. Seeds should be planted fresh as they don't store well.

Cuttings:
Will grow from cuttings.

Growth Habit:
Small to medium tree. Evergreen, pyramidal tree 5- 30 metres tall. In its natural environment can be a large forest tree but under cultivation tree rarely grows to more than 10m.

Occasionally reaching 30 meters in height and a 90 cm in trunk diameter. The tree's crown is dense with small leaves, above a tall straight trunk. Large trees are buttressed at the base. The bark is red brown, light grey or pinkish grey with soft papery scales.

The small, glossy, lance-shaped leaves are pink/red when young. They are opposite, simple, entire, lanceolate to ovate. 4 to 5 cm long drawn out to a long prominent point. Leaf stalks 2 to 3 mm long.

Pruning:
Can be pruned to assist commercial handling.

Soil:
Prefers rich, moist but will tolerate sandy loam.

Aspect:
The lillipilli is fairly hardy. Grows naturally in a sub-tropical climate. However they can tolerate quite low temperatures in winter and mild frost, particularly after establishment. No damage has been shown to occur with temperatures as low as 0°C. High summer temperatures, whilst flowering and particularly fruiting, can be a problem.

Establishing any lillipilli under a reasonably dense evergreen canopy is the key to getting them survive to maturity in a cold temperate climate - as lillipilli are sensitive to heavy frosts (especially below about minus 4 C degrees) when young and exposed.

A mate told me that he saw a mature riberry lillipilli  (Syzygium leuhamannii) growing on the New England University grounds at Armidale.

That's really something.

Certainly to grow riberry or blue lillipilli on the New England Tablelands would require that under canopy shelter, tree guards, plus trunk wrapping when the trees are young, and consider covering trees on very cold nights with some hession. Also, retain your lower branches to provide air insulation (i.e. don't prune off as the tree grows).

All-up, it won't be easy to get lillipilli's to establish in a cold clime like Glenn Innes - but not impossible if frost protected at least until maturity (4 plus meters).

It would also help if you are on a hill, and not in a frost hollow.

Diseases:
Some sooty moulds cited.

Pests:
Fruit are eaten by birds.

Insects:
The flowers tend to attract a wide range of foraging insects.

Nutrition:
None cited.

Ethnomedicinal:
None cited. A relative to Cloves

Medical Warnings:
None given.