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Eugenia foetida,
Boxleaf or Spanish Stopper

Spanish Stopper grows in south Florida on limestone soils in hardwood hammocks 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. Plants are adapted to most soils from acidic to alkaline. Once they are established in the landscape, they require little care. Reddish twigs bear tiny green leaves and berries less than 1/4 inch diameter. Several stems arise from the lower part of the tree forming a multiple trunked tree well adapted for many landscapes.

The smooth, brown to grey, mottled bark and tight canopy of fine-textured leaves makes Spanish Stopper well suited for planting as a specimen in any yard. Old bark exfoliates showing fresh, smooth orange bark below. It is commonly used as a hedge due to the small leaves and branchiness. 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 can be 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 should specified to have one trunk to allow for vehicle clearance beneath the crown. Multiple trunked trees are often specified for specimen planting so the beautiful bark can be displayed.

Be sure to clear all turf away from beneath the branches to reduce competition with turf. Remove some branches so they will not touch each other. Remove some secondary branches from main branches (especially those toward the end of the main branches) if main branches have included bark. This reduces the likelihood of main branches splitting from the tree later when it has grown to become an important part of the landscape. Locate the tree properly, taking into account the ultimate size since the tree looks best if it is not pruned to control size. The tree can enhance any landscape with its delightful spring flush of foliage. It can be the centerpiece of your landscape if properly located.

Occur from Stuart to Key West and Sanibel Florida.

Spanish Stopper Photos

Boxleaf or Spanish Stopper

Boxleaf or Spanish StopperTrunk

Boxleaf or Spanish Stopper Leaves

Boxleaf or Spanish Stopper Berries

Additional Information