Edward F. Gilman
1. This document is FPS-200, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999.
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticultue Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.
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U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County
Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.
Spanish stopper grows in south Florida on limestone soils
in hardwood hammocks as an under story tree. However,
it is perfectly adapted to more open, sunny locations where
it will flourish with little care once it becomes established.
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
Scientific name: Eugenia foetida
Pronunciation: yoo-JEE-nee-uh FET-tid-uh
Common name(s): Spanish stopper, boxleaf stopper
Plant type: tree
USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: residential street tree; near a deck or patio; superior
hedge; 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); recom-
mended for buffer strips around parking lots or for median
strip plantings in the highway; screen
region to find the plant
Figure 1. Eugenia foetida Spanish stopper.
Credits: Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS
Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Eugenia foetida Spanish Stopper
features and could be planted more
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 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 so the beautiful bark can be displayed. Plants are
adapted to most soils from acidic to alkaline.
Once they are established in the landscape, they require
There are no major problems growing this tree.