Fps-200 Eugenia foetida Spanish Stopper, Boxleaf Stopper 1

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Eugenia foetida Spanish Stopper, Boxleaf Stopper


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. 

Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at 



2.  Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticultue Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to 

individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national 

origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county’s UF/IFAS Extension office.

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 

many landscapes.

General Information

Scientific name: Eugenia foetida

Pronunciation: yoo-JEE-nee-uh FET-tid-uh

Common name(s): Spanish stopper, boxleaf stopper

Family: Myrtaceae

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

Availablity: somewhat available, may have to go out of the 

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


Height: 12 to 20 feet

Spread: 8 to 15 feet

Plant habit: vase shape; oval

Plant density: moderate

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: entire

Leaf shape: elliptic (oval)

Leaf venation: none, or difficult to see

Leaf type and persistence: evergreen

Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: no fall color change

Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: white

Flower characteristic: summer flowering


Fruit shape: round

Fruit length: less than .5 inch

Fruit cover: fleshy

Fruit color: red; black

Fruit characteristic: suited for human consumption; 

attracts birds

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: showy; no thorns

Current year stem/twig color: reddish

Current year stem/twig thickness: thin


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun

Soil tolerances: acidic; alkaline; sand; loam; clay

Drought tolerance: high

Soil salt tolerances: unknown

Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: usually not a problem

Winter interest: no special winter interest

Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental 

features and could be planted more

Invasive potential: not known to be invasive

Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the 


Use and Management

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 

little care.

Pest and Diseases

There are no major problems growing this tree.

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