Acmena smithii

Acmena smithii

Common name: Lily Pilli

I grow best: Shrub to tree up to 3m-5m
• Attracts birds, native bees and invertebrate creators
• Flowers spring, summer
• Well drained or sandy soils
• Cultural uses
• Eastern Suburb Banksia Scrub

Looks like:  Acmena smithii is a compact, fast growing shrub to small tree with pink new foliage growth, cream to white flowers and white to dark red or purple berries in summer. It has a naturally dense growth habitat which responds beautifully to pruning, making it a great hedge and topiary plant. It grows around 3 to 5 metres, depending on the variety. It is generally a good easy care plant. Tolerates a wide range of soils, but prefers a moist well drained soil. Does well in sunny to fully shaded positions. Rarely troubled by pests or diseases, and is generally resistant to psyllids, though aphids and sooty mould can become a problem at times.

Habitat & Growing: It is common in the bushland surrounding Sydney and occurs from southern Queensland down the East coast into Tasmania. It grows in mostly subtropical soils and is often found close to watercourses. It is a great habitat plant for the wildlife, it is super hardy, can tolerate most soil types, is frost tolerant and very drought resistant once established. Ideally choose a sunny position which has some protection from hard frosts or biting cold winds. Lilly pillies are tough when established but young plants will benefit from a little shelter. Improve the soil with organic compost and manure and if planting into heavy clay apply some gypsum as well. Larger lilly pilly types (trees and big shrubs) tend to naturally produce a nice shape and usually don’t need pruning unless you want to restrict their height or size. Smaller growing shrubs and potted specimens will respond well to tip pruning to encourage bushy growth.


Traditional uses: Fruit can be eaten straight from the tree and they are sweet and juicy. This fruit features widely in traditional Aboriginal medicine, used as a treatment for sore ears, wounds and skin conditions, and generally consumed as an immune system booster with high levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium and potassium.