Acmena ingens (MYRTACEAE) Red Apple

Plants to Plant

Medium to tall dense tree to 30 m. Smooth to flaky bark; young branchlets reddish. From northern NSW to Gympie on basalt and higher fertility soils. Features a large spreading crown, the trunk in older specimens can be buttressed. Acmena ingenues is found on the higher slopes of Brisbane Forest Park, and is therefore in our list of Enoggera species, but would probably not be found in the riparian areas lower down. Adapts to full sun and to cooler climates and has a good pyramid shape for a feature tree. Was formerly Acmena australis.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Leaves and New Growth

This tree is attractive to fruit eating birds and other wildlife. New growth can be pink, reddish or pale green. Younger trees are shaped like a pyramid, then the crown spreads as the tree ages. Leaves narrow-elliptic to oblong, smooth, upper surface darker and glossy, lower surface paler. The many lateral veins and the intramarginal veins are distinct. The showy flowers are white-cream in terminal panicles.
Photo: Robert Whyte

In The Garden

In the garden Red Apple is an attractive, fast growing tree even in cooler climates. It adapts to full sun, but may not become as large as it does in the wild. Other common names include Cobun-bun, Southern Satinash, Watergum, Wild Cherry and Cherry. The intramarginal vein and the wavy edges are distinct features of the leaves, as is the colour contrast between the upper and lower sides of the leaf.
Leaves underside. Photo: Robert Whyte


Fruit spherical to egg-shaped to 4 cm, pink turning dark red. Edible (but not very tasty) produced mostly in winter, but can occur at other times. Acmena from Greek Acmenae the nymphs of Venus who were very beautiful, referring to the attractive flowers and fruits. A second source says that Acmena was a nymph dedicated to Venus. This derivation seems the most likely. Finally another source says that the name is derived from the Latin Acmena one of the names of the goddess Venus. Ingens from Latin ingens, of immoderate size, vast, huge, prodigious, enormous, great, or remarkable, referring to the great size of mature trees of this species.
Photo: Robert Whyte

Host Plant

Host plant for Common Red-eye or Eastern Dusk-flat Chaetocneme beata and Eastern or Bronze Flat Netrocoryne repanda repanda butterflies.
Leaves. Photo: Robert Whyte