Syzygium australe

Brush cherry

Also known as:

Purple monkey apple

Family: Myrtaceae

Origin: Australia

Close up of the brush cherry tree with clusters of bright purple berries.
Oval purple berry-like fruit each containing a large seed.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Not a legally declared pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Large shrub or small tree < 12 m tall. Leaves are < 3.5 x 10 cm, glossy, green, oval and pointed. Flowers are white with prominent stamens and are borne in clusters of < 25 in January-July. Fruit is < 20 x 15 mm, purple, glossy and contains one seed.

What you need to know

Although brush cherry is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.


Open forest, scrub, riparian margins, pine plantations, urban areas, roadsides.


Seeds dispersed by birds and soil movement.

Impact on environment

May outcompete and displace native plants.


Site management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel.

Basic Growsafe certified: Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 1g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Drill and inject trees with 10g metsulfuron-methyl per 1L of water if safe to do so. Drill 18mm holes (tangentially angled downwards) in a spiral up the trunk. For 50mm stems drill one hole.

For 100mm stems drill two holes. For larger stems drill holes 150mm apart.

Foliar spray seedlings with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant

Safety notes

Large trees must not be drilled that are closer than 1.5 times the height of the tree from paths, walkways and property.

Trees over 4 metres in height should be removed by a qualified arborist.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

A tall tree of brush cherry.
Brush cherry is a large shrub or small tree to about 12m high, it has light grey smooth bark.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
A young brush cherry tree.
The seeds are dispersed by birds.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
A more distant image of the brush cherry tree.
Brush cherry trees can grow up to 12 m tall and are also know as purple monkey apple trees.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
A hand holding a branch of brush cherry with white fluffy flowers and small hard seeds.
Flowers are white and form in clusters.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow