Surinam Cherry

Surinam cherry berries
©Ann Murrary, UF/IFAS
Big red button that reads Invasive, No Uses

In South Florida: Invasive and not recommended by IFAS. Will be reassessed every 10 years. Specified and limited uses may be considered by the IFAS Invasive Plants Working Group. In Central and North Florida: Caution — manage to prevent escape. May be recommended by IFAS. Will be reassessed in two years.

Surinam cherry, or pitanga, is an evergreen shrub or small tree that’s known for its attractive fruits, which look like glossy, bite-sized pumpkins.

For many years Surinam cherry was a favorite plant for Florida gardens. However, it’s now considered an invasive plant here in Florida, because it moves into wild areas and displaces native plant species.

Surinam cherry is more of a problem in South Florida, but it’s important that all Floridians be aware of invasive plants.

South Florida homeowners should no longer plant Surinam cherry. If you have any shrubs in your yard, consider removing them to help curb their spread. If you live in Central or North Florida you can plant it, but it would be better to choose an alternate plant that’s Florida-Friendly.

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