Brush Cherry

Also known as:
Purple Monkey Apple

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.

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.

Similar species

monkey apple
Syzygium smithii

Monkey apple's fruit are white to pale pink in colour. Otherwise the plants are very similar. Monkey apple is a more common plant.

tree privet
Ligustrum lucidum

The new leaves of tree privet lack the reddish colour that brush cherry has. Tree privet berries are black.

Search tags

RPMP status

Not a legally declared pest plant
Brush cherry - Main species image