Eugenia reinwardtiana

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Nīoi

Hawaiian Names

  • Nioi

Common Names

  • Beach cherry
  • Cedar Bay cherry
  • Reinwardt's cherry

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Shrub
  • Tree

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Shrub, Small, 2 to 6
  • Shrub, Medium, 6 to 10
  • Shrub, Tall, Greater than 10
  • Tree, Small, 15 to 30

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Hedges
  • Screening
  • Specimen Plant

Additional Landscape Use Information

Nīoi are beautiful medium to slow growing shrubs or small trees that can used as a focal or an accent plant in the landscape.

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Colors

  • Cream
  • White

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Fine

Leaf Colors

  • Dark Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Black twig borer. Trim off pieces infested by black twig borer, wrap in a plastic bag, and dispose of or completely destroy right away.

Nioi is highly susceptible to attacks by the bright yellow ʻōhiʻa, or guava, rust (Puccinia psidii) especially in wet environments or during the rainy season. It is usually a seasonal pest. But this aggressive rust can be a serious problem during the wetter periods if action is not taken right away. At the first sign of ohia rust, infected material can be carefully trimmed off, bagged securely, and disposed of. An untested suggestion is to put cut pieces in a bottle with a small amount of alcohol before disposing. Then, the plant and any others, including relatives (Metrosideros spp., Syzygium spp.), in the area should be treated with an appropriate fungicide immediately. [5]

Never add trimmings damaged by ʻōhiʻa rust or black twig borer to a compost pile. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

leaf Growth Requirements


A balanced fertilizer such as a 13-13-13 slow release with micro-nutrients every six months seems to suit young plants well. Older plants do not appear to need supplemental fertilizers.

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun


  • Wind
  • Salt Spray


  • Sand
  • Cinder
  • Organic

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Maui

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 150 to 1000, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 1000 to 1999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 1000 to 1999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 2000 to 2999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 2000 to 2999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

In the Hawaiian Islands, Eugenia reinwardtiana grows inland in dry to occasionally mesic forests from 590 to 2395 feet. [1]

The species is rare over much of its range in Hawaiʻi, but it is locally common in parts of the Waiʻanae Mountains on Oʻahu. [Joel Lau, Botanist]

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Nīoi (Eugenia reinwardtiana) belong to the Myrtle family or Myrtaceae with a current figure at over 5,650 species worldwide. [5] While this species is indigenous in the islands, a rarer species of nīoi or Koʻolau eugenia (Eugenia koolauensis) is endemic and has been placed on the endangered species list.

Other native Myrtaceae members include ʻŌhiʻa hā (Syzygium sandwicensis) and five endemic species of Metrosideros: Lehua ʻāhihi or ʻāhihi (M. tremuloides), lehua papa (M. rugosa), and three known by the name ʻōhiʻa (M. polymorpha, M. macropus and M. waialealae).

The non-native relatives, some of which have become naturalized and even highly invasive in Hawaiʻi, are numerous and host notables such as Surinam cherry (Eugenia uniflora), myrtle, clove, apple or common guava, strawberry guava or waiwī, allspice, eucalyptus, melaleuca or paper bark, bottlebrush (Callistemon), mountain apple or ʻōhia ʻai, rose apple, and Java plum--to name a few.


Eugenia is named for Prince Eugene (1663-1736) of Savoy, France.

The specific epithet reinwardtiana is named after Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt, Dutch botanist (1773-1854). [4]

The "Hawaiian" or bird chile pepper (Capsicum frutescens) also goes by the name nīoi, or nīoi pepa.

Background Information

The small fruits of both species of nīoi (Eugenia koolauensis, E. reinwardtiana) are edible, but the indigenous E. reinwardtiana appear to more palatable and sweeter than E. koolauensis. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Early Hawaiian Use

The hard wood was fashioned into kapa beaters. [2]

Kaʻaiakamanu, as translated by Malcom Naea Chun, notes that this tree provided "one of the best medicines in the treatment of practitioners. This was a kind of important medicine suitable for known major illnesses." [3]

Additional References

[1] "Flowers of the Pacific Island Seashore" by Dr. W. Arthur Whistler, page 57.
[2] "Plants in Hawaiian Culture" by Beatrice H. Krauss, page 63.

[3] "Native Hawaiian Medicine--Volume III" by The Rev. Kaluna M. Kaʻaiakamanu, pages 76-77.

[4] Australian Native Plant Society (Australia) [Accessed 12/08/10]



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