Native to: Brazil
Surinam cherry was introduced into south Florida prior to 1931. It has been widely planted as an ornamental shrub/tree as well as for its edible fruits. Surinam cherry has escaped cultivation and forms dense thickets in natural areas and it extremely difficult to control.
The seeds of Surinam cherry are readily dispersed by birds and mammals, as the fruits are highly edible. It invades hammocks in the central and southern peninsula of Florida, where it forms dense thickets that displace native plants and prevents their regeneration.
Surinam cherry is not recommended by UF/IFAS. The UF/IFAS Assessment lists it as invasive in south Florida and a species of caution in central and north Florida. It is listed as a Category l invasive species by FLEPPC due to its ability to invade and displace native plant communities.
Regular monitoring and removal of plants can prevent the spread and establishment of Surinam cherry. Programs to educate homeowners on proper plant identification will also reduce the spread of this species. Native alternatives to Surinam cherry for use in home landscaping or natural areas include Simpson stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans), myrsine (Rapanea punctata) and Jamaican caper (Capparis cynophallophora).
Refrain from planting Surinam cherry and remove seeds if possible. Hand-pull seedlings.
Mechanical control is not an effective management strategy for Surinam cherry due to its ability to re-sprout.
There are no known biological control agents for Surinam cherry.