Simpson’s Stopper



Botanical Name:  Myrcianthes fragrans

Common Name:  Simpson’s Stopper, Twinberry

Description:  I love love love this shrub/small tree that’s native to Florida.

Simpson’s stopper is an evergreen shrub or small tree that occurs naturally in coastal strands and hammocks in moist to dry, sandy or calcareous soils in sun, part sun, or part shade. Very pretty white fragrant flowers bloom heavily in late spring, usually April and May, with some blooms during the rest of the year, followed by orange/red berries in summer to fall. All of that attracts butterflies, bees, and birds. Drought tolerant once established. Slowly grows 12-20′ tall x 10-15′ wide.

Each fragrant flower has four white petals and many long white stamens. They are born in clusters on paired stalks. Sepals are lobed and in fours. Leaves are bright green, ovate to elliptic and leathery. They have entire margins and are oppositely arranged. Leaf surface is covered in small blackish dots. When crushed, leaves emit a citrusy or piney aroma. Fruits are greenish, ovoid berries that turn bright reddish-orange as they mature. They are typically born in pairs (hence the common name “twinberry”). The sweet flesh of the fruit is edible to humans, but eating the bitter seeds is not recommended. Branches are stiff. Bark is reddish-brown and flaky.

Simpson’s stopper is an excellent ornamental plant with dense, evergreen foliage, attractive and fragrant flowers, and colorful fruit. It works great as a specimen or background shrub or grouped as a border, buffer or hedge. It is hardy and suitable for difficult areas where other plants may not do well. If left alone, this versatile plant will grow into a small tree, but it can be pruned to any desired form. More sun exposure will contribute to a smaller form and will encourage more blooms. In the shade, Simpson’s stopper may grow taller and have a more open appearance.

Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Some tolerance to salty wind but not direct salt spray.

This plant in 3-gallon containers is 1-3′ tall.

This plant in 7-gallon containers is 3-5′ tall.

Plant Lore: The common name descriptor pays homage to Charles Torrey Simpson, an American botanist and naturalist who wrote several books about plants in South Florida. He was known as the “Sage of Biscayne Bay.” “Stopper” alludes to the plant’s historical use as a treatment for diarrhea.

Florida Hardiness Zones 8b-11



Additional information

Container Size

1-gallon, 3-gallon, 7-gallon


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