One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Australian. The small-leaved lilly-pilly, Syzygium luehmannii (family Myrtaceae), a large forest tree of eastern Australia, grown as an ornamental and for its fruit. Also: the red pear-shaped fruit of this, used in jam, ice cream, sauces, etc.
Late 17th century (in an earlier sense). Apparently from ribe- + berry, with loss of the final consonant of the first syllable.
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