Ardisia crenata (MYRSINACEAE) Ardisia, Coralberry, Christmas Berry

Weeds to Whack

Shade-loving evergreen shrub with glossy, dark green, serrated leaves and berries that persist throughout the winter and early spring. Its native range stretches from Japan to northern India. It has escaped cultivation and become a weed, likely on an upward trajectory as of 2007. Leaves elliptic to slightly oblanceolate, 5-12 cm long, margins conspicuously crenate, dull and dark green above, paler and dull below, secondary veins 12-18 pairs, distinct below; petiole 3-10 mm long. Flowers are white or pinkish and rather inconspicuous. Berries, which hang down in clusters, are quite showy as they ripen and turn to shades of coral and finally bright scarlet. Coral Ardisia is listed by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (a non-governmental organization) as a category 1 species, defined as an introduced species that is invading and disrupting native plant communities in Florida. In many areas, coral ardisia has become a significant pest.

Photo: Robert Whyte