Common name(s): Marlberry

Scientific name: Ardisia escallonioides

Plant family: MYRSINACEAE

Origin: Central Florida all the way to the Florida Keys.

Description: Native plant. Large shrub, multi-trunk. Slow growing. Erect plant up to 8 – 10 feet and 6 – 7 feet wide. Leaves, dark green, shinny and up to 6 inches long. Flowers white and fragrant. Fruit shinny, black in clusters. Bark gray and thin. Flowers year round. 

Growing Conditions: Naturally found in hammocks, with rich, organic leaf litter. Soil well drained. Grows in semi-shade and usually as an under-story plant. May grow in high, filtered light, not western sun, which is too hot. Is salt tolerant, ideal for coastal landscape. Water weekly for the first month, then monthly for next four months. Should be established within six months. Grows in zone: 9 – 11. Excellent shrub for shady landscapes.

Wildlife: Shiny, black fruit attracts a variety of bird life.

Relation to Nehrling Gardens: This native plant has been brought in to replace the Coral Ardisia. Coral Ardisia is listed as Category 1 invasive pest plant by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. Coral Ardisia is extremely aggressive and can take over natural habitats and displace native wildlife and native plants.

Location in Gardens: C8

Additional Information: This native Marlberry is slow growing, ideal for shady conditions, attractive with white, fragrant clusters of flowers. In a landscape, this plant can be used as a screen or focal point with flowers, ferns below. Additional natives that may share the same area: native coffee, ferns, stoke’s aster, Coreopsis varieties, wild petunia or twin flower.