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Marlberry
Ardisia escallonioides
Myrsinaceae


General Landscape Uses:

An excellent specimen or accent shrub in commercial and residential landscapes. Also good in buffer and mass plantings.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

A common element in coastal and interior hammocks and thickets.
Availability:
Native plant nurseries.
Available at Native Choice Nursery in Boynton Beach. 561-756-4370
Description:
Large upright shrub or small tree with a narrow crown. Both trunks and branches are slender and erect; the tips of the branches become arched under the weight of flowers and fruit, one or both of which are almost always present. Trunks 2-3 inches in diameter, and sometimes more. Bark thin, pale gray to almost white. Leaves green, darker above, shiny, 3-6 inches long, persistent.
Dimensions:
Typically 8-15 feet in height; to 20 feet or more in South Florida. Usually taller than broad.
Growth Rate:
Moderate.
Range:
Monroe County Keys north to Flagler, Polk and Pasco counties; West Indies, southern Mexico and Central America. Common throughout most of its range in South Florida.
Habitats:
Hammocks, thickets and pine rocklands.
Soils:
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements:
Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
High; can tolerate moderate amounts of salt wind without injury.
Drought Tolerance:
Moderate; generally requires moist soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.
Light Requirements:
Light shade to full sun.
Flower Color:
White to pink, with noticable yellow anthers.
Flower Characteristics:
Semi-showy in dense terminal clusters. Fragrant.
Flowering Season:
All year; peak in fall.
Fruit:
Drupe, black and glossy at maturity, 1/4" in diameter, thin fleshed and juicy. Seeds solitary and hard.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides significant food and cover for wildlife. Birds eat the fruits.
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from seed, which are best de-pulped. Some seeds are apparently not viable. Fruit should be harvested when ripe directly from the mother plant to avoid predation by insects. Start in light shade in moist soils.
Comments:
A very handsome adaptable plant with dark green foliage and one of our more attractive native shrubs when in bloom. One of the best shrubs for the garden. Similar to the invasive exotic shoebutton ardisia.


 


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