Christmas berry
Ardisia crenata Sims
  • FAMILY: MYRSINACEAE (alternatively, PRIMULACEAE)
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: hen's eyes, coral ardisia, spice berry, coral berry, scratchthroat
  • LEAVES: persistent, simple, elliptic or lanceolate, to 6” long, thick and waxy, margins crenate and bearing calluses harboring a N-fixing bacterium
  • FLOWER: inflorescences in cymes or umbels, born at tips of older branches below the main leaf-bearing branches
  • FRUIT: showy dark red drupes to 0.3” broad, tending to persist on plant into the following season
  • TWIGS: glabrous (smooth) throughout
  • BARK:
  • FORM: evergreen shrub to ca. 6’ tall
  • HABITAT: rich slopes and ravines along small streams, mesic hardwood flatwoods, high sites in bottomland hardwood forests
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative (FAC): Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: exotic from east Asia; introduced in US in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Hawaii  [Global Range Map]   [County Range Map]
  • USES: ornamental (ill-advised – this species readily escapes into adjacent forests)
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. glossy evergreen shrub to about head-high
    2. thick waxy elliptic leaves with crenate margins
    3. unique branching architecture
    4. showy red persistent drupes