IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

Comprehensive Description

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Shoebutton ardesia, Ardisia elliptica, is a tropical shrub or small tree not native to Florida but now occurring as an invasive species in the southern half of the state. The typical growth form in undamaged plants is a single, smooth stem that gives rise to short, perpendicular branches. Plants may send up additional stems from the rootstock, particularly after damage. Individuals produce strong taproots that produce highly branched lateral roots.The leaves are alternate, oblong to oval, pointed at the tips, smooth and leathery/rubbery, 8-20 cm long, pink to reddish in young plants and turning dark green with age. Star-shaped flowers, to 13 mm wide with pale violet-colored petals occur in axillary clusters. Fruits are round, berry-like drupes, 6 mm wide that are white when young and turning red and then dark purple to black when ripe, and capable of staining fingers. The flesh of the ripe fruit is juicy when broken and white in color, and each fruit contains a single seed (Langland and Burks 1998, Francis undated, ISSG).

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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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