FLIP: Florida Invasive Plants

Ardisia crenata

Common Name(s): Coral ardisia, scratchthroat, coral berry, spice berry


Northern India to Japan

Ecological Impact

Reduces understory sunlight in forests and shades out native seedlings.  Mature plants can displace various native groundcover such as violets and wakerobins (Langeland and Burks, 1998).  Listed as a Category I species by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.


An evergreen shrub that grows up to 6 feet tall in multi-stemmed clumps.   Stems are erect, becoming increasingly rough, with gray-colored bark.  Leaves are dark green, alternate, and waxy with crenate edges (margins).  Flowers are pink to white in clusters below the foliage.  Fruit is a bright red berry up to 8 mm in diameter; containing one seed (Miller, Chambliss, and Loewenstein, 2010). 

Identification Tips

Look for dark green, crenate leaves with bright red berries growing underneath.  May resemble shoebutton (Ardesia elliptica Thunb.), which does not have crenate edges and the fruit ripens to back. 


Introduced to Florida near the beginning of the 20th century as an ornamental plant (Langeland and Burks, 1998).

Florida Range

Florida counties include: Alachua, Flagler, Gadsden, Highlands, Hillsborough, Leon, Liberty, Marion, Martin and Orange. 

Prevention/Management Strategies

Do not plant. Foliar herbicide treatment: 3% Garlon® 3A + 1% Plateau, 5% Garlon 4 (low volume). Basal bark herbicide treatement: 10% Garlon® 4.


Most photos courtesy of the Atlas of Florida Plants; click for additional plant details.

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Florida Invasive Plants