Coral ardisia was originally brought to Florida to brighten landscapes with its attractive foliage and fruit. But now it's classified as an invasive plant because it invades natural areas and crowds out native plants.
Ardisia is an evergreen shrub that is easily recognized for its bright-red berries that are often present year-round. The berries attract birds and raccoons, which can then spread the plant. The leaves are dark green and waxy, and have wavy edges. The berries and leaves may be poisonous to pets, humans, and livestock.
If you discover coral ardisia in your landscape, removing it will help prevent its spread. You can try pulling plants by hand, though multiple applications of herbicide may be necessary to eradicate them.
Fortunately, there are plenty of non-invasive alternatives to coral ardisia to choose from. These include rougeberry (Rivina humilis), darrow's blueberry (Vaccinium darrowii), shiny blueberry (Vaccinium myrsinites), wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa), marlberry (Ardisia escallonioides), and dwarf cultivars of our native hollies (Ilex spp.).
Also on Gardening Solutions
- Ardisia crenata, Coral Ardisia -- UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
- UF Invasive Plants: Coral Ardesia Identification Video on YouTube