Marlberry (Ardisia squamulosa)

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Marlberry (Ardisia squamulosa) is a year-round evergreen shrub or tree that grows in Central and South Florida ecosystems like coastal strands, hammocks and pine rocklands. It blooms and produces fruit from summer to fall. This fruit is a natural source of food for birds and small animals, and also edible by humans. Marlberry's dense foliage offers shelter and cover for wildlife, and when planted in a row makes for a beautiful edible hedge.

Its fragrant flowers may be creamy white or pinkish, have distinctly noticeable yellow anthers, and are born in dense terminal or axillary panicles. The plant’s thick, dark green leaves are glossy, lanceolate to elliptic and tend to reflex upward. They are petiolate and alternately arranged. Leaf margins are entire. Bark is smooth, thin and whitish-gray. Fruits begin as small green to reddish drupes that turn shiny and black when mature. Each fruit bears a single hard seed.

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