Coral Ardisia, A Pretty Problem
Coral ardisia is also known as coral berry, spice berry, and scratchthroat. It was introduced into Florida in the early 1900’s for ornamental purposes.
In the ensuing years it has since escaped cultivation and become established in hardwood hammocks and other moist woods of natural areas and grazing lands. Specimens have been collected from 19 western and south-central Florida counties as of 2004.
This evergreen sub-shrub reaches a height of 1.5 to six feet and tends to grow in multi-stemmed clumps. Leaves are alternate, 8 inches long, dark green above, waxy, without hairs, and have scalloped margins and calluses in the margin notches.
Flowers are typically pink to white in stalked axillary clusters, usually drooping below the foliage. The fruit is a bright red, globose, single-seeded berry, measuring approximately 0.25 inches in diameter. White-berried populations are also known to exist.
Coral ardisia is considered invasive. Control of coral ardisia may be accomplished by two methods. A low-volume foliar application of Garlon 4 or Remedy provides suppression of this plant. Complete foliar coverage is essential to success and retreatment will be necessary for complete control.
Basal bark applications with Garlon 4 or Remedy in an oil carrier can also be utilized for suppressing this invasive weed. Do not apply more than 8 quarts of Remedy or Garlon 4 per acre and treat no more than ten percent of the total grazed area if applying greater than two quarts per acre.
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