Common name: Ardisia, Shoebutton Ardisia, China Shrub, Duck's Eye, Jet Berry, Shoebutton
Ardisia elliptica Thunb. APNI*
Synonyms: Ardisia squamulosa C.Presl APNI*
Description: Shrub or small tree to 4 (-5) m high.
Leaves alternate; petioles 5–16 mm long; lamina c. 50–130 mm long, mostly 25–40 (-45) mm wide (occasional smaller leaves sometimes amongst the more typical size range), elliptic or obovate to oblanceolate, coriaceous, glabrous, grooved on upper surface, margin entire, apex acute to obtuse, young foliage often reddish.
Inflorescences umbellate to racemose, axillary; pedicels 10–20 mm long; flowers star-shaped, 6–13 mm diam., 5-merous, sepals 1–3 mm long, petals pale pink, pale lavender, mauve or whitish, slightly fused at base, to 9 mm long, ± lanceolate with acute to attenuate apex, outer surface with tiny orangy to blackish, resinous dots and streaks, stamens 5.
Fruits a berry-like drupe, globose or subglobose, 5–12 mm diam., green turning red to deep purplish or black at maturity, calyx persistent; seed 1, c. 5–6 mm diam., surrounded by whitish pulp.
Distribution and occurrence: Early stages of becoming naturalised in N.S.W. per records from Blair Reserve, Port Macquarie (2010), and Saltwater Creek, South West Rocks (2011). Naturalised in Qld (around Cairns, Innisfail, Kin Kin (Wide Bay), Slade Point (South Kennedy district) fide BRI, and Northern Territory. Native to Indian subcontinent and SE Asia.
Weed of tropical and sub-tropical regions, mainly growing in wet forests (including rainforest), riparian areas and disturbed sites; commonly in shade-tolerant habitats but also in open areas.
NSW subdivisions: *NC
Other Australian states: *Qld *N.T.
Formerly in Myrsinaceae. Grown as a garden ornamental usually in tropical areas. Potential to become an invasive species.
Text by P.G. Kodela, March 2017
Taxon concept: Australian Plant Census accepted name (accessed March 2017)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.