Marvelous marlberry

Marlberry (Ardisia escalloniodies) flowers and fruits throughout the year.

The fall rains have brought a flush of fragrant flowers to many marlberry, showing off the stunning yellow anthers (the pollen-producing part of the plant) referenced by the genus name, Ardisia. The species name, escalloniodies honors Antonio Escallon, a 19th century Columbia botanist.
These pollen laden-flowers are quite attractive to pollinators including bees, butterflies, and other insects. Look carefully to see a smidgeon of a native green metallic sweat bee.
Ripe fruits resemble small, black marbles. Often, the panicles of fruits are so heavy that the branch tips hand downward from their fruit burden. Birds and other wildlife enjoy the fruits.

You can see many marlberry trees growing on sunny edges and in shade in the hammocks at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area. This versatile, drought-tolerant tree with an erect habit grows to about 15′ tall and deserves more landscape use.

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