Throwback Thursday: Marlberry Hurricane Resilance Poster Child

Hammock plant, Hurricane, Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area

After Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004, the first plant to flourish was marlberry (Ardisia escallonoides). And, marlberry is flowering, as seen above full of buds, in the wake of Hurricane Irma on 10-8-2017. Dr. Frank Craighead noted the same phenomenon following Hurricane Donna in 1960.

Its flowers and fruits are held in terminal panicles (branching clusters). Its fragrant flowers attract pollinators …

Fruits, when they are first formed, are golden in color …

Often, panicles of fruits become so heavy that they droop over …

Fully ripe fruits are purple-black and consumed/spread by birds and other wildlife …

Some sources say that the common name marlberry is mistaken and really was meant to be marble-berry. Other sources say that the name marlberry refers to the adaptation of this plant to marl (alkaline) soils characteristic of coastal hammocks. In either case marlberry is a poster-child for hurricane resilience.