Native to: India, China, Southeast Asia
Shoebutton ardisia was introduced into Florida around 1900 as an ornamental plant. This shade-tolerant invasive may be easily confused with the desirable native marbleberry (Ardisia escallonioides). They grow in similar habitats and have similar large evergreen leaves, and both produce black fruits. However, the native species has white flower clusters which occur only at the stem tips. Shoebutton ardisia produces small, hanging clusters of fruits and the leaves are a bit more narrow and long. Birds readliy spread the fruits of this invasive plant.
Ardisia elliptica grows well in low, wet areas and in old fields. It is abundant in hammocks, disturbed wetlands and tree islands. It also invades cypress and mangrove areas in parts of coastal south Florida. Shoebutton ardisia forms dense single-species stands in forest understories and crowds out native plants.
Shoebutton ardisia is not recmmended by UF/IFAS. It is a prohibited Florida Noxious Weed, as well as listed as prohibited on the UF/IFAS Assessment. It is also listed as a FLEPPC Category I invasive plant.
This prohibited plant should be promptly removed from the landscape. Regular monitoring and removal of plants can prevent the spread and establishment of shoebutton ardisia. Native alternatives to shoebutton ardisia for use in home landscaping or natural areas include marlberry (Ardisia escallonioides), wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa) and myrsine (Rapanea punctata).
Remove seed pods if possible and pull seedlings.
Aggressive tillage is an option and somewhat effective, but impractical in many areas.
There are no known biological controls for shoebutton ardisia.