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Quailberry, Christmasberry
Crossopetalum ilicifolium
Celastraceae


General Landscape Uses:

Wildflower and rock gardens.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

It can be used as one of many understory herbs in pine rocklands.
Availability:
Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida.
Description:
Small, spreading shrubby groundcover with holly-like leaves
Dimensions:
Typically 6-12 inches in height. Spreading and becoming much broader than tall; sometimes hanging in mats from the side of large limestone rocks.
Growth Rate:
Moderate to slow.
Range:
Monroe County Keys, Miami-Dade County and Collier County; Cuba, Bahamas and Hispaniola. In the Monroe County Keys, known from North Key Largo, then disjunct to the pine rocklands of Big Pine Key and No Name Key.
Habitats:
Pine rocklands and rockland hammock edges.
Soils:
Moist, well-drained limestone soils, with or without humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements:
Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun to light shade.
Flower Color:
Red.
Flower Characteristics:
Inconspicuous.
Flowering Season:
All year.
Fruit:
Showy bright red drupe.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides food for wildlife. Quail eat the fruits.
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from de-pulped seed. Plant immediately; seeds do not store well. Plant in pot with 2" or more of potting soil, just covering seed with soil.
Comments:
This is one of our most attractive woody groundcovers for sunny locations in alkaline soils. It is listed as threatened by the state of Florida.


 


Roger L. Hammer
Melissa E. Abdo
Keith A. Bradley