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Quailberry, Christmasberry
Crossopetalum ilicifolium

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

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. Available in Boynton Beach at Sustainscape (561-245-5305).

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.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

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.

References: Hammer 2004

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.

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Melissa E. Abdo

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Other data on Crossopetalum ilicifolium available from:

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