Crossopetalum ilicifolium

Quailberry

  • Family: Celastraceae
  • Form: Evergreen, prostrate groundcover reaching up to 12 inches tall and 2 - 3 feet wide.
  • Leaves: Simple, opposite, oval with a spinose acute apex and serrately spined margins. Leaves are slightly stiff, measure approximately 0.5 inch long and 0.5 inch wide and greatly resemble leaves of hollies. New growth can be reddish.
  • Stem/Bark: Smooth green stems turn pale grey and woody near the base.
  • Flower: Tiny, pale green, 4-petaled, inconspicuous flowers are born in compound umbels that arise from leaf axils. Blooms year-round.
  • Fruit: Very attractive, shiny, bright red, 0.25 inch round drupes containing one seed each are found in leaf axils.
  • Comments: A similar Crossopetalum, C. rhacoma or Maiden Berry, is also a Florida native with attractive red berries but it is much taller than C. ilicifolium and its leaves have crenate margins. C. ilicifoium is not to be confused with the un-related Lycium carolinianum who shares the alternate common name of Christmas Berry, has bright red berries and is also a Florida native.
  • Additional Resources: The Institute for Regional Conservation Link
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