Ardisia japonica

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Ardisia japonica
Ardisia japonica 01.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Ardisia
Species: A. japonica
Binomial name
Ardisia japonica

Ardisia japonica, known as marlberry,[1] is a species of Ardisia native to eastern Asia, in eastern China, Japan and Korea.[2]


It is a low-growing, spreading very quickly evergreen shrub 20–40 cm tall. The leaves are opposite or in whorls, ovate, 4–7 cm long and 1.5–4 cm broad, with a sharply serrated margin and an acute apex. The flowers are 4–10 mm diameter, with five (rarely six) white to pale pink petals; they are produced in racemes in late spring. The fruit is a drupe 5–6 mm diameter, red maturing dark purple-black in early winter.[2][3]


A number of cultivars have been selected for growing as ornamental plants, including 'Hakuokan' and 'Ito Fukurin' with variegated leaves, 'Hinotsukasa', with pale cream-coloured leaves, and 'Matsu Shima' with pink stems and variegated leaves.[3]

Medicinal uses[edit]

It is used as a medicinal plant in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called zǐjīn niú (Chinese: 紫金牛),[2] or aidicha (矮地茶) and is considered one of the 50 Fundamental Herbs.[4]

Large doses of the plant as medicine can be toxic to the kidneys.[5]

Weed problems[edit]

It has escaped from cultivation and established itself in the wild in the United States, in Gainesville, Florida.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ English Names for Korean Native Plants (PDF). Pocheon: Korea National Arboretum. 2015. p. 358. ISBN 978-89-97450-98-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2017 – via Korea Forest Service. 
  2. ^ a b c Flora of China: Ardisia japonica
  3. ^ a b Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  4. ^ Plants for a Future: Ardisia japonica
  5. ^ japonica
  6. ^ 'Wildland Weeds" Summer 2009 p.4 accessed 6 June 2010

External links[edit]