Marlberry is an evergreen small tree or large shrub native to southern Florida where it grows in pinelands, marl ridges, and hummocks. It is a member of the primrose family, Primulaceae, that also includes shooting star, hottonia, and loostrife. The elliptical leaves are dark green, semi-glossy, and three to eight inches long. The small fragrant flowers are white and appear in dense terminal panicles five inches long at interval throughout the year. The dark purple fruit is fleshy, less than ½ inch long, and is eaten by birds, although often not a first choice. Marlberry may be used in a mixed foundation planting, or as a specimen, screen, or hedge. It is tolerant of air borne salt and useful for dune and seaside plantings but does not tolerate salt water.
Type: Evergreen small tree or large shrub
Outstanding Feature: Foliage; flowers
Form: Mounded, oval
Growth Rate: Moderate
Bloom: Small fragrant white flowers in dense terminal panicles five inches long at interval throughout the year
Size: 10-20’ H x 6-15’ W
Light: Part sun to part shade
Soil: Average, moderately moist, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 9-11
Care: Prune to maintain size or shape.
Pests and Diseases: None of significance