Hen’s Eyes

Ardisia crenata

Hen’s Eyes Ardisia crenata is a small (2 – 6 feet tall) evergreen shrub admired for its glossy leaves, shiny, persistent red berries, and low maintenance. The plant is commonly sold in the nursery trade as Christmas berry. Hen’s Eyes is native to Japan and India and was introduced into Florida in 1900 for horticultural purposes. It escaped cultivation and moved into natural areas in 1982. Hen’s Eyes is spread mainly by bird- and animal-dispersed seeds; plants begin producing seeds at two years old.

It is classified by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries as a Tier I invasive species defined as “currently causing severe or widespread negative impacts on wildlife or natural communities in Louisiana”. The species has spread into natural areas of Louisiana where it grows in dense stands that shade out and substantially reduce the number of native plants. Hen’s Eyes is particularly troublesome within natural areas that provide deep shade and moist conditions. It is still being promoted and sold in the Southeast U.S. and worldwide over the internet.

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