Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ardisia elliptica Thunb

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © Barry Jago
Fruit [not vouchered]. CC-BY J.L. Dowe
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Thunberg, C.P. (1798) Nova Genera Plantarum 8: 119. Type: Sri Lanka.

Common name

Shoe-button Ardisia


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 2 m tall.


Leaf blades about 10-13 x 3.5-4.5 cm, petioles about 0.9-1.6 cm, grooved on the upper surface. Lateral veins curving inside the blade margin and forming inconspicuous loops. Oil dots translucent in fresh material (pink to red in dried leaves), numerous, rather large, mainly orbicular in shape with a scattering of streaky dots.


Features not available.


Fruits depressed globose, about 10-12 mm diam, calyx persistent at the base. Seeds globose, about 6 mm diam. Testa with longitudinal striations. Embryo about 4 mm long. Radicle about 3.5 mm long, much longer than the cotyledons.


Cotyledons broadly elliptic to orbicular, about 13-22 x 7-11 mm, glabrous, petioles short, about 2-3 mm long. Oil dots red. First pair of leaves about 22-28 x 10-14 mm, petioles 2-4 mm long. Oil dots red. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade narrowly elliptic, oil dots red, mainly orbicular in shape. Seed germination time 61 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from Asia, now naturalised in NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and in south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales. Altitudinal range from close to sea level to 800 m. Grows in moist rain forest and swampy areas.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties. Previously this species was incorrectly referred to as Ardisia solanacea.

Ardisia solanacea Roxb., Hort. Bengal : 16(1814), Type: India. Ardisia humilis Vahl, Symb. Bot. 3: 40(1794), Type: Ind. or.: Malaya.
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