Botanical name: Malpighia coccigera Family: Malpighiaceae (Barbados cherry family)
Malpighia cocigera is an interesting plant native to the West Indies. Small dark green leaves with spiny edges make it look like a miniature Chinese holly. The name, Malpighia, is used to honor Marcello Malpighia (1628 1693) He was a distinguished naturalist at Bologna, Italy. It is a dwarf shrub with evergreen opposite short petioled, spiny toothed leaves. Open, pink flowers and red fruit. With growth habits available in weeping or prostrate forms depending upon cultivar, Miniature Holly can serve a variety of landscape uses. Their small size makes them well suited for planting along a foundation. The fine texture contrasts nicely with medium and coarse-textured, taller shrubs. Their dense growth habit allows them to fill in in front of taller shrubs which may have become thin at the bottom. The glossy green foliage resembles small holly leaves, and the plants are decorated throughout the year with light pink, delicate, ruffled blossoms in spring and summer and small, bright red cherries in fall and winter.
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