Pyrus arbutifolia, Syn: Photinia pyrifolia
Rosaceae (Rose) Family
Plant is an upright small shrub, usually in clumps, up to six feet tall. Preferred habitat is boggy bottoms and open pinelands. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
Leaves are alternate on the stem; deciduous; very wood-like and hairy when young; more or less persisting throughout life; about two inches long; widest at the middle to oval-shape with pointed tips. Glands along upper surface are prominently displayed
Flower buds are red (thus the name); at the end of a stem or in the leaf axil; small and about 1/2 inch in diameter; white. Calyx and stem are hairy. Flowers occur in the spring.
Fruit is also red, about 1/8 inch in diameter and bitter to taste.
This native shrub forms sizable colonies and is excellent for naturalistic landscaping. The closely related black-fruited species, Black Chokeberry, has leaves that are hairless beneath and bears purple fruit. Chokeberry fruit persists through much of the winter; appears to be of little importance to wildlife, but are occasionally eaten by game birds and songbirds. However, the fruit is reported to be a favorite of the southern black bear....not much to worry about in this area.