General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 6b -20.6 °C (-5 °F) to -17.8 °C (0 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 15 to 54 inches
Plant Spread: 3 feet plus
Leaves: Evergreen
Other: are really cladocles that look like stiff, spine tipped leaves
Fruit: Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: White
Other: greenish white, some with violet center
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Provides winter interest
Medicinal Herb
Cut Flower
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Stem
Eating Methods: Tea
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Tolerates dry shade
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: gives better germination percentage
Days to germinate: up to 12 months
Can handle transplanting
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Other: rhizomes
Pollinators: Various insects
Containers: Not suitable for containers

Common names
  • Butcher's Broom
  • Kneeholly
  • Knee Holly
  • Kneehelm
  • Jew's Myrtle
  • Sweet Broom
  • Pettigree
  • Hare's Apple
  • Box Holly

Photo Gallery
Location: Sebastian,  Florida
Date: 2024-05-10
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Can be used to make soap
Uploaded by freddy0808
Uploaded by freddy0808
  • Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Dec 20, 2015 2:03 PM concerning plant:
    This is one very weird, strange, and bizarre plant. Plants are born without leaves. although the flower and resultant single, glossy, red-berried fruit appear to grow out of the middle of an evergreen leaf. That's not a leaf it's growing out of, however, but flattened stems known as cladocles. These cladocles look like stiff, spine-tipped leaves. Usually they are shaped like a lance and about 2.5 inches long. The true leaf manifests itself as a small, even minute, scale-like appendage; these real leaves are not photosynthetic.

    The spring flowers are small, either white or white with a purple center. Flowers are usually either male or female, though there is a hermaphroditic cultivar available. Berries are only produced by female flowering plants a/o the plants bearing both sexed flowers on the same plant. The berries appear in late summer to fall, are conspicuous (over a half inch), and can remain on the plant through the winter. Birds eating the berries are one of the chief modes of seed dispersal. Plants also spread by underground rhizomes. Though slow, the spread can be fairly extensive. Insect pollinated.

    The plant is considered an evergreen shrub (or, in some cases a sub-shrub) that can be utilized as an effective barrier due to its thick, stiff "leaves" that terminate in a needle-like point. As such, it can be a deer deterrent. The shortest cultivar at 15 inches is used as a ground cover. New shoots can be consumed like asparagus. The roots have been used as a coffee substitute and in homeopathic medicines for a variety of ills (use with caution). Its uniqueness, ornamental value (red berries), and use as a cut flower filler prompt home garden use. It was once used by butchers to sweep their blocks (hence, its most recognized common name: "Butcher's Broom").
    Another common name, Knee High, comes from its ability to grow to knee height.

    It grows best in moist but well-drained soils that include a fairly large span of soil ph parameters from acidic to alkaline. Partial shade is optimal, though it can grow fairly well in complete shade. In the wild it grows in woodlands, the outskirts of dry woods, and moist uncultivated areas. It is native to western and southern Europe, east to the Caucasus Mountains.
Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Ruscus by purpleinopp Jun 28, 2021 12:09 PM 0

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