General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 6 - 12 feet (1.8 - 3.6 m)
Plant Spread: 6 - 12 feet (1.8 - 3.6 m)
Leaves: Good fall color
Deciduous
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Blooms on old wood
Blooms on new wood
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Provides winter interest
Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Birds
Butterflies
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds
Other info: Must have both a male-flowered and female-flowered plants with overlapping bloom times to have berries.
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Cuttings: Tip
Layering
Division
Pollinators: Bees
Miscellaneous: Dioecious

Image
Common names
  • Winterberry
  • Winterberry Holly
  • Common Winterberry
  • Michigan Holly
  • Black Alder
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Ilex verticillata
  • Synonym: Ilex verticillata var. padifolia
  • Synonym: Ilex verticillata var. fastigiata
  • Synonym: Ilex verticillata subsp. tenuifolia

Photo Gallery
Location: Nationale Plantentuin Meise (Botanical Garden near Brussels)
Date: 2022-10-17
Location: Pot Collection
Date: 2014-10-17
Well-pollinated this year!
Location: Nationale Plantentuin Meise (Botanical Garden near Brussels)
Date: 2022-10-17
Photo by clintbrown

Date: 2007-01-06
Location: Dobbies garden centre, Northumberland, England UK 
Date: 2023-11-15
Ilex verticillata

Date: c. 1920
image from 'Curtis's Botanical Magazine', 1920
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: 2011-10-24
Fall berries stand out in the swamp

Credit Alexey Sergeev
Location: Thomas Darling Preserve near Blakeslee, PA
Date: 2016-09-13
a wild female shrub in a boggy area
Location: Black Moshannon Lake in northern Pennsylvania
Date: December 2016
wild shrubs in fruit from Joel Bolden
Location: Chapel Front
Date: 2014-10-17
Fall color

Date: 2014-12-03

Date: 2010-08-08
Location: Skaneateles Conservation Area
photo credit: R. A. Nonenmacher
Location: Miami County, Indiana
Date: September 2010
Illustrating Leaves And Fruits
Location: Thomas Darling Preserve near Blakeslee, PA
Date: 2016-09-13
a wild female shrub in wet acid soil
Location: Thomas Darling Preserve near Blakeslee, PA
Date: 2016-09-13
fruit not quite ripe on a wild shrub
Location: Volo Bog in northeast Illinois south of Fox Lake
Date: 2014-08-14
wild shrubs along walkway in bog in summer
Location: Volo Bog in northeast Illinois south of Fox Lake
Date: 2014-08-14
summer foliage of wild shrubs
Location: Indiana Dunes State Park in northwest IN 
Date: 2016-07-16
wild shrubs in summer along walkway to left
Location: My garden in N E Pa. 
Date: 2015-06-08
Male flowers needed to produce bright red fruit for the winter mo
Location: Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Pennsylvania
Date: 2019-10-24
a few mother species plants together
Location: Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Pennsylvania
Date: 2019-10-24
leaves and some fruit

Date: 2014-12-03
Photo by clintbrown
Location: Lucketts, Loudoun County, Virginia
Date: 9/7/2014
Location: Skaneateles Conservation Area
photo credit: R. A. Nonenmacher
Location: Skaneateles Conservation Area
photo credit: R. A. Nonenmacher
This plant is tagged in:
Image Image

Comments:
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Dec 18, 2017 7:07 PM concerning plant:
    Common Winterberry is a wonderful deciduous holly species that is native from Nova Scotia and far southeast Canada, New England down into Louisiana up to northern Minnesota & Wisconsin. In the wild it grows in bogs, swamps, wet meadows, along creeks and lakes and moist woods edges. Its twigs are smooth, slender, zigzag, and dark gray to gray-brown to purplish and the stem bark is smooth and gray. It has small white waxy flowers with staminate flowers with 4 tiny anthers on male plants and pistillate flowers with a tiny pistil on female plants in June. The female plants then bear the scarlet red to orange-red berries in late summer that can last into February, depending, as the birds and small mammals love them. Usually in the wild this species only grows in draining wet, acid soil below pH 6.0, but it has been reported to grow in alkaline soil up to pH 8.0. My two cultivars are doing well in moist, sometimes dry, pH 6.9 soil in the backyard. This shrub has a shallow lateral root system and it transplants easily. It is offered by many garden centers and nurseries in several male or female cultivars. Some native plant nurseries offer the straight species.
  • Posted by TBGDN (Indiana - Zone 5a) on Nov 22, 2013 5:24 PM concerning plant:
    These bright berries are abundant in low lying boggy/swampy areas locally. I only recently learned these existed in our county. They are plentiful in September and October; and it appears birds and other small wildlife feed on them.
Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Wrong classification! by MotherRaphaela Oct 18, 2014 7:44 AM 2

« Add a new plant to the database

» Search the Ilex Database: by characteristics or by cultivar name

« See the general plant entry for Ilex

« The Ilex Database Front Page

« The Plants Database Front Page

Today's site banner is by chhari55 and is called "Golden Sedum (Sedum adolphi)"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.