Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) in the Ilex Database

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Winterberry
Give a thumbs up Winterberry Holly
Give a thumbs up Michigan Holly
Give a thumbs up Common Winterberry
Give a thumbs up Black Alder

Botanical names:
Ilex verticillata Accepted
Ilex verticillata subsp. tenuifolia Synonym
Ilex verticillata var. fastigiata Synonym
Ilex verticillata var. padifolia Synonym

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
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
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
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
Pollinators: Bees
Miscellaneous: Dioecious

Well-pollinated this year!

This plant is tagged in:
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Posted by TBGDN (Indiana - Zone 5a) on Nov 22, 2013 5:24 PM

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.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Dec 18, 2017 7:07 PM

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.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Wrong classification! by MotherRaphaela Oct 18, 2014 7:44 AM 2
Can anyone ID this tree w/ berries, in Ohio? by cwhitt Sep 10, 2017 6:56 PM 22
What is this!? by Prosedda Aug 5, 2017 7:25 AM 11
Merry Christmas to All - 2016 by RickM Jan 3, 2017 9:07 PM 43
Late summer, ornamental berries. by conniepr27 Sep 24, 2016 5:02 PM 15
Banner for December 26, 2013 by clintbrown by clintbrown Dec 28, 2013 9:25 AM 14
Forest Farm by clintbrown Aug 12, 2013 3:51 PM 16
What's blooming in 2013? by virginiarose Dec 18, 2015 8:26 PM 1,768
Yaupon Holly, Ilex vomitoria, Aquifoliaceae (Holly Family) by frostweed Jan 22, 2013 8:17 AM 16
Salt tolerant plants by eclayne Feb 8, 2013 9:39 PM 130
Adding a plant entry with complex hybrid parentage by ViburnumValley Jan 6, 2013 9:57 AM 6

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