Ilex verticillata - Winterberry


The leaves of Common winterberry are not shaped with sharp teeth like other hollies and are not evergreen. The purplish green foliage turns black, in fact, with the first frost. The inconspicuous flowers, however, are followed by dense clusters of bright red berries that remain on the branches throughout winter. Winterberry is a globular, upright, medium-sized shrub, typically 6-10 ft. tall (to 20 ft. in some circumstances).Extremely showy in late fall and early winter when covered with their bright red fruit, these shrubs are either male or female--a trait typical of the holly family. Birds are readily attracted to them. Since this shrub grows in both wet and dry sites, it is an adaptable naturalizer. The southern species Ilex decidua, found in thickets and moist sites from Virginia to Texas, also has the distinctive red fruit.