image Ilex decidua in winter

Ilex decidua | Possumhaw

STRENGTHS
Yikes! This looks a bit scary in the winter. Native to MD, a woodland naturalizer, but not normally planted in residential setting. Missouri Botanical Garden has some wonderful specimens. Might be used in urban forrest for errosion and nice food source for wildlife. Adds winter interest with red, orange, or yellow berries that ripen in fall and persist to April. If it grows in your gardens naturally, makes a nice filler for “back 40″. Silver gray bark is also a nice feature. Branches grow accross themselves. Great in wet lowlands.

CARE
Has an extensive root system, keep watered to establish. For a tidy, neat appearance, shear to shape in early spring. No serious problems, occasional leaf spot.

image Ilex decidua

NOTES
Dioecious – needs male nearby for females to berry. Usually pollinated by Ilex opaca

RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
‘Warren’s Red’ available, heavy fruiting 15′ tall

ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 5 – 9 | full sun to full shade
GROWTH RATE ….. medium
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 20′-30′/7′ to 15′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. Loose, rounded; many horizontal and ascending branches
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 1.5″-3″ obovate, impressed veins, obtusely serrated, thin, light
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple, alternate
LEAF COLOR ….. Deciduous | dark green, turning bright yellow in fall
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | small white in spring
BERRIES | beautiful bright orange red

NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL does well in moist to dry and slightly alkaline
Native MD to FL and west to TX

NC State / Ilex decidua

MO Botanic Garden / Ilex decidua

Possumhaw wins the race!, originally uploaded by newfern.

Possumhaw closeup, originally uploaded by newfern.