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Ilex verticillata

Ilex verticillata (L.) A. Gray

Ilex bronxensis Britton

Ilex fastigiata E.P. Bicknell

Ilex verticillata (L.) A. Gray var. cyclophylla B.L. Rob.

Ilex verticillata (L.) A. Gray var. fastigiata (E.P. Bicknell) Fernald

Ilex verticillata (L.) A. Gray var. padifolia (Willd.) Torr. & A. Gray ex S. Watson

Ilex verticillata (L.) A. Gray var. tenuifolia (Torr.) S. Watson

Winterberry, Common Winterberry

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderAquifolialesHollies and some fairly obscure genera
FamilyAquifoliaceaeHolly family
GenusIlexLatin for “holly oak” (rather than holly!)
SpeciesverticillataFrom Latin verticillus, “whorled”

About plant names...

We live next to a beaver pond. Winterberry, a variety of holly, is widespread around the pond’s perimeter. While most holly varieties are evergreens, winterberries lose their leaves in the winter, leaving stunningly bright berries behind, berries that attract birds and persist for much of the winter. This woody shrub is present in much of the eastern half of the United States, even as far south as Florida, and in southeastern Canada. Here in Massachusetts I have seen it reach heights of 7' (2.1 m) or so, but some varieties are up to 15' (4.6 m) in height.

Identification: Winterberry is a hardy, multiple-stemmed shrub 6-10' (1.8-3 m) tall and generally oval in shape, with gray branches with large white patches. Leaves are 1½-3" (3.8-7.6 cm) × ¾-1¼" (1.9-3.2 cm), elliptical in shape, with slight serrations. Small white ⅛" (5 mm) flowers have five to eight petals. Round bright red fruits, ¼" (6.3 mm) in diameter, persist through much of the winter. The fruits form in clusters or whorls around the stems. Winterberries prefer wetlands.

The cultivar ‘Red Sprite’ has larger, somewhat more plentiful berries, and is here growing in well-drained soil rather than its preferred acidic wet soils. There are many other cultivars available.

Online References:

Ilex verticillata on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook

Ilex verticillata at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Ilex verticillata on Wikipedia

Ilex verticillata at the Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site

Ilex verticillata at the Ohio State University PLANTFacts database

Ilex verticillata at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Ilex verticillata at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Ilex verticillata on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

9/15/2016 · Cadillac Mountain Summit, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

8/30/2010 · Old RR bed near Wilkins Farm, Pepperell, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

9/20/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm) ID is uncertain

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

9/20/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 3½ × 2½" (9.8 × 6.6 cm) ID is uncertain

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

9/28/2013 · Cadillac Mountain, Acadia Naitonal Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 14 × 9" (35 × 23 cm)

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

8/30/2010 · Old RR bed near Wilkins Farm, Pepperell, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

9/25/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, near Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 31 × 21" (78 × 52 cm) ID is uncertain

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

10/6/2011 · Pack Monadnock, 2200', Peterborough, NH
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

8/30/2010 · Old RR bed near Wilkins Farm, Pepperell, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Ilex verticillata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 5 Oct 2016.

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Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

9/25/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, near Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm) ID is uncertain

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

9/20/2009 · Wild Gardens of Acadia, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm) ID is uncertain

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

12/22/2011 · Groton Place and Sabine Woods, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

6/20/2016 · Wildlife Pond Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

9/20/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm) ID is uncertain

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

9/25/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, near Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm) ID is uncertain

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

10/23/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

9/20/2009 · Wild Gardens of Acadia, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 21 × 14" (52 × 34 cm) ID is uncertain

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

8/27/2010 · Beaver Brook Association Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

9/11/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4½" (15 × 11 cm)

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

9/15/2010 · Red Dot Trail, Long Lake Park, Littleton, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

9/29/2013 · North Bubble Hike, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 4 × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry, Common Winterberry)

6/20/2016 · Wildlife Pond Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH

Range:

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