aka: Winterberry or Black Alder
Deciduous Native Shrub/ Understory Tree
Soil Moisture: Dry, Moist, Wet
Soil Description: Moist, acidic soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam Medium Loam Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: Winterberry tolerates poor drainage and is quite winter-hardy. You must have both a male and female plant to have berries. The male must be the same species as the female and bloom at the same time. Because hollies are such popular landscape plants, it may be worth the risk to plant a female and hope there is a male nearby.
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Red, Orange
Pollinator Benefits: Larval Host for Henry's Elfin butterfly; Xerces Society: Special value to Honey Bees
Michigan Holly (Ilex verticillata)- The leaves of Winterberry or Michigan Holly 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.