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Oconto County, WI
01 September 1999
Gary Fewless, Cofrin Arboretum Center for Biodiversity
Olympus CL 2500L digital camera

Common Winterberry Holly.

Common Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)

"Holly" is another plant often associated with the Christmas season (see last week's photo of Mistletoe). Common Winterberry Holly is one of two species of Holly growing naturally in Wisconsin. Botanist Harriet Keeler wrote in 1903 "Here is a native Holly, which equals if it does not surpass in brilliancy and beauty of fruit coloring any imported plant in our garden, and yet it is virtually unknown." It is actually quite common in moist to wet sites and it's called "winterberry" because the bright red berries stay on the branches well into the winter, long after the leaves have fallen. Some relatives of Common Winterberry Holly that grow in the eastern U.S., especially American Holly (Ilex opaca), have the more familar shiny evergreen leaves, that make them especially prized for Christmas decorations at a time of year when most plants have lost their leaves.

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Last updated on April 15, 2014