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Winterberry, Michigan Holly

Scientific Name: Ilex verticillata

Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9 
Height: 8 ft
Spread: 8 ft
Form: rounded 
Type: deciduous shrub 
Annual Growth Rate: less than 12 inches 
Fruits: Red, yellow 

Winterberry's bright red berries provide color in early winter after the leaves have fallen off. The plant grows in sun or partial shade and a rich, well-drained soil, although it tolerates swampy areas. Winterberry is dioecious, so both male and female plants are needed for fruit production. The fruits are often eaten by birds. 

Some of the cultivars are hybrids between I. verticillata and I. serrata. Eggerss and Hasselkus suggest that there are both northern and southern types of I. verticillata. Northern types are smaller and more compact than the open and leggy southern types. Select northern types for northern areas.  

'Afterglow' - A 3- to 6-foot tall female cultivar with orange-red fruit. 

X 'Apollo' - A large plant, to 10 feet, male, used as a pollinator for 'Bonfire' and 'Sparkleberry'.

'Aurantiaca' - A female with red fruits that change to golden orange. A 4-foot, compact form.

X 'Bonfire' - A large, vigorous shrub with small red fruit in clusters. 

'Bright Horizon' - Vigorous and upright, large red berries are produced in tight clusters. 

'Cacapon' - Red fruit and dark green foliage, more upright than 'Afterglow'. 'Jim Dandy' is a suitable pollinator. 

'Early Male' - A male used to pollinate 'Afterglow' and 'Red Sprite'. 

X 'Harvest Red' - Heavy production of red fruit. 'Jim Dandy' - A male often used as a pollinator for 'Afterglow', 'Aurantiaca', 'Cacapon', 'Red Sprite', and 'Shaver'. 

'Late Male' - A male selection used to pollinate 'Winter Red'. Probably a southern type. 

'Oosterwijk' - Bright red berries persist longer than those of other cultivars. 'Jim Dandy' is a suitable pollinator.

'Raritan Chief' - A male selection with a low, dense, spreading habit. 

'Red Sprite' ('Compacta', 'Nana') - Multi-stemmed shrub, compact with large red fruit. 

'Select' - A female that produces heavy crops of berries. 

'Shaver' - An upright form with large red fruit. 

'Southern Gentleman' - A male pollinator for 'Winter Red' and 'Select'. 

X 'Sparkleberry' - A female that may reach 12 feet with good fruit production. 

'Spriber' (Berry Nice TM) - Excellent production of red fruits. Use 'Southern Gentleman' as a pollinator. 

'Sunset' - A female with large red fruits. Performed poorly in Wisconsin for Eggerss and Hasselkus. 

'Winter Gold' - Yellow fruits. 

'Winter Red' - Grows to 7 feet with brilliant red fruit. Plants grown in Wisconsin had a tall, leggy habit and were inferior to other cultivars. 

Provided by Michigan State University Extension