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House with native plants and animalsGoing Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants
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Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)

Winterberry is a deciduous tree that may grow 10 to 15 feet tall, but it often occurs in the wild as a shrub. The leaves are alternate with a sharply toothed margin and hairy underside. The bark is thin, smooth, and gray-brown. In spring, stalked, yellow-green flowers mature in clusters. Female specimens produce red-orange drupes that mature in the fall.


Host plant for Henry's Elfin butterfly. Butterflies nectar at blooms. Fruits are eaten by songbirds and small mammals.

Plant Type Tree 10-30 feet
Leaf Type Deciduous
Deer Resistance Low
Regions Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plain
Light Full Sun, Partial Sun/Shade, Full Shade
Soil Wet, Moist
Bloom Times Spring
Seed Times Fall
Wildlife Value Fleshy Fruit, Butterfly/Insect Nectar, Butterfly Larvae Host
NC Forest ServiceNC Cooperative Extension