Holly categories: Traditional, deciduous, inconspicuous

We've known people who love the winter color of fruit so much that they net their hollies or engage in scare tactics to keep birds from feeding there. Then, berries may last right into the next blooming season before rotting and dropping off.  

We love traditional, evergreen, spiny leaf, berry-bearing hollies

There are two other two holly groups:

  • Deciduous, red berried hollies such as Michigan holly/winterberry (I. verticillata), Japanese winterberry (I. serrata) and possumhaw (I. decidua), or
  • The many species that are often mistaken for "some kind of boxwood." Inkberry (I. glabra), Japanese box-leaf holly (I. crenata) and yaupon (I. vomitoria) are leaders in this group. (Clue to differentiating holly and boxwood: Holly species have alternate arrangement of leaves. Boxwood leaf arrangement is opposite)



Right: English holly, native across the UK and Europe, can't usually handle
winters colder than zone 7, nor can it thrive in
hot, dry summers.
It's distinctive for curved, forward pointing spines and, in many varieties,
young twigs that are purple.






Below: These box-leaf evergreen hollies with black berries and spineless foliage await later discussion. Note the alternate leaf pattern, a mark of the holly (Ilex) species. If it was a boxwood species, each leaf would have a partner directly opposite it on the stem.

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