Possumhaw Deciduous Holly
Common name: Possum Haw, Possumhaw holly, Deciduous holly, Bearberry, Meadow Holly, Prairie Holly, Swamp Holly, Welk Holly, Winterberry
Botanical name: Ilex decidua
Size: 8 to 30 feet tall, 6 to10 feet wide
Flowers: inconspicuous yellow-green
Fruit time: on female plants, outstanding red or orange berries last throughout the fall and winter
Leaves: dark green glossy oval toothed leaves, turn yellow before dropping
General information: This small deciduous tree or large shrub, a Texas native, is fairly nondescript in the summer, however once leaves drop in the fall, the female plants retain outstanding red or orange berries, providing a blaze of color in the landscape. This holly is designated as a Texas Superstar®.
Pests and Disease Problems: generally disease resistant
Growing in North Texas: Possumhaw can adapt to a wide range of soil conditions. It can be grown in the shade, but will fruit (produce berries) best in partial shade to full sun. Females need a male pollinator for a good fruit set. Small mammals, songbirds, and gamebirds will eat the fruit in winter.
Note: cut branches may be enjoyed indoors as holiday decorations
Warnings: may produce unwanted suckers from the roots that require maintenance
Aggie Horticulture. http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ornamentals/natives/ILEXDECIDUA.HTM
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Database. http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ILDE