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Description for Ilex verticillata
Ilex verticillata, the winterberry, is a species of holly native to eastern North America in the United States and southeast Canada, from Newfoundland west to Ontario and Minnesota, and south to Alabama.
This is a slow-growing, deciduous shrub with an upright-rounded habit. Relatively inconspicuous greenish-white flowers appear in the leaf axils in late spring.
Flowers, if properly pollinated, give way to a crop of bright red berries (1/4â€ diameter) in late summer to fall. Berries are quite showy and will persist throughout the winter (hence the common name) and often into early spring.
Planting and care
Plant winterberry shrubs in full sun to promote vigorous fruit and flower production. Provide partial shade at midday in areas with hot, dry summers. Avoid deeply shaded areas since the shrubs will become leggy and produce fewer fruit.
Caring for Ilex verticillata
- Prune the winterberry in early spring every few years to control its size. Cut back the entire shrub by one-third using bypass shears.
- Cut back each branch individually rather than cutting straight across the top, which will ruin the natural growth habit of a shrub.
Typical uses of Ilex verticillata
Special features: Year round interest, highlighted by the showy display of red berries in winter. Mass or group in shrub borders, foundations, native plant areas or bird gardens. Hedge. Excellent shrub for moist soils in low spots or along streams and ponds.
Culinary use: NA
Ornamental use: The plant is used for an ornamental purpose. Berries provide considerable impact and interest to the winter landscape.
Medicinal use: Medicinal use of Winterberry: The bark is antiseptic, astringent, cathartic and tonic. A decoction is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea, malaria etc, and externally in the treatment of indolent sores and chronic skin disease. The fruit is cathartic.
Note: Please consult your health expert.
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