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Ilex verticillata (EYE-leks ver-ti-si-LAH-tuh)
Winterberries are popular for their reddish-orange to red
berries that are clustered along multiple branches of slender
Winterberries can last 10 days or longer with the proper care.
Winterberries are available from fall through winter.
• ‘Winter Red’ - This popular form is widely accepted as one of
the best winterberries. The bright red fruit comes in profuse
• ‘Afterglow’ - Large red-orange berries mature to orange.
• ‘Cacapon’ - This heavy-fruiting varieity has true red fruit.
The leaves are textured, dark green and glossy.
• ‘Red Sprite’ - A popular, award-winning form, this dwarf
female clone matures at only 3 to 4 feet tall. Early blooms
produce numerous, large red fruit.
• ‘Shaver’ - An early-flowering form, this plant produces
• ‘Stoplight’ (also known as ‘Hopperton’) - This is a newer
selection with large, deep red fruit.
• ‘Winter Gold’ - This variety features unusual pinkish or
Winterberries are packaged like cut flowers in five- or 10-stem
bunches. The leaves usually
are not present. Cut the stems at least 1 inch from the bottom,
dip or place the
stems into a hydrating solution, and then
stems into clean containers with properly
prepared flower-food solution made with room-temperature water.
should be stored in floral coolers with the temperature set at
36 F to 38 F. Lower temperatures of 32 F to 34 F can be used if
the winterberries are to be kept for more than three days. Keep
humidity levels high.
WATER Check water and
humidity levels daily. Recut the stems and change the
flower-food solution every other day.
HEAT SOURCES Keep the
berries away from direct sun and any other heat sources.
TAKE CARE Rough handling
causes berries to drop.
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Some
cultivars are sensitive to the gas, which can cause berry drop.
Check with your supplier to make sure your winterberries have
been treated with an anti-ethylene agent at the grower level or
Winterberries have many design uses. They add
a beautiful touch to holiday arrangements, and their branches
work well for colorful winter wreaths.
WHAT'S IN A NAME The genus
name “Ilex” is from the Latin “Quercus ilex,” or “the holly
oak.” “Verticillata” is Latin for “alternating,” referring to
the arrangement of whorls of fruit around winterberries’ stems.
FAMILY Winterberries are
members of the Aquifoliaceae family, which is almost entirely
composed of the Ilex genus, commonly known as the hollies. The
Ilex genus has about 400 species. Relatives include Ilex
aquifolium (English holly), Ilex opaca (American holly), Ilex
montana (mountain holly) and Ilex decidua (deciduous holly or
DECIDUOUS Winterberry is one
of the few deciduous members of the Ilex genus; most are
evergreen trees and shrubs. Winterberry leaves drop off in late
fall to expose the plant’s colorful berries.
ORIGINS The Ilex genus is
native to North and South America and Asia.
CAUTION Although winterberry
fruit is a food source for many animals, it can be toxic to
BERRIES Avoid winterberries
that show signs of mold or rot.
Some information provided by:
The Chain of Life Network® ,
The Holly Society of America, Inc.,
Spring Valley Roses,
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plants Database,
Virginia Cooperative Extension,
Virginia Tech Department of Forestry,
You may reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
email@example.com or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
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