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Mountain Holly Ilex montana

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Ilex ambigua var. montana
  • Ilex ambigua var. monticola
  • Ilex amelanchier var. monticola
  • Ilex monticola
Phonetic Spelling
EE-leks mon-TAY-nah
Description

Mountain Winterberry is a deciduous tree or shrub in the Holly family found mostly in the mountains of NC but also scattered in the Piedmont. It grows in mesic forests from NJ to GA mostly at higher elevations. This holly has larger and spinless leaves and larger fruit than most hollies.  It is dioecious so a male and female plant is needed for fruit set. The red berries are a favorite of birds and small mammals.

Grow in average, moist, well-drained soils in sun to partial shade. It can be grown as a shrub or a tree. Use for winter interest, naturalized areas and to attract pollinators and birds.

 

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#sun#deciduous#partial shade#nectar plant#winter interest#specialized bees#deer resistant#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#food source soft-mast fruit#coastal FAC#native#bird friendly#FACU Piedmont Mountains#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#sun#deciduous#partial shade#nectar plant#winter interest#specialized bees#deer resistant#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#food source soft-mast fruit#coastal FAC#native#bird friendly#FACU Piedmont Mountains#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ilex
    Species:
    montana
    Family:
    Aquifoliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern United States
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Ilex support the following specialized bee: Colletes banksi. Attracts pollinators and birds and small mammals.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer damage
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    1/2 inch red berries on female plants; persists into winter. Displays from August to September
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small greenish-white flowers in clusters in leaf axils. Blooms from April to June
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    4-6 in. alternate, simple leaf with shallow pointed teeth, elliptical to ovate, glabrous and green above, paler below. The prominent veins give the leaves a wrinkled look.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    Smooth but warty gray-brown bark
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Slender, gray-brown to red-brown, with scattered light lenticels, buds and leaf scars are small.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Understory Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer