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Ilex verticillata 'Winter Gold' is often confused with:
Ilex verticillata ilex verticillata fruit and leaves
Ilex verticillata 'Southern Gentleman'
Native alternative(s) for Ilex verticillata 'Winter Gold':
Ilex decidua Ilex decidua
Ilex verticillata ilex verticillata fruit and leaves
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Ilex verticillata ilex verticillata fruit and leaves
Ilex verticillata 'Southern Gentleman'
Ulmus americana Full Form
Ilex verticillata 'Winter Gold' has some common insect problems:
Holly Pest Management Calendar
Pests of Holly

Winterberry Ilex verticillata 'Winter Gold'

Phonetic Spelling
EYE-leks ver-ti-si-LAY-tuh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Winterberry, is a member of the Aquifoliaceae (holly) family and is native to Eastern North America. The ‘Winter Gold’ cultivar is a slow-growing, rounded, woody, multi-stemmed, perennial, deciduous shrub that will reach a height and width of 5 to 8 feet. It is distinguished by a dense, heavy fruiting of orange-yellow berries that appear in late summer and last through winter.  

‘Winter Gold’ prefers full sun with some afternoon shade and moist to wet soils. It is adaptable to a range of soil textures but all need to have a neutral to acidic pH. Prune to shape in early spring just before new growth appears. 

Winterberry is dioecious, meaning individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if flowers, berries, and seed are desired. “Winter Gold’ is a late-blooming, female plant. One male winterberry, such as the late-blooming cultivar ‘Southern Gentleman’, is necessary for every 6 to10 female plants. 

‘Winter Gold' provides year-round interest and makes an excellent hedge or addition to a rain or winter garden. Because it tolerates wet soils, it does well in pond margins, stream beds, or low lying areas of the yard. Mass planted or in small groups it is used in shrub borders or foundation plantings. The foliage is a food source for wildlife including pollinators, birds, and rabbits. It is seldom damaged by deer. 

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Deciduous shrubby holly with persistent orange berries.
  • Berry has a terminal black dot, not a 'fly'.
  • Leaves are serrated and veins are pubescent underneath.
  • Leaf veins are impressed. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: The native holly leafminer, Japanese wax scale, and southern red mites are the most frequently reported pests of hollies in the southeastern United States. Leaf spots and powdery mildew occasionally occur. Plants will show a decline in alkaline soils.

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

More information on Ilex verticillata.

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#rain garden#wildlife plant#deciduous shrub#low maintenance#winter interest#fall interest#mass planting#air pollution tolerant#erosion control#year-round interest#showy fruits#hedges#low lying area#stream banks#food source wildlife#fire low flammability#deer resistant#foundation planting#yellow fruits#pond garden#orange fruits#small group plantings#wet soils tolerant#bird friendly#shrub borders
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#rain garden#wildlife plant#deciduous shrub#low maintenance#winter interest#fall interest#mass planting#air pollution tolerant#erosion control#year-round interest#showy fruits#hedges#low lying area#stream banks#food source wildlife#fire low flammability#deer resistant#foundation planting#yellow fruits#pond garden#orange fruits#small group plantings#wet soils tolerant#bird friendly#shrub borders
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ilex
    Species:
    verticillata
    Family:
    Aquifoliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    The Winterberry is a host plant for Henry's Elfin butterfly and attracts other pollinators and birds. Members of the genus Ilex support the following specialized bee: Colletes banksi. The foliage is food source for rabbits and occasionally deer though plants are resistant to damage.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Dimensions:
    Height: 5 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    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
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Orange-yellow 3/8 inch diameter fruits appear only if there is a male plant like 'Southern Gentleman' around to pollinate. They set in late summer but can persist into winter hence the common name. Fruits have a terminal black "dot" instead of a "fly" like the Rosaceae berries and are striking on naked branches.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Insignificant
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Tiny white flowers with a green/yellow center in leaf axils from May-June. Flowers, if properly pollinated, give way to a crop of bright red berries (1/4 inch diameter) in late summer to fall.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblanceolate
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Dark green leaves 2 to 3 inches long with obvious venation outline on top with a lighter green underside where the veins are obvious in a pale-green. Fall color is variable but sometimes attractive yellow-bronze.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Grey to blackish with knobby lenticel bark, grey to grey-brown buds.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Description:
    Stems are olive-brown to purplish-brown and are lenticelled.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Pond
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Rain Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Erosion
    Fire
    Heat
    Pollution
    Wet Soil
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Minor toxicity. Ingestion may cause vomiting, diarrhea, or other illness in humans.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Saponins
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits