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Monday - June 02, 2008

From: Alexandria, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Is Ilex glabra Shamrock a female cultivar
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I have an ilex glabra "shamrock". Is it a FEMALE cultivar? I have only found information that the "compacta" and the "nigra" are females. I have a male ilex glabra and was hoping to have berries for the wildlife.Thanks.


It is not absolutely clear from the information available whether Ilex glabra 'Shamrock' is female or can be either male or female. Missouri Botanical Gardens is somewhat ambiguous about whether 'Shamrock' can be either male or female. On the other hand they do say that 'Compacta' is a female cultivar and the University of Connecticut Horticulture site also says that 'Compacta' is a female cultivar. The University of Ohio Horticulture site also says the 'Nordic' (or 'Chamzin') is a male cultivar. Ohio State University and Floridata both have the same information about 'Compacta' and 'Nordic'. None of these sites designate 'Shamrock' as either male or female, so I suspect that 'Shamrock' could have either male or female flowers. You would have to wait until it blooms to be certain. Duke University has good photos of the male flowers of Ilex glabra. I couldn't find a photograph of female flowers, but you can see a line drawing of both male (right) and female (left) flowers on the USDA Plants Database. Male flowers appear in clusters. Female flowers are single. You do need a female plant in order to get berries so if you want an Ilex glabra (inkberry) with berries, you might look for a 'Compacta' cultivar.

Ilex glabra

Ilex glabra



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