En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - October 22, 2009

From: Westchester, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Winterberry holly not fruiting
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Regarding Ilex verticillata, which I have planted in a partial sun, somewhere between all dry and all wet location, i don't see any red berries, and it's mid-october. We are in the 'burbs of just outside NYC. When they were planted a year ago, they did have a few berries on the branches. It has been a wet, wet, wet summer and fall for that matter. Any help would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

All Ilex plants are dioecious, which means that the male and female parts of the flowers are on different plants.  That means that in order to have holly berries there must be a male holly blooming within a pollinator's reach of a female plant.

When you planted your plant it had berries on it as a result of it having been pollinated in the spring at the nursery where the "boys" were close by.  As long as you know the name of the cultivar you purchased, the nursery where you bought it should be able to provide you with the appropriate male plant. Once you have the male, you should be back in the berry business as it sounds like the plant is happy otherwise and placed in the right environment to thrive.

Ilex verticillata (common winterberry)


Ilex verticillata
 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification of shrub with thorns and purple flowers
July 05, 2011 - I have a small tree or shrub, it has very small or thin thorns on the branches. It blooms in April / May. The flowers are purple. My mother-in-law said that it has been around for over 100 years, b...
view the full question and answer

Orange and fuschia flowers on bushes in Maine
July 01, 2008 - I recently visited Portland,ME from end of May to the second week in June. many of the homes had these beautiful flowering bushes next to the houses. The flowers grew in clusters similar to hydrangeas...
view the full question and answer

Identification of purple wildflower shaped like a bottle rocket
June 19, 2013 - Dear Smarty Plants, the other day while driving north on 281 from San Antonio I noticed a purple wildflower that was shaped sort of like a bottle rocket, seemed to have leaves similar to verbena and ...
view the full question and answer

Identifying Rhus lanceolata in Texas
April 28, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I think I've identified two small trees, 4 to 5 feet high at the back fence line and two in the front yard flower beds as prairie flameleaf sumac (or at least some kind of s...
view the full question and answer

Nomenclatural puzzles
March 25, 2008 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants. I have been looking all day for this information. I am look for a plant that is in the genus Cucumis but not in the family Cucurbitacea. A plant that is in the family Cucurbit...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center