En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Fog fruit?
June 29, 2009 - In your native plant database listing for Phyla nodiflora one of the common names seems to be misspelled (fog instead of frog). FYI, if wrong, please let me know.
view the full question and answer

What is the bush that has very bright red berries in the fall/winter and no leaves?
December 27, 2015 - What is the name of the bush that has very bright red berries in the fall/winter and no leaves? I am familiar with amour honeysuckle, and I'm sure that it is not that.
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine in New York
May 15, 2012 - I have a flowering vine that grows against my home and I'm not sure what it is, but it's beautiful with a delicate scent. The flowers look like clusters of mini purple pea pods hanging downward befo...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a vine with 3 leaves and a red trunk
January 02, 2014 - What is a vine with 3 leaves that has a red trunk?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
November 14, 2008 - On our farm we found a plant that we had never seen before. It has long stems coming from center ground level and is about 3 feet tall, looks like a fern from far off. The leaves (length of finger) ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center