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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - November 17, 2012

From: Saint Ignace, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Availability of Michigan Holly berries in Northern Michigan
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live in Northern Michigan, and am new in the wreath making business. Last year I found Michigan Holly berries and used them for my wreaths. They have the most beautiful berries I have ever seen, and last all winter. They were very plentiful last year, however, I am having a terrible time finding them this year. I have gone back to the places that I found them last year and there is nothing. Could you tell me when they usually rippen and if the climate has to be just right before they do. Your help is greatly appreciated!!!Thank you, Thank you,

ANSWER:

Michigan Holly Ilex verticillata (Common winterberry) is a beautiful plant during the fall and winter, and as you can see from this distribution map, it is quite prevalent throughout the state. You say you have used it before, but I want to make sure you are aware of this caveat found on its NPIN profile page: 

Warning: All Ilex species may be somewhat toxic if ingested. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a person’s age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plant’s different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.

Bloom time is from April to July, and the berries persist through fall into winter. The woods should be resplendent with them  about now. When you say looked for them and foud nothing, does this mean no Holly berries or no Holly plants?  For information about this problem closer to home, you might try this link to the Michigan Botanical Society, which is the Native Plant Society of Michigan.

For information about wreath making check out this article in our Step by Step Guide .

There is a very well illustrated article on native holly plants in the Winter 2012 issue of Wildflower, The Magazine of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center ; vol. 29, no 3. Members of the Wildflower Center receive a subscrition to the magazine as a benefit of membership.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common winterberry
Ilex verticillata

More Shrubs Questions

Shade-loving plants for birds in New Jersey
March 25, 2013 - What native plants should I add to my property, Zone 6, to feed birds naturally? I have a heavily treed lot, so I'd like names of shade loving perennials. Seed or fruit bearing options would be gre...
view the full question and answer

Flowering shrub for Jeffersonville, IN
October 18, 2010 - I live in Southern Indiana and am wanting to change some of my landscaping. I have 2 fairly large double pink (?) knock out bushes and another lighter shade of pink knock out bush. I am looking for ...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing of leaves in Texas Mountain Laurel from Austin
June 25, 2012 - I planted a Texas Mountain Laurel in my Austin, TX yard this January. The tree was good sized (about 5 feet tall) when I planted it. Recently the leaves of the tree have started to turn yellow alon...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Ageratina havenensis from Magnolia TX
June 18, 2013 - I planted a Eupatorium havanense last year here in the last sandy finger of the piney woods; it gets full sun in a well-drained raised bed, where it flowered well. I pruned it fairly close, and it cam...
view the full question and answer

Climbing native roses for Garland TX
December 02, 2011 - I live in Garland, Dallas County, TX and would like climbing roses on the trellis situated against my brick home. What kind would you recommend for the area and any that would be easy to care for. T...
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