Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Ilex decidua


Possumhaw, Possumhaw Holly, Deciduous Holly, Winterberry, Deciduous yaupon


Aquifoliaceae (Holly Family)



Ilex decidua (Possumhaw)
Northington, David K.
Deciduous holly or possum haw is a small, deciduous tree or shrub,15-30 ft. tall, with pale gray, twiggy, horizontal branches. Glossy, oval, toothed leaves remain dark green through autumn, finally turning yellow. Inconspicuous flowers precede clusters of persistant, red berries on female trees which provide winter color.

Possum Haw is conspicuous in winter, with its many, small, red berries along leafless, slender, gray twigs. Opossums, raccoons, other mammals, songbirds, and gamebirds eat the fruit of this and related species.

Image Gallery:

41 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Root Type: Tap
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Obovate
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Margin: Crenate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Dioecious
Size Notes: 15-30
Leaf: Green above, paler below
Fruit: Red, Orange
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MS , MO , NC , OK , SC , TN , TX , VA , DC
Native Distribution: VA to s. IL & s. MO, s. to FL Panhandle & c. TX
Native Habitat: Low, wet woods; coastal plains; river bottoms

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist sands, loams or clays. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: Deciduous holly or possum haw is a small, deciduous tree or shrub with pale gray, twiggy, horizontal branches. Glossy, oval, toothed leaves remain dark green through autumn, finally turning yellow. Inconspicuous flowers precede clusters of persistant, red berries on female trees which provide winter color.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Understory tree, Fruits ornamental, Accent tree or shrub
Use Wildlife: Berries attract songbirds. Fruit-mammals, Fruit-birds, Nesting site, Nectar-insects
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Last Update: 2013-09-07