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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Ilex decidua (Possumhaw)
Northington, David K.

Ilex decidua

Ilex decidua Walter

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

Aquifoliaceae (Holly Family)

Synonym(s): Ilex curtissii, Ilex decidua var. curtissii

USDA Symbol: ilde

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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.

 

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 , DC , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , OK , SC , TN , TX , VA
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

Propagation

Description: Seeds germinate best if planted immediately after collection. They may be pretreated with double-stratification but the essential element seems to be time. Once internal conditions in the seed are right (it may take years), it will germinate in warm moi
Seed Treatment: Some benefit may be obtained from 30-60 days treatment at 68-86 degrees followed by 60-90 days of 41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

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National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACW FACW FAC FACW
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Wrights Nursery - Briggs, TX
Hill Country Natives - Leander, TX
Far South Wholesale Nursery - Austin, TX

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge - Wimberley, TX
Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0094 Collected April 10, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0233 Collected Mar. 27, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0592 Collected Oct 19, 1990 in Comal County by Harry Cliffe

3 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Bibliography

Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1988 VOL. 5, NO.5 - Penny Campaign Grows Oklahoma Wildflowers, Wildflower Center Collects Honors, Di...
Wildflower Newsletter 1996 VOL. 13, NO.6 - Winter Wonderland, Origins of the Christmas Tree, Development Director\\\'s Repo...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Ilex decidua in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ilex decidua in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ilex decidua

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-09-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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