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Possumhaw Holly

Ilex decidua

Other common name(s):

Possumhaw, Deciduous Holly, Meadow Holly, Prairie Holly, Swamp Holly, Welk Holly, Deciduous Yaupon, Bearberry, Winterberry

Family:

Aquifoliaceae (Holly Family)

Plant Ecoregion Distribution Map

Cross Timbers, East Central Texas Plains, Edwards Plateau, Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes, Texas Blackland Prairies, Western Gulf Coastal Plain
Eastern Cross Timbers, Grand Prairie, Limestone Cut Plain, Western Cross Timbers
Bastrop Lost Pines, Floodplains and Low Terraces2, Northern Post Oak Savanna, Northern Prairie Outliers, San Antonio Prairie, Southern Post Oak Savanna
Balcones Canyonlands, Edwards Plateau Woodland
Floodplains and Low Terraces4, Northern Humid Gulf Coastal Prairies, Texas-Louisiana Coastal Marshes
Floodplains and Low Terraces1, Northern Blackland Prairie, Southern Blackland Prairie
Flatwoods, Floodplains and Low Terraces3, Pleistocene Fluvial Terraces, Red River Bottomlands, Southern Tertiary Uplands, Tertiary Uplands

Plant Characteristics

Growth Form

Shrub

Height

12
to
20
ft.

Spread

6
to
12
ft.

Leaf Retention

Deciduous

Lifespan

Perennial

Habitat and Care Requirements

Soil Type(s)

Sand, Loam, Clay, Caliche, Poor Drainage

Light Requirement

Sun

Water Requirement

Low, Medium

Native Habitat

Woodland

Bloom and Attraction

Bloom Color

White

Bloom Season

Spring

Seasonal Interest

Berry, Nectar, Nesting Material

Wildlife Benefit

Butterflies, Birds, Small Mammals, Bees

Maintenance

If necessary, selectively prune to fit garden space. Tolerates poor drainage. Shade-tolerant.

Comments

Blooms March-May. Bright red berries on bare branches in winter. Fruits best in full sun; must have a female for berries. Similar to Yaupon Holly but looses its leaves in winter. Appropriate for use near overhead and underground utilities. Replaces Invasives: Scarlet Firethorn, Pyracantha
Previous Scientific Name(s): Synonym(s): Ilex curtissii, Ilex decidua var. curtissii

References

1) Griffith, Bryce, Omernick & Rodgers (2007). Ecoregions of Texas. 2) Miller, George O., Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas 2nd Ed., 2013, pg 48. 3) Wasowski and Wasowski, Native Texas Plants Landscaping Region by Region, 1991, pg. 291. 4) https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ILDE. 5) https://portal.torcherbaria.org/portal/taxa/index.php?taxon=Ilex+decidua&formsubmit=Search+Terms. 6) http://bonap.net/TDC/Image/Map?taxonType=Species&taxonId=1586&locationType=County&mapType=Normal. 7) https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=27998#null, 8) Native and Adapted Landscape Plants, City of Austin and Texas A&M, 2014.
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