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North MS Fish Hatchery

 

 

Mississippi Native: Possumhaw Holly

(Ilex decidua)

Downloadable Brochure: POSSUMHAW HOLLY

Other Name/s:

Deciduous Holly, Swamp Holly, Bearberry, and Winterberry

Description/Season:

Possumhaw is a small tree that can be trimmed into a shrub. This perennial has dark green leaves that turn yellow in the fall.

Blooming occurs March – May followed by berry production. These tiny flowers form clusters of berries on the limbs of the female tree. Berries are green then change to orange and deep red. These berries last through winter into early spring.

Size:

The possumhaw can grow to an average height of 15 feet. Its leaves grow to a length of approximately 3 inches.

Habitat:

Native to Mississippi, this holly can be found in river bottoms and moist, wooded areas.

Interesting Facts:

This native plant makes a nice accent tree/shrub. The berries attract numerous species of birds, including cedar waxwings. The berries also attract insects and small mammals. It provides good nesting areas for birds and is moderately resistant to deer.

The limbs are covered in berries; these limbs are used in ornamental and holiday arrangements.      

Planting/Pruning Tips:

Seeds germinate best if planted right after gathering. Soil needs to be warm and moist.

Possumhaw holly are bushy plants. If planting multiple bushes, leave room between plants for them to grow.

When pruning wear protective clothing to prevent cuts from the tough branches.

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