Ilex montana

Ilex montana - mountain winterberry, mountain holly
Image: Payton, Gregory
Common name: mountain winterberry, mountain holly
Family: Aquifoliaceae (holly family)
Synonym: Ilex ambigua var. montana
Distribution: e. United States (chiefly App. region)
IUCN Red list: Least concern
Hardiness: USDA Zone 5
Life form: Deciduous shrub/Subshrub
Comments: This is an upright shrub to a small tree, usually with multiple stems, commonly growing to 20 ft. tall but sometimes
reaching 40 ft. or more. It grows in moist forests mostly at high elevations from southern New England to Georgia. This holly has larger spineless leaves and larger fruit than most hollies. It is dioecious so a male and female plant is needed for fruit set. The fruit often hangs on the tree into mid-winter. Because the berries are available in the coldest months, they are valuable food for wildlife. The bark of the tree is an attractive reddish-brown, and its leaves generally turn yellow before dropping in late autumn. This is a good choice for a semi-wild area in open woods. Use for winter interest, naturalized areas and to attract pollinators and birds. Because the sexes of young plants are difficult to determine, you should plant at least four or five specimens and hope that some are female. One male can normally pollinate several females, but in most cases you won't know the sex distribution when you do the planting. Grow in average, moist, well-drained soils in sun to partial shade.
Links: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN Taxonomy)The Plant ListUSDA PLANTS Database - US Department of Agriculture


  • 1: DWD: AK06 (AK06) • Accession: D1929-0007.001 • Provenance: Cultivated of Garden Origin
  • 2: DWD: AK06 (AK06) • Accession: D1929-0007.002 • Provenance: Cultivated of Garden Origin
  • 3: DWD: AK06 (AK06) • Accession: D1929-0007.003 • Provenance: Cultivated of Garden Origin
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