Ilex verticillata (Linnaeus) A. Gray
Aquifoliaceae (Holly) Family
Common Winterberry is a native deciduous shrub. It can be found throughout Alabama growing in bogs, along streams and creeks, in hardwood floodplains, and in seeps. It is a multi-stemmed shrub reaching heights of 15-20 feet. The stems are green or brown in color and glabrous or pubescent. The bark on the older stems and trunks is smooth and gray in color. Its preferred habitat is moist to wet soil in full to partial sun.
The leaves are alternate, petiolate, obovate to elliptic in outline, with serrate margins. The leaves are smooth or pubescent on the lower surface. The leaves turn black when touched by frost. Common Winterberry is dioecious, with separate plants producing either male or female flowers.
The flowers are produced in cymes in the axils of the leaves in spring; greenish-white in color and have 5 ciliate sepals and 5 petals.
Fruit is a red drupe that remains on the shrub into the winter months. The fruit of Common Winterberry are consumed by a variety of birds.