Thursday, April 30, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 38: buttonbush (and new garden dreaming aside)

We’re having a lot of rain today so this is taken from the laundry room window. While I took the photo, a hummingbird passed by, and a squirrel ran across the garden and up a tree across the driveway. Neither were caught by the camera!

This buttonbush is a wonderful addition to the garden. The flowers are very unique and pollinators love them. The bush right in front of the buttonbush is an American beauty berry, and I’ve likely made a big mistake planting these two so close together. I’m not sure where to move the beauty berry to yet, so for now, it’s growing where it was planted.

I have a very large new bed awaiting creation in the front yard. Last spring we moved the grass paddock (also known as Salina’s Paddock) back to create space for a new pollinator bed. I had planned to put in plants in the fall, but life got busy and I didn’t get to it. For now, it has one butterfly bush, a sweet gum tree, beloved by the goldfinches, and a very active bluebird box. It may be the beauty berry will move to that new space as a centerpiece plant.

Back to the buttonbush - they are plants who love big rain events and are recommended for rain gardens. This corner of the terraced beds can have a large water flow when we get a lot of rain, so along with a hand-dug drainage ditch that leads to an underground pipe for overflow, the buttonbush roots are now securing that corner.

I’ll likely use buttonbush in a couple of other areas on the farm where rain run-off is an issue.

More info:

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush)
Marcus, Joseph A. 

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Cephalanthus occidentalis L.

Common Buttonbush, Buttonbush, Button Willow

Rubiaceae (Madder Family)

Synonym(s): Cephalanthus occidentalis var. californicusCephalanthus occidentalis var. pubescens

USDA Symbol: ceoc2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Common buttonbush is a multi-stemmed shrub which grows 6-12 ft. or occasionally taller. Leaves in pairs or in threes, petiolate; bladeup to 8 inches long, ovate to narrower, sometimes 1/3 or less as wide as long, with a pointed tip and rounded to tapered base, smooth margins and glossy upper surface, lower surface duller. Glossy, dark-green leaves lack significant fall color. Flowers small, borne in distinctive, dense, spherical clusters (heads) with a fringe of pistils protruded beyond the white corollas. Long-lasting, unusual blossoms are white or pale-pink, one-inch globes. Subsequent rounded masses of nutlets persist through the winter. Trunks are often twisted. Spreading, much-branched shrub or sometimes small tree with many branches (often crooked and leaning), irregular crown, balls of white flowers resembling pincushions, and buttonlike balls of fruit. 
Buttonbush is a handsome ornamental suited to wet soils and is also a honey plant. Ducks and other water birds and shorebirds consume the seeds.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 37: nodding onion (plus a new garden view)

I fell in love with the nodding onion last year when I saw them locally - possibly Debbie Roos’ demonstration pollinator gardens at Chatham Mills, or at the NC Botanical Garden, I’m not sure which. The NCBG had some in their plant shop in the fall and I got them to put at the front edge of my newest shade bed.

They overwintered well and are now coming up.

This isn’t the best photo - there’s so much in the background of the shady bed it all tends to blend together if I stand back further, but you can get a general idea. The flowers on these plants are beautiful and I’ll be sure and update when they bloom.

Meanwhile, here’s another garden view I love. The golden Alexander against the clematis, with the limbed-up hollies behind that. I love the way you can see through the trunks of the hollies. This is, in miniature form, exactly what I want to do with American hollies along our one fence line that has neighbors on its other side. Leave a little room along the fence to see through, but the upper part of the trees will be a solid screen. I hope I can get that going this fall, as it will take awhile even with 8-foot tall plantings. In my mind’s eye, though, I can see it. For now I look at this view and really love the combination.

More info on the nodding onions:

Allium cernuum

Allium cernuum Roth

Nodding Onion

Liliaceae (Lily Family)


USDA Symbol: alce2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Soft, grasslike leaves and a 1-2 ft., leafless flowering stalk rise from a bulb. The stem bends so that the pink flowers, borne in a cluster at the top, nod toward the ground. An umbel of many pink or white flowers at the tip of a long, erect, leafless stalk, bent like a shepherd’s crook; a basal cluster of several long, narrow leaves. All parts of the perennial have a mild, oniony scent. 
This plant is closely related to the Autumn Wild Onion (A. stellatum) but differs in its unique nodding flower cluster and earlier flowering. One of the rarer Carolinian species because of its restricted habitat.
It is principally found on Lake Erie islands, the southern most land in Canada.
It is edible and has medicinal uses similar to garlic. (Lamb/Rhynard).
Eaten sparingly by Northwest Coast First Nations. They were steamed in pits lined with cedar boughs and covered with lichen and alder boughs. After they were eaten, or dried in strings or on mats or pressed into cakes. EDIBLE PARTS: Leaves, bulbs and bulblets. Field garlic (A. vineale), introduced from Eurasia and northern Africa, is too strong for most tastes. Gather leaves during spring and fall. Gather bulbs in the second year when they are large enough to use like cultivated onions. Flower stem bulblets are collected during the summer. Use as domestic onions, for seasoning or raw in salads. Bulbs can be used raw, boiled, pickled or for seasoning. Their strong taste can be reduced by parboiling and discarding the water. To freeze onions or garlic, one should coarsely chop, blanch two minutes, drain, pat dry and place them into plastic bags. The bulbs can also be dried for use as seasoning. Use flower bulbs to flavor soup or for pickling. Attracts hairstreak butterfly. The city of Chicago gets its name from the Algonquin Indian name for this plant, chigagou.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 36: swamp sunflower

These are really cheerful flowers and this year I’m going to cut them back in June to help them branch out some. Last year they got very tall, like the goldenrod, and the entire upper terrace of the bed was hidden if you were standing on driveway level.

Not sure what’s happening with the yellowing leaves in the upper, larger plant, but it is time for me to order the mulch. I’ve put it off and put it off and I’m going to call tomorrow. Too many things on my plate with outside stuff!

More info:

Previously known as:

  • Coreopsis angustifolia
Phonetic Spelling
hee-lee-AN-thus an-gus-tee-FOH-lee-us
Swamp sunflower is a native perennial member of the aster family and can be found from NY to FL to TX. It is a large perennial that can grow up to 8 feet tall with showy yellow daisy-like flowers from mid to late summer into fall.  Prune plants back in June to encourage branching. It prefers moist to occasionally wet acidic sandy to clay loams in full sun. It can be grown on drier soils if adequate moisture is provided. It will tolerate part shade but flowers better in full sun. This plant is a favorite of pollinators and songbirds. There are shorter cultivars available if desired.
Use this plant in the back border of a native/pollinator garden, naturalized area or along streams and ponds. Give it room to grow and spread and you will have a profusion of late-season flowers when little else is blooming.

Insects Diseases and Other Plant Problems: Caterpillars and beetles often chew on the foliage but seldom cause enough damage to warrant management. Rust, leaf fungal spots and powdery mildew are somewhat common.  Because stems can be flimsy, plants may need to be staked, especially if planted in a windy location.  

Monday, April 27, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 35: obedient plant (plus two extremely colorful asides)

While looking through books trying to identify the threadleaf bluestar, I noticed the obedient plant and thought to myself, why haven’t I put that in anywhere? I made a mental note to do so in the fall. Then while out looking for today’s featured plant, I was standing in the dappled shade bed and couldn’t remember what one grouping was. I checked the marker. Bingo! Obedient plant!

I haven’t started on my shady beds yet but I can’t resist the synchronicity. The three obedient plants I planted last fall are coming up and looking very nice. They get afternoon sun, dappled by the overhanging trees, and I think when they mature they’ll be very pretty there.

Look for more info at the bottom of this post, but I also can’t resist showing off my new garden cart. We have wheelbarrows at the barn and a dedicated haybarrow, but I’ve been using an old cracked water bucket to put weeds into when I’m working in the beds, or just walking them over to the brush piles over and over again.

I used this cart today and it was so nice to be able to go at the weeds and dump them all at the end. Plus I love purple and this just makes me happy.

And, as if this colorful cart isn’t enough, yesterday I put a second coat of bright fuchsia milk paint on Artemis hive and when I took the top off to get started, found this gorgeous but slightly alien-like creature sitting there. I learned today that its common name is Eyed Elater or Eyed Click Beetle. Supposedly it can click itself and pop 5-6 feet into the air. I assure you if it had done that yesterday,  I would have spilled another container of milk paint! Thankfully it was very calm and kept me company most of the time I painted.

It was nearly 2 inches long.

More info on the obedient plant:
Physostegia virginiana (Fall obedient plant)
Cressler, Alan 

Physostegia virginiana

Physostegia virginiana (L.) Benth.

Fall Obedient Plant, False Dragonhead, Virginia Lions-heart

Lamiaceae (Mint Family)


USDA Symbol: phvi8

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

4 ft. stems which frequently grow in clumps and bear long, lanceolate leaves and a 4-6 in., terminal spikes of pink to lavender, tubular flowers. Opposite, pinkish flowers in a spike-like cluster along upper part of a square stem. The perennial’s long-lasting flowers have five triangular lobes, two forming an upper lip and three forming a lower lip. 
This attractive plant is snapdragon-like, but its square stem is typical of the mint family. If the flowers are bent, they tend to stay in the new position for a while, hence the common name Obedient Plant. Several garden forms occasionally escape to the wild. Flowers can be swivelled into new positions where they stay obediently. (Ontario Native Plants 2002)

Sunday, April 26, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 34: threadleaf bluestar

This plant defied identification and it’s taken me a few days to sit down and research it. Its name tag in the garden has been lost and I couldn’t find my notebook that has my original planting design plan. It was a good exercise in using some books and online databases to figure it out.

I also can’t remember where I purchased it - though I think probably the NC Botanical Garden sale. My sources for plants all sell natives only, so this makes me think it has been found someplace in NC.

It turns out this is an uncommon variation of eastern bluestar, found in Oklahoma and Arkansas, so it’s a US native, but I can’t find anything that says it’s a NC native. It’s listed as a vulnerable plant globally due to its rarity.

In any case, it’s a lovely plant, blooming now and the leaves turn a lovely color in the fall, so it has multi-seasonal interest in the garden bed. The thin leaves add a nice texture to the garden, too.

Here it is today:

It takes up this entire corner of the bed and is growing beautifully in the garden.

More info:

Amsonia hubrichtii 

Common Name: blue star 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apocynaceae
Native Range: South-central United States
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Powdery blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best fall foliage color usually occurs in full sun, but flowers generally last longer if given some afternoon shade in hot sun areas. Stems tend to open up and flop in too much shade, however. Consider cutting back the stems by about 6" after flowering to help keep stems upright and to shape plants into a nice foliage mound.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Amsonia hubrichtii, commonly called bluestar, Arkansas amsonia or Hubricht's amsonia, is an uncommon perennial that is native to the Ouachita Mountains in central Arkansas. It is very similar in appearance to the Missouri native Amsonia ciliata, except the leaves of A. hubrichtii are more narrow and thread-like and the emerging foliage lacks conspicuous hairiness. An erect, clump-forming plant that is primarily grown in cultivation for its blue spring flowers, feathery green summer foliage and golden fall color. Powdery blue, 1/2" star-like flowers appear in terminal clusters in late spring atop stems rising to 3' tall. Feathery, soft-textured, needle-like, alternate leaves are bright green in spring and summer, but turn bright gold in autumn. From a distance plants have an almost lily-like appearance.
Specific epithet honors Leslie Hubricht who first discovered it growing in the wild in the early 1940s.

Genus name honors 18th-century Virginian physician Dr. Charles Amson.

Specific epithet honors Leslie Hubricht who first discovered it growing in the wild in the early 1940s.


No serious insect or disease problems. Plants may flop, particularly if not cut back after flowering.

Garden Uses

Borders, rock gardens, native plant garden, cottage garden or open woodland area. Best when massed.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 33: Joe Pye weed (and a favorite garden view)

Joe Pye weed is one of my favorites in the pollinator beds, feathery, tall, muted color, and lasts a long time. It also gets VERY tall and while I had originally put it in the center of the front bed, where it actually did well and looked lovely, by summer’s end it was laying prone on top of other shorter things and I realized it needed a different spot in the garden.

Late in the fall I moved the Joe Pye to the trellis wall in the back of the bed. I get tired of that white grid pattern being so prominent visually and I’m hoping the Joe Pye will like the intense full sun that area gets in the summer.

Given that the plants were dormant by the time I moved them, I wasn’t sure what would happen come spring, but here they are:

They can still fall forward, but I can use the trellis to attach a line across if needed, or I can learn a lesson and cut these very tall growing plants back mid-season so they bloom but don’t just go up and up and up.

If you see me posting photos of goldenrod in the lower bed over 3 feet tall please remind me of this.

Yesterday I was in the garden and glanced up - capturing one of my favorite garden views. I have little stone pathways that wind through the beds, mostly so I can get in easily to weed, but also because there are angles for viewing that make my eyes and heart sing. My beds are mostly for the pollinators and birds, it’s true, but they also serve as space to stop and ponder the beauty they offer. I try to stand and enjoy them this way for a portion of every chore time I spend in them. It is like taking a long cool sip of water on a very hot day.

This is one of my favorite views, and it’s only visible while the baptisia are blooming. There are other flowering plants that will come when these fade, but today, right now, this is what I love looking at:

The baptisia tall and white and purple, reaching up to the sun, the bluebird box, the green of the foliage and the brown earth, the silvery gray path and driveway curving to the distant gateway. It’s a story, a little journey, to what is beyond that curve, what the gate opens to. I could stand here all day and just ponder those questions.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Happy Birthday Little Man and Keil Bay!

I cannot believe it but Little Man is now 20 and Keil Bay is 31 years old. We had a party in the grass paddock again as that proved to be a popular way to celebrate for this herd.

The donka boys were beside me so they were at the party but just not in the photo.

Couple of interesting things on the farm today.

Coyote in Arcadia (photo by husband):

And the first coneflower of 2020:

Happy birthday to the boys - we love you! You are both amazing and bring so much joy to all of us.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

November Hill farm journal, 97

Time for a whole farm update. We are in jungle mode now, with all our large trees fully leafed out and lush, green, and happy just in time for Earth Day.

I spent some time yesterday walking the farm and looking at what’s happening outside my pollinator beds.

In the riding arena (and now also dog agility course) I found this very long and beautiful snake skin stretched along the ground. I feel sure it’s a black snake and if I’m lucky he/she has moved into the barn and was out here sunning before shedding.

In Poplar Folly, one of the trees that Duke Energy cut. We’ve left the remainders, some of which is stacked for firewood, some larger sections I’d hoped to get made into lumber for our feed room, have been repurposed in creating terraces to slow rain run-off. There are several of these stump stacks which are making unusual and interesting “sculptures” - and growing various lichens which I’ve been reading are like medicine for various bees.

My tree of life flags are fading but still hanging in the breeze. I put these up when Duke first notified us that they intended to cut not only the 7 trees we allowed them to take down, but approximately 40 more. The entirety of Poplar Folly would be decimated had we not filed a complaint with the NC Utilities Commission and stopped them.

Here’s a tulip poplar branch in the front pasture, simply loaded with flowers!

While on my walk I had a wild hair and added a new element for the dog agility course. Green duct tape has a higher calling! Why I never did this when we were making jumps for horses I can’t tell you.

And an interesting tree stump in Poplar Folly. One trunk but clearly two separate trees that at some point merged. I love the pattern from above.

And a gorgeous patch of native ferns on the side strip in front. We have ferns volunteering all over the farm, and we leave them untouched. This is a new strip that has come up this spring and are thriving. I need to get out my books and see if I can ID this one. We have different kinds, and all are distinct and different when you look closely. If you look really closely, you’ll also see a baby tulip poplar and a couple of hollies.

I hope everyone spent at least a little time on Earth Day out in nature, or looking at photographs of nature. The earth is our home, and she’s beautiful. She gives solace and shelter, food and air, water and peace. We must take care of her.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 32: New York ironweed

This is such a pretty plant, tall and leaning slightly at maturity with deep fuchsia flowers and seed heads that stay interesting well into the winter. Pollinators, natives, and wildlife friendly too.

While these are quite tall and most would put them at the back of a garden, my front bed only has a short side that is truly at the “back.” It’s bordered on one side by our driveway, and the other by the walkway to our front door, and the piece at the confluence of drive and walkway is where I put these. They are on the lower side of the sloped bed, and tend to lean over the driveway’s edge, and in a way they form a sort of “flagship” effect at the narrowing end of the bed.

They are just coming up now, and it’s hard to believe that by summer’s end they’ll be taller than I am.

I have several clusters in this area and they will be prominent in the next few months. 

More info:

Vernonia noveboracensis (New york ironweed)
Brundage, Stephanie 

Vernonia noveboracensis

Vernonia noveboracensis (L.) Michx.

New York Ironweed

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Vernonia harperi


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

New York ironweed is a tall, clump-forming perennial, growing 5-8 ft. in height. Slightly rough stems bear lance-shaped, deep-green leaves. Small flower heads occur in large, loosely branched, flat-topped, terminal clusters. Flowers are all of the disk type and deep reddish-purple in color. Tall erect stem branches toward the summit, with each branch bearing a cluster of deep lavender to violet flower heads; together, clusters form a loose spray. 
This often roughish plant is common in wet open bottomland fields. It typically has more flowers per head than Tall Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea).

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 31: woodland stonecrop

So, this little plant is a ground covering succulent that is mostly found in shade. I have a small section of the front pollinator bed that stays shaded from April - November, and I wanted something to hug the ground there. This was a good choice, I think, but I get all kinds of weeds trying to encroach in this same space, so I think sometimes I end up pulling out the woodland stonecrop with the weeds!

This year I’m trying to be more mindful and I’ve let the weeds creep in until I can be sure that what I’m pulling out is not what I planted there.

Our walkway is stone with gaps between, so I actually let the wild things grow along there and we just weed-eat down a bit if needed, so there’s a fine line between where I let things grow wild and where I want a bit more order.

In any case, this is a very sweet plant and I hope to see it really spread out this year with me paying a bit more attention to what I’m doing around it.

If you look closely you’ll see about 5 other things trying to mix in with it. The competition is fierce in that corner of the bed!

More info:
Sedum ternatum (Woodland stonecrop)
Cressler, Alan 

Sedum ternatum

Sedum ternatum Michx.

Woodland Stonecrop, Wild Stonecrop

Crassulaceae (Stonecrop Family)

Synonym(s): Clausenellia ternata

USDA Symbol: sete3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (I)

The creeping stems of this rock-loving perennial usually send up a single flowering branch, 4-8 in. high, and several shorter, leafier, non-flowering branches. The succulent, light-green leaves are arranged alternately or in whorls of three. Flowers are white with five, pointed petals and occur in a three-branched terminal clusters. 
Woods Stonecrop is a member of the sedum family (family Crassulaceae), which includes succulent herbs or small shrubs, commonly with star-like flowers in branched clusters. There are about 35 genera and 1,500 species. Many are cultivated as ornamentals or succulent novelties, including Jade Tree, Stonecrops, and Air Plant. Vegetative reproduction is common in the family, and in some members little plantlets grow along the leaves, drop to the ground, and root.

Monday, April 20, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 30: butterfly weed

This is a bright orange flowering plant that is a host for Monarchs, and it’s a huge joy to find their caterpillars all over it as the season progresses. It also attracts milkweed bugs, which some consider pests, but we love them because daughter raised a couple for a class at one point and we had them in a large jar on our nature shelf for over a year.

More info:

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)
Cressler, Alan 

Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias tuberosa L.

Butterflyweed, Butterfly Milkweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root, Chigger Flower

Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)


USDA Symbol: astu

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

This bushy, 1 1/2-2 ft. perennial is prized for its large, flat-topped clusters of bright-orange flowers. The leaves are mostly alternate, 1 1/2-2 1/4 inches long, pointed, and smooth on the edge. The yellow-orange to bright orange flower clusters, 2-5 inches across, are at the top of the flowering stem. The abundance of stiff, lance-shaped foliage provides a dark-green backdrop for the showy flower heads. 
This showy plant is frequently grown from seed in home gardens. Its brilliant flowers attract butterflies. Because its tough root was chewed by the Indians as a cure for pleurisy and other pulmonary ailments, Butterfly Weed was given its other common name, Pleurisy Root. Although it is sometimes called Orange Milkweed, this species has no milky sap.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 29: blue sage

These are new this year and I’m curious to see how they look when they bloom. I’m finding all kinds of things coming up that aren’t familiar and I think it’s because I kept getting plants last fall and tucking them in without much fanfare at all. Here’s to surprise in the garden!

More info:

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: blue sage 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to October
Bloom Description: Azure blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates drought. Prefers moist, gravelly or sandy soils with good drainage. Plant stems may be cut back by up to 1/2 in late spring to promote compactness and prevent stem flopping. Plants may repeat bloom from summer to fall, but need regular moisture to encourage this. Remove spent flower spikes to help extend the bloom period. If plant foliage depreciates in hot summer conditions to the point where it looks unsightly, consider trimming back. In any event, cut plants back after flowering has concluded.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Salvia azurea, commonly called blue sage, is a clump-forming perennial that typically grows to 3-5’ tall (shorter if pruned). Whorls of 2-lipped, azure blue flowers bloom in spikes from mid-summer to fall atop stiff stems clad with linear to lanceolate to obovate, grayish-green leaves (to 3-4” long). Salvia azurea var. azurea is native from North Carolina and Tennessee south to Florida and Texas. Salvia azurea var. grandiflora grows further west to New Mexico and further north to Nebraska and Minnesota. Although similar in appearance, var. grandiflora has larger flowers and is often considered to be a better garden plant than var. azurea.

The genus name Salvia comes from the Latin word salveo meaning "to save or heal", in reference to the purported medically curative properties attributed to some plants in the genus.

Specific epithet means sky-blue for the azure blue flowers.


No serious insect or disease problems.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 28: possum haw

These holly natives are so beautiful and are great pollinators and wildlife friendly trees - I planted these two last fall. I’m surprised they actually made it; the area I planted them is a major dog highway for our three when they go out on farm romps, and these possum haws were uprooted many times between the dogs running through/over and certain very large pollinators uprooting them.

You can barely see them in this shot, but there’s a possum haw in the center of each fence panel.

Here’s a closer look:

I managed to get a shot of the large pollinators who messed with them all winter:

This was before I cut back the iris and daffodil leaves.

I’m looking forward to seeing these possum haws grow and mature. I can imagine how they’ll look with their bright orange berries in the fall/winter against the backdrop of the barn.

More info:
Ilex decidua (Possumhaw)
Northington, David K. 

Ilex decidua

Ilex decidua Walter

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

Aquifoliaceae (Holly Family)

Synonym(s): Ilex curtissiiIlex 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.