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Winterberry is a relatively insignificant woodland plant until its brilliant red berries light up the winter landscape. It is a native shrub of eastern wetlands and provides excellent habitat for songbirds.

Latin Name

Ilex verticillata



Also Known As

Swamp Holly Brook Alder

Type of Plant

Shrubs Shrubs


Fall Fall
Winter Winter


Max height Max Height: 12'
Max spread Max Spread: 12'


  • Hedge
  • Rain Garden

  • Sunlight Exposure

    Full Sun Full Sun
    Part Shade Part Shade


  • Air Pollution
  • Clay Soil
  • Erosion
  • Wet Soil

  • Attracted Wildlife

    Birds Birds


    Do not ingest Do not ingest


    Native Range

    Eastern North America


    In a January 1785 diary entry, Washington remarked, "I discovered in tracing it upwards many small & thriving plants of the Magnolio and about & within the Fence, not far distant, some young Maple Trees; & the red berry of the Swamp."

    Other Details

    Grown by Washington Grown by Washington

    Planted at Mount Vernon

    Planted at Mount Vernon Upper Garden

  • Upper Garden

  • Hardiness Zones

    3a 3b 4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b 7a 7b 8a 8b 9a 9b USDA basemap

    Average annual extreme minimum temperature 1976-2005

    map legend 3a 3b 4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b 7a 7b 8a 8b 9a 9b

    Bartlett Tree Expert Company has been working with Mount Vernon Estate since 2011 providing expert arboricultural care and GPS mapping for the estate’s historic trees, as well as support from their research facility.   Mount Vernon is proud to partner with Bartlett Tree Experts and appreciates their sponsorship of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Plant Finder App.

    Bring Washington's Garden Home

    Purchase our historic seeds, collected from plants grown at Mount Vernon and plant them in your own garden.

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