Japanese Holly – Ilex crenata

Species of holly native to eastern China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Evergreen shrub or small tree growing up to 10ft tall, with a trunk diameter up to 20cm. The leaves are glossy dark green, small, with a crenate margin, sometimes spiny. Flowers are dioecious, white, four-lobed. The fruit is a black drupe containing 4 seeds. It grows well in acidic soil. It is grown as an ornamental plant for its dense evergreen foliage.

Possum Haw – Ilex decidua

Deciduous shrub or small tree with spreading crown and bright red berries. Height: 20 ft. Diameter: 6 in. Leaves: spoon-shaped or narrowly obovate; mostly clustered on short spur twigs, alternate on vigorous twigs, finely wavy-toothed. Dull green above, paler and hairy on veins beneath. Bark: light brown to gray, thin, smooth or warty. Twigs: light gray, slender, hairless. Flowers: 1/4 “ wide, with 4 rounded white petals. Flower in spring, with male and females on separate plants.

Habitat: moist soils along streams and in swamps. Possumhaw 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.