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Ilex decidua (meadow holly, also called "possumhaw", "deciduous holly" or "swamp holly") native to the United States. This is an upright shrub or small tree that is typically between 10 and 15 feet at maturity though it may grow larger provided partial shade. I. decidua grows many thin trunks and stems in a clumping fashion.

Because of its attractive "berries", this tree is often used as a winter ornamental plant and branches may be collected for use as Christmas decorations. The Audubon society specifically included I. decidua among their recommendations for bird-safe outdoor holiday decorations.

From March to May small white flowers bloom among the leaves which produce small Drupe fruits ripening in early autumn. Fruits are red, with a diameter of 4–8 mm. Following leaf drop, fruits persist on the tree throughout the winter producing a showy winter sight against the bare branches. While they have reached maturity by autumn, producing 3-5 seeds each, it is not until the spring, after they've been exposed to freezing and thawing, that the bitter fruits become a favorite food source of many birds and mammals.

Ilex decidua is a common plant, growing in the US in Alabama, Arkansas, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. It also grows in the northern Mexico states of Chihuahua and Coahuila.

It prefers land in floodplains and the margins of swamps or lakes, and grows at elevations up to about 360 m. It can often be found on limestone glades and bluffs, along streams in wet woods, and in lowland valleys, sloughs and swamps.

The fruits attract songbirds and small mammals. Bobwhite quail also feed on the fruit. Deer browse on young twigs.

Type: Hardy shrub/tree

Hardiness zones: 5-10

Seeds per pack: 10

Note: Ornamental use only. These seeds and/or plants are poisonous.

GerminationSurface sow in a sterile seed-start mix. Water, and place in plastic, and in the fridge for 60 days for cold stratification. Then bring to warmth for them to germinate. Keep continually moist.

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