Ilex decidua





  • native to from Texas east
  • zone 5

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous, small tree
  • 9' to 18' tall and slightly less as wide
  • multibranched and multi-stemmed
  • branches are held horizontally
  • suckers
  • medium texture
  • slow growing

Summer Foliage

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • simple, deciduous leaves
  • 1.5" to 3" long
  • cuneate leaf margins
  • dark green leaf color
  • pubescent

Autumn Foliage

  • yellow fall color


  • tiny, white flowers
  • dioecious
  • not ornamentally important


  • bright red fruit on female plants only
  • 0.25' in diameter
  • ripen in September
  • showy
  • persists


  • smooth, grayish-brown bark
  • slender, brown stems
  • gray, onion-like layer


  • prefers acidic soil
  • tolerates wet sites
  • full sun to partial shade

Landscape Use

  • as a foundation plant
  • hedges
  • borders
  • in mass planting
  • screen
  • winter fruit effect
  • patio tree
  • wet sites


  • no serious pest problems
  • can become leggy

ID Features

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • dense, rigid, multibranched habit
  • deciduous
  • red fruit
  • small, imbricate buds, brown
  • tiny white flowers
  • yellow fall color
  • suckers


  • by semi-hardwood or winter cuttings for cultivars
  • seed exhibit a dormancy an can be slow to germinate


'Byers Golden' - This is a yellow-fruited selection that reportedly holds the fruit for a long period.

'Council Fire' - An upright, rounded form growing 15' tall and 10' wide, this plant is superior for its ample fruit production and retention in clusters along the stems.

'Red Escort' - This is a male selection (pollinator) with glossy leaves and a habit to 30' tall.

'Warren's Red' (also known as 'Warren Red') - This cultivar appears to display superior hardiness and is also notable for its bright, glossy fruit and late leaf retention. The habit is upright and 20' tall and wide.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.