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Common Winterberry
Aquifoliaceae
Ilex verticillata


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Shrub



Aquifoliaceae Family

Ilex Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Fever Bush, American Winterberry, Black Alder Winterberry, Brook Alder, Canada Holly, Coralberry, Deciduous Holly, Deciduous Winterberry, False alder, Fever bush, Inkberry, Michigan Holly, Possumhaw, Swamp Holly, Virginian Winterberry, or Winterberry Holly


Location

Native to eastern North America in the United States and southeast Canada From Newfoundland west to Ontario and Minnesota, and south to Alabama

Physical Description
Common winterberry is a deciduous holly. This is a large shrub or small tree that can get 25 ft (7.6 m) tall, but is usually considerably smaller. In cultivation winterberry usually grows as a 6-12 ft (1.8-3.7 shrub. The trunk is short and generally branches close to the ground, and the stout, erect to spreading branches bear slender twiggy branchlets, producing a rounded crown, 8-12 ft (2.4-3.7 m) across. Common winterberry often suckers and grows in a multistemmed clump, and may form a thicket of erect stems. The leaves are variable in size, sometimes even on a single branch, ranging from 1-4 in (2.5-10.2 cm) long and half as wide. They are toothed along the margins and the apices are usually acuminate, which is to say the leaf tips taper to a point and the sides of the taper are concave. Usually the leaves are smooth above and hairy beneath. Like many hollies, winterberry is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants. The tiny flowers have four white petals. The fruits are globose red berrylike drupes, about 0.25 in (0.6 cm) in diameter. They usually persist after leaf fall in the autumn, hence the common name. There are a great many cultivars of this popular landscape shrub. 'Winter Red' is perhaps the most popular, and deservedly so. It is a bushy shrub with multiple stems that bear a profusion of large bright red fruits which persist through the winter longer than other selections. 'Nana' (a.k.a. 'Red Sprite') is a dwarf cultivar which bears large berries, but gets only 2-4 ft (0.6-1.2 m) tall. There are forms with yellow and orange fruits which occur occasionally in nature and may be available from native plant nurseries. Ilex verticillata has been hybridized with other deciduous hollies (especially I. serrata, Japanese winterberry), and several selections of these are available to gardeners.


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Aquifoliaceae
Aquifoliales
Aquifoliales
Water Leaf Order (Holly)
Euasterids II
Euasterids II
Real Stars Group Two
Asteridae
Asteridae
Class of Stars (Daisies)
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

The berries were used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes, the origin of the name "fever bush".

Medicinal Uses: Black alder is tonic, alterative, and astringent. It strengthens the circulation, improves nutrition, and aids in the removal of waste material, thus effectually aiding the vegetative processes. It has been used with good effect in jaundice, diarrhoea, gangrene, and all diseases attended with great weakness. It has also been of service in dropsy. Two drachms of the powdered bark and 1 drachm of golden-seal, infused in a pint of boiling water, and, when cold, taken in the course of a day, in doses of a wineglassful, and repeated daily, has proved very valuable in dyspepsia. Externally, the decoction forms an excellent local application to gangrene, to indolent ulcers, some affections of the skin, etc. The berries are cathartic and vermifuge, and form, with cedar-apples, a pleasant and effectual worm medicine for children (see Juniperus Virginiana). Dose, of the powdered bark, from 1 2 to 1 drachm; of the decoction, 4 fluid ounces, 3 or 4 times a day. A tincture of the recent bark (viii to alcohol, 76 per cent, Oj) may be given in doses of from 5 to 30 drops. Black alder bark is an ingredient of several alterative syrups.

The bark is antiseptic, astringent, cathartic, and tonic. A decoction is used internally in the treatment of diarrhea, malaria etc, and externally in the treatment of indolent sores and chronic skin disease. The bark contains about 4.8% tannin. It is harvested in the autumn before the first frosts. Another report says that the bark is harvested in the spring and dried for later use. The fruit is cathartic

Food Uses: A tea is made from the dried and crumbled leaves. It does not contain caffeine





Common Winterberry




Common Winterberry




Common Winterberry


Comment: Common Winterberry, Ilex verticillata

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