ilex verticulata

Asked July 16, 2017, 7:09 AM EDT

Will any male Michigan holly pollinate any female holly? In particular, will hybrid hollies pollinate native/wild plants?

Isabella County Michigan

3 Responses


Ilex verticillata, a.k.a. Michigan holly or Coralberry or Common Winterberry, is native to Michigan and the eastern United States. There are many varieties for sale in nurseries. If your question is, "do the hybrids that have I. verticillata in them pollinate the natives?" the answer would be- maybe. However, they need to be in bloom at the same time.

An early blooming variety of Ilex verticillata is 'Jim Dandy'. A later flowering variety is 'Southern Gentleman'. A hybrid of I. verticillata X I. serrata is 'Raritan Chief' which is said to pollinate a broad range of female hollies.

There are a number of charts that describe specific cultivars for which males pollinate which females:

Usually one male for every 10 female plants is a good ratio, with the male within 100 feet, or less, of the females.

According to Harold Elmore, a Tennessee nursery grower that handles hollies "The best pollinator for any holly is a male of the same species. This does not require, however, that you have a pollinator for every species and hybrid in your collection. Although many holly species can provide pollen to other holly species, and skilled propagators have succeeded in crossing most holly species, there are some practical limits to the type of male holly that will consistently produce a display of berries on female hollies." (End quote)

If you could give me the specific variety of male and/or female you are growing, I can do some research on those for you. Thank you for using our service.

Many thanks for the info, Laura. That was exactly what I wanted. I found a source, ordered, and expect plants in Sept. Thanks again

Glad to hear that we helped! You are very welcome.