Ilex verticillata, Winterberry

The red fruit we're all looking for, including the birds.

Winterberry has been popular as a winter-interest shrub for humans, but it has long been a favorite of birds -especially in winter. This deciduous holly likes wetlands and its edges, so you want to ensure it has a source of moisture in well-drained soils or when rain is sparse, which is a factor in Hennepin and surrounding counties situated at the western boundary of this plant's native, largely wetter, range. When planting in the yard or garden, if you have alkaline soil, and many of us do, you'll also want to amend with peat, leaf mold, pine needles -whatever you can to lower the pH of the soil. 
Lastly, this is one of those species that requires a separate male plant to fertilize female plant flowers -if you want berries, that is. Conventional nurseries often carry cultivars of this species and may have tags identifying male or female, but maybe not. My shrubs are not marked -although I like to do this, my potted specimens haven't flowered yet. Maybe they'll set flower in 2024 and they will get marked!

Blooms: white, June to July

Height: 6 to 18 feet

Conditions: sun to pt shade, Wet to moist-medium soils