Winterberry – Ilex verticillata

Winterberry – Ilex verticillata
Winterberry – Ilex verticillata

One of the other common names is Fever Bush, which is used in reference to how Native Americans used the berries. The berries and the bark are used to treat jaundice, diarrhea, gangrene, indolent ulcers and some skin afflictions. It strengthens the circulation, improves nutrition, and helps in waste disposal in the digestive system.

The berries are bright red and hang on the bush through the cold months attracting cedar waxwings, bluebirds and robins. If the leaves haven’t dropped by the first frost, the leaves turn black (which leads to another common name…Black Alder).

The stems with the berries intact are used in winter floral arrangements to good effect. It is a native bush to the eastern North America from Newfoundland west to Ontario and south to Alabama!


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