A Berry Berry Holly

Close-up of fruiting branch of our native yaupon

Close-up of the gray bark which is a nice color to contrast with the foliage and fruit

Multi-stem tree form yaupon in fruit

Around here when we say the word yaupon, we think immediately of dwarf yaupon. But our native yaupon is far from a dwarf. Generally considered a large shrub or a small multi-stem tree, it is more commonly seen south of us in its native state which frequently is along fence rows. While native to the lower part of the state, it preforms very well here. While you can get a male one which does not fruit, the female fruiting ones are spectacular this time of the year with their translucent red berries. In its native state we often see it in both wet locations as well as along fence rows from Montgomery southwards. Here I like to plant them in a location that is not constantly dry, but rather in a location that stays damp or in a typical home location that can be watered during dry periods. While growing rapidly in its native habitat, it grows slower here, more like the typical holly. In the metro area you are going to have to look to find these plants, and they will probably be in containers and have to be trained. They make beautiful hedges, as well as great multi-stem accent trees in sunny locations. And when the fruit colors in late fall, you will be amazed at the density of the fruiting stems filled with a profusion of red clear berries that glisten in the sun.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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