Holly of the Year 2018

 

The Holly of the Year for 2017 is Ilex glabra, commonly known as Inkberry or Gallberry. This handsome evergreen is native to most of the eastern US and southern Canada, and is hardy in Zones 5-10. The leaves are glossy and spineless, but with finely toothed margins. Inkberry forms a rounded, multistemmed shrub, typically 3-10’ (1-3 m) tall and wide, though most commercially available cultivars reach only about 5’ and can be sheared if desired. Given these properties, inkberries are suitable for a wide range of landscape uses, including foundation planting, screening, and informal hedges. They thrive in full sun to part shade, and are tolerant of wet soils. Inkberries are a mostly carefree garden plant, and make a valuable contribution to the natural landscape. They flower in late spring on new growth, and their small white flowers are an important source of nectar for foraging honeybees. Female plants produce pea-sized black fruits, which are not especially conspicuous but are highly attractive to birds in winter.

Many named varieties of Ilex glabra can be found in your local garden center; some of the best cultivars include ‘Shamrock’, ‘Compacta’, ‘Densa’, ‘Nigra’, ‘Chamzin’ (NordicTM), and the recently-introduced ‘Nova Scotia’.


Ilex glabra Inkberry or Gallberry

Holly of the Year

Ilex glabra
Photo: Sue Hunter

Holly of the Year

Ilex glabra
Photo: Sue Hunter